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

Five years on from the women’s unity uprising, is anyone listening?

Five years ago today I stood outside my Dad’s old office – the Headquarters Office of the Kanan Devan Hill Plantation (KDHP) company in my birthplace, Munnar – and witnessed the Pempilai Orumai  (Unity of Women) uprising. Thousands of women tea workers waving black flags on bamboo poles marched past me chanting slogans demanding that […]

Building Tea Back Better through Sustainable Business Models

“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.” Could these words from the American inventor and thinker, Buckminster R. Fuller, be applied to the tea industry? On June 16th, THIRST hosted a virtual roundtable […]

How can Social Dialogue work better for women tea workers?

Social dialogue is defined  as including “all types of negotiation, consultation…between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers, on issues of common interest…” But if those representatives are predominantly men, it cannot really do its job. Especially in tea where the majority of the lowest paid workers are women. On June 16th, THIRST hosted […]

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 all of these valuable resources together into one easily-accessible knowledge hub.