What is THIRST?

THIRST is The International Roundtable for Sustainable Tea.

Our vision is of a fair and sustainable tea industry where workers and farmers are empowered and their rights are protected, within a system that is shaped by 21st century values and systems rather than 19th century ones.

Our mission is to bring together civil society actors and tea workers and farmers, providing a platform for them to challenge the tea industry and governments to reform the system, and support them in doing this.

Goals of THIRST

Principles of THIRST

How does it work?

THIRST aims to convene a broad range of civil society actors; national, local and international, from the global South and North, from tea producing and tea consuming countries. Each organisation involved with THIRST has its own identity, strategy and supporters, but we all share one overarching commitment: a commitment to improve the lives of tea workers and farmers, their families and communities.

We share knowledge and experience, bring together our unique perspectives and speak out when necessary with a strong, unified voice, challenging and supporting companies and governments to deliver on their responsibilities in the tea sector, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


  • May 2020: THIRST became a Registered Charity in the UK
  • February 2020: Publication of Human Rights in Assam Tea Estates – The Long View
  • January 2020: THIRST became a Development Partner of Advocates for International Development
  • October 2019:  Establishment of the Ethical Trading Initiative NGO Assam Tea working group facilitated by THIRST
  • 7th November 2018: First meeting of THIRST Trustees
  • 19th June 2018: Inaugural THIRST meeting held in London (prior to 2018 Team Up conference) attended by representatives of nine leading campaigning and development organisations from India, Malawi and the UK

THIRST is registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in the UK – charity number 1189499