In response to BBC Food Programme Radio 4

5th March 2017

Thank you for your enquiry about the BBC programme, which we really appreciate.

Tata Global Beverages (TGB) is committed to the fair and ethical treatment of people across its supply chain.

TGB had commissioned an independent third party Solidaridad to assess the living and working conditions of the workers at the APPL plantations. Based on the recommendations of the Solidaridad report, APPL is now pursuing a phased Action Plan, called Project Unnati, to improve living and working conditions at their plantations.

A detailed account of the action plan can be found on http://amalgamatedplantations.co.in/sustainability/responsibility/unnati/, including action undertaken across all APPL plantations in the areas of financial literacy and empowerment of workers, such as structured grievance redressal mechanisms, grassroots sensitisation programmes on health, nutrition, etc. APPL will continue updating stakeholders on the progress of this plan at regular intervals through this website.

As a concerned shareholder, TGB continues to support the management of APPL towards improving the living and working conditions of workers. Under the proposed Draft Action Plan for Project Unnati, which has been presented to the APPL board for review and approval, TGB will work along with IFC to engage a third party to undertake an annual audit and worker perception survey of progress of Project Unnati and other improvement measures to independently verify implementation status and assess effectiveness.

TGB has always taken a leadership position on addressing social issues impacting tea growing communities and on serving the interests of stakeholders across the industry’s value chain. TGB is one of the founding members of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), a non-commercial partnership of tea companies committed to improving the lives of tea workers and their environment, to create a thriving tea industry that is socially-just and environmentally-sustainable. The social and labour conditions in the ETP Standard are based on the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) Base Code, which covers all the relevant International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions and Recommendations.

Our sustainable sourcing strategy emphasises sustainable agricultural practices, and describes our principles and code of conduct in our purchase of tea and coffee for our packaging & processing units. It describes minimum requirements on social and working conditions, safety and environmental demands, and agricultural practices for our suppliers. We are working towards ensuring that by 2020, 100% of the tea TGB buys shall be sourced from suppliers that adhere to these conditions.

Additionally, TGB is one of the funding partners of the ‘Improving Young Lives in Assam’ programme that Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) is running in partnership with UNICEF. The three-year project seeks to improve opportunities for tens of thousands of children in tea communities in Assam and reduce their vulnerability to trafficking and abuse. The project is supporting young women to better understand their rights, and works with them and their wider communities to enable them to be agents of change, and ultimately protect them from trafficking and other forms of exploitation.