Tea producers: tell us your side of the story

Tea producers: tell us your side of the story

For almost two centuries, since the inception of the tea industry, criticism for low pay and poor living and working conditions for tea workers has been directed primarily at owners and managers of tea estates.

Although, historically, there were undeniably bad practices, including exploitation and abuse of workers – and no doubt there are still some irresponsible employers today – many tea producers have since improved conditions on their estates and enjoy good relations with their workforce, complying with local laws and regulations. Yet reports continue to emerge showing that, despite these efforts, tea workers often still experience lower wages and higher social problems than many of their compatriots.


Tea producers do not operate in a vacuum. They are part of a wider ecosystem of social norms, legislation, economic conditions and, perhaps most importantly, a long and complex value chain. Any and all of these factors could play a part in the problems faced by tea workers.

If you are a manager or owner of a tea estate (also known as a garden, farm or plantation) anywhere in the world, THIRST would like to offer you the opportunity to give your side of the story by taking part in the confidential Global Tea Producers Survey.

We understand that issues like price discovery and purchasing practices can be commercially sensitive, and the survey provides for anonymity and confidentiality. We also believe the survey will help tea buyers to better understand the pressures that suppliers are under. Pressures which can impact on workers, creating potential reputational risk to both their brands, and to the industry as a whole. Results will be aggregated and neither producers nor buyers will be publicly named. 

Consumers, investors and employees around the world are increasingly demanding higher social and environmental standards for those who produce goods and services. To meet that demand in the tea sector, everyone involved needs to explore how they might be unintentionally supressing workers’ pay and conditions, including tea producers, governments, trade unions, tea buyers, brokers, packers, traders, brands, retailers and tea consumers.

By working together, THIRST believes that a new kind of tea industry is possible – a tea industry fit for the 21st century, a kinder, fairer industry in which everyone thrives. But we can only get there if we listen to all voices, and understand all perspectives – including those of tea producers.


To ensure that as many producers as possible have the opportunity to register, we have extended the deadline. Please register by 31st January 2023.

Register for the Global Tea Producers Survey

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The Global Tea Producers Survey is part of THIRST’s Human Rights Impact Assessment of the global tea sector.