Knowledge is power

In the first initiative of its kind, THIRST has created this knowledge hub in order to bring together all of the valuable resources regarding the treatment of workers in the tea industry that are scattered all over the internet. We’re always trying to expand our knowledge hub. If you know of, or have created, any other relevant resources that should be included in this collection please contact us.


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Human Rights in Assam Tea Estates – The long view

Report
Date of publication:
2020
Published by:
THIRST
Geography:
Assam
,
India
Topic:
Health
,
Housing
,
Wages
,
Water and Sanitation
A review of eight documents spanning 15 years of the Assam tea industry by leading organisations including Columbia Law School, the Global Network for the Right to Food and Nutrition, Oxfam, SOMO, Traidcraft and War on Want. The reports draw on primary research and/or wider literature reviews including local academic studies and historical documents, dating back to 1866. Four issues emerge repeatedly: wages, housing, sanitation and health. The review highlights a set of common recommendations for governments, retailers, producers, certification bodies and consumers to tackle these problems.

IDH - the sustainable trade initiative

Initiative
Date of publication:
Published by:
IDH
Geography:
Worldwide
Topic:
Multiple
IDH has been active in the tea sector for ten years. Over these years, we have been addressing core sustainable issues. We have built partnerships across issues ranging from living wage and working conditions, to gender issues including gender-based violence, to living income and smallholder profitability, to climate change and deforestation. Through our partnerships and joint roadmaps, we are working step by step in prominent tea producing regions in Africa and Asia on sustainable production, and on sustainable procurement in Western Europe and Asia.

Improving conditions in tea plantations in Assam: Market Systems Action Research

Report
Date of publication:
2018
Published by:
Fairtrade Foundation
,
ILO
Geography:
Assam
,
India
Topic:
Certification
,
Freedom of Association
,
Wages
Embracing a market systems approach the analysis explores deficiencies in four market functions: the market for professional services, in particular covering labour productivity; the suppliers of equipment to plantations directly related to worker and resident quality of life, such as personal protective equipment and domestic products; the role of worker organisations on plantations; and access to information for plantation residents. Governing rules and regulations are particularly important to plantations in India and helped explain some of the challenges facing plantations. As such, the report explores four key elements of the enabling environment: the regulatory environment, and in particular the Plantation Labour Act; trade unions and collective bargaining platforms; sector business co-ordination; and certification schemes.

Improving Lives programme

Initiative
Date of publication:
Published by:
Ethical Tea Partnership
,
UNICEF
Geography:
Assam
,
India
Topic:
The UNICEF and Ethical Tea Partnership programme for girls and young women in Assam... aims to support women, children and families living on 205 tea estates, working end-to-end in the supply chain to address the wider systems that impact the lives of workers and their families and to drive sustainable change for children.

ISLA Kenya Annual Report 2017 – 2018

Report
Date of publication:
2019
Published by:
ISLA
Geography:
Kenya
Topic:
Climate
The Initiative for Sustainable Landscapes (ISLA) Kenya (a partnership set up by IDH in 2015 in response to deforestation and forest degradation in the South West Mau Forest block in western Kenya… In recent decades, more than 25% of the forest has either been cut down or degraded, putting tea production, other sectors and community livelihoods at risk. This is caused by growing populations, unsustainable livestock grazing, charcoal burning and timber extraction from the forest. In response, IDH created a strong coalition of the Nakuru, Kericho and Bomet national government agencies; tea, energy, telecommunications and timber companies; and civil society made up of NGOs and community groups, implementing partners and knowledge institutions to work together across the landscape. Together, we developed an integrated action plan for holistic landscape management in the South West Mau Forest across four key themes: forest conservation, water conservation, sustainable energy with livelihoods as an important cross-cutting theme.

James Finlays’ Kenya, Gender Equality and Diversity Policy

Report
Date of publication:
2019
Published by:
Working Women Worldwide | for Bananalink Comparative Analysis Across Supply Chains
Geography:
Kenya
Topic:
Women
This [case study is part of] … a comparative analysis of initiatives to achieve progress towards gender equity in agricultural value chains… co-ordinated by Banana Link and Women Working Worldwide [to] inform further work to ensure the respect of the rights of women workers and producers. There are a number of examples of good practice from Finlays ranging from the appointment of a Gender Empowerment Manager to the development of a Gender Equality and Diversity (GED) Policy, to proactive recruitment procedures and specific training and support for women to be qualified for ‘male’ jobs. Underpinning all their work on gender is their Gender Equality and Diversity Policy.

Legal case: Post-election violence on Unilever's Kenyan tea estates

Initiative
Date of publication:
Published by:
Leigh Day
Geography:
Africa
,
Kenya
Topic:
Discrimination (not gender)
Leigh Day represents 218 Kenyan nationals who, in December 2007, were employees and/or residents of a tea plantation owned by Unilever. The case concerns Unilever’s alleged failure to protect the Claimants from the foreseeable risk of ethnic violence on the tea plantation in 2007/08. The claims are brought with the support of Kituo Cha Sheria (a leading Kenyan justice NGO) and REDRESS (an international human rights NGO).

Malawi: Towards Living Wages in a Revitalised Tea Industry

Report
Date of publication:
2018
Published by:
ShareAction
Geography:
Malawi
Topic:
Wages
The case study profiles Malawi Tea 2020, an action-oriented multi-stakeholder coalition of Malawian tea producers, large international tea buyers, certification organisations, NGOs and donors. The initiative has brought together a critical mass of stakeholders in the tea value chain, which together have the power and drive to achieve a competitive and profitable Malawian tea industry where workers earn a living wage and smallholders earn a living income. A key finding of the case study is that good practice depends not only on local employers of the workforce, but also the sourcing practices of global tea brands and retailers. This case study was written to contribute to public debate and to invite feedback on how these systemic issues across sectors and geographies can be resolved.

Modern slavery within the tea industry in Bangladesh

Report
Date of publication:
2018
Published by:
K4D Helpdesk Report
Geography:
Bangladesh
,
South Asia
Topic:
Forced Labour
The main factor driving modern slavery within the tea industry in Bangladesh is the extreme marginalisation of tea garden workers, who are mostly descendants of migrants from India, by wider society. Social and economic exclusion mean workers have no alternative to working under highly exploitative conditions in the tea industry. The review found considerable literature on the working conditions of tea workers, but little on the wider context of their position in society, attention to the plight of tea workers in policy-making, or the macro-economic and political pressures to sustain modern slavery in Bangladesh’s tea gardens.

Modern slavery within the tea industry in Bangladesh

Report
Date of publication:
2018
Published by:
K4D Helpdesk Report
Geography:
Bangladesh
Topic:
Forced Labour
The main factor driving modern slavery within the tea industry in Bangladesh is the extreme marginalisation of tea garden workers, who are mostly descendants of migrants from India, by wider society. Social and economic exclusion mean workers have no alternative to working under highly exploitative conditions in the tea industry. The review found considerable literature on the working conditions of tea workers, but little on the wider context of their position in society, attention to the plight of tea workers in policy-making, or the macro-economic and political pressures to sustain modern slavery in Bangladesh’s tea gardens.