HOW WE WORK
Sourced with Care aims to improve the lives of 500,000 people in communities where we source our products by 2020. We aim to achieve this by having Solid Foundations and ensuring that ethical industry standards are met. We also go beyond this by Driving Change, whereby we work to deliver brighter futures for the communities from which we source.
Tea is our essential ingredient, but like many agricultural commodities it faces major challenges, including poor working and living conditions. Twinings does not own any tea estates but rather sources from tea gardens around the world and we know that our business, and the tea industry as a whole, relies on the people who grow and pick our tea; that is why we work to improve the lives of these communities.
In addition to tea, Twinings sources over 100 different types of herbs, fruits and spices grown across the world. Conditions vary; whilst some ingredients are cultivated in large plantations like peppermint, or by smallholders farmers, like hibiscus, others are collected in the wild, for example linden or nettles.
We work with our suppliers and producers to ensure tea and herbal items are certified by independent sustainability standards.
Currently, over 80% of the tea gardens from which we buy and 30% of our key herbal items are certified by internationally- recognized third party organisations (such as Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, UTZ Certified and/or FairWild). Certification helps ensure that strict social and environmental criteria have been met and that regular audits are taking place.
Certification of herbal items is very recent and as availability grows over time, we will increase our volume of certified ingredients.
Twinings is also founding member of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), which works to raise core standards and continuously improve ethical practices in the industry, from low wages to safe use of agrochemicals.
In order to gain full understanding of the needs of farmers, workers and the communities in our supply chain, and assess what potential interventions could be required, we conduct our Twinings Community Needs Assessments (TCNA).
This was developed in consultation with expert organisations, such as WaterAid, Solidaridad, UNICEF and Gain and covers ten areas which we believe are important elements to improving the lives of communities in our supply chain: Gender; Health and Nutrition; Children’s Rights; Lands Rights; Livelihoods; Water and Sanitation; Natural Resources; Farming Practices; Housing; and Working Conditions.
The TCNA is carried across all tea gardens we source from, and where appropriate is being progressively rolled out to the herbs supply chain. Our in-country managers conduct the assessments in a participative way and develop interventions in line with the needs of the communities.
We also ensure that people working in first tier factories supplying Twinings are treated in line with the requirements of our Code of Conduct, including safe working conditions, decent pay and non-discrimination. We assess suppliers based on existing independent country risk data, workforce structure and product category, and high risks suppliers are then audited. We commission and pay for independent audits, including unannounced spot checks. When we find an issue, we will work hand in hand with suppliers to improve conditions; this often includes training to ensure that improvements are sustainable and not a quick fix for the next audit. All of our high priority sites have now been audited.
We conduct regular training on our Ethical Sourcing Programme for buyers and every new site has to be approved ethically. If a supplier repeatedly fails to meet our Code of Conduct and does not credibly commit to improvement in a given time period, we will terminate our relationship.
Industry-wide change will only happen if all our work can be scaled-up and leveraged. That is why we are partnering with NGOs, supply chain partners, companies, governments, industry associations and local communities to help tackle the broader structural challenges affecting the tea sector.
“Save the Children and Twinings have been in partnership for 13 years. In that time, we have helped transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children in China. We are delighted to now be exploring new and ambitious ways that our partnership can achieve even greater impact and transformational change, by building sustainable tea communities in China where children and young people can thrive.”
Mairead King, Head of Account Management, Save the Children
“Twinings continues to play a leadership role in the Ethical Tea Partnership and have always been very focused on ensuring positive social impact in tea communities.”
Sarah Roberts, Executive Director, Ethical Tea Partnership
“Twinings have been providing innovative solutions to the social issues in the supply chain and have been working tirelessly in unison with the producers and the local communities.”
Binod Gurung, Goodricke Group Ltd.