We know that tea workers’ and farmers’ rights are not being respected. We know that this needs to change. Now is the time to come together to find solutions. It’s time to take action to bring about systemic change.

THIRST is a 100% independently funded platform for any and all civil society actors who are committed to revolutionising the tea industry.

Our Vision

Our vision is of a fair and sustainable tea industry where workers and farmers are empowered and their rights and environment are protected.

Our Mission

Our mission is to bring about systemic change by bringing together a broad range of civil society actors, tea workers and farmers.

Our Principles

Our core principles are collaboration, transparency, mutual understanding and respect.

The problems are well known

Civil society, trade unions and activists have been reporting and working on the problems of the tea industry for almost as long as it has existed. Some companies are also making efforts to improve things. Yet hardly anything has changed in the lives of workers and farmers. This is because change in individual companies or countries, or of one particular issue does not address the system that is at the root of all the problems.

Systemic Change

Tea workers are trapped in a 19th century system that creates poverty and suffering. We do not believe that any individual player in the tea industry intentionally abuses human rights. But they are all part of a system which has inequality deeply embedded in it. That is why we need to work together to bring about systemic change.


What THIRST does

Our mission is to bring together a broad range of civil society actors, tea workers and farmers, providing a platform for them to learn from one-another, and to challenge the way that the tea industry currently works; and support them in doing so. Our vision is of a tea industry shaped by 21st century values and systems rather than 19th century ones.

Updates, blog posts and events from THIRST

TEA Talk: Simplifying supply chains, sharing value more fairly

If producers have a greater share of the value, could they provide workers and farmers with living wages and better living and working conditions? In June 2020 we asked how can we Build Tea Back Better out of the devastation of the pandemic? The perennial problems of worker poverty have only been exacerbated by lockdowns. […]

Want to hear some good news about women workers?

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear some good news about women workers for a change?  News like collective bargaining clauses being introduced that commit employers to prioritising providing employment to women… and companies exceeding the quota? Or that women now feel free to apply for any type of job in tea factories, offices and even […]

Join the call for tea buyers to support Assam wage increase

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are clear that businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights throughout their supply chains. Yet, as the strike by thousands of tea workers in Assam last month demonstrated, many are being denied their right to a decent livelihood. So, what can buyers and retailers do? […]

Knowledge hub

There is a steadily growing wealth of resources scattered around the internet on the human rights and environmental problems in the tea industry, and potential solutions to these problems.
But it is only by pooling our knowledge and resources and by learning, speaking and acting together that we can bring about systemic change. In the first initiative of its kind, THIRST has brought an important selection of these valuable resources together into one easily-accessible knowledge hub.

Need an inspiring speaker for your next event?

Book an inspiring, challenging and informative talk on human rights in the tea sector for your next event. With a wealth of experience and knowledge behind them, THIRST’s CEO and Trustees are available as conference panelists, speakers, lecturers or trainers.

“…everyone was impressed both by your passion for change and also by your very practical suggestions for how we can all make a difference.” Sharon Murray. President, South Oxford WI