Learning Event

Advancing human rights in the tea sector: what role for supply chain sustainability tools and approaches?

  • Date: 27 September 2022
  • Time: 12:30 - 14:00

Learning Event summary

The tea sector is at a critical juncture. On the one hand, there is commercial distress with oversupply, low prices, and a need to pass more value up the value chain. On the other, there are growing expectations from consumers, lead companies, and investors to address and advance human rights for workers and tea-growing communities. Despite some progress on improving legal compliance and investing in community programmes, the sector continues to struggle with gender-based discrimination and sexual coercion, poverty, and forced & bonded labour.

Addressing key human rights challenges whilst maintaining a profitable value chain is going to need concerted action and commitment by market actors. Several supply chain sustainability approaches such as certification, company codes and other tools have been operational in the tea sector for several decades.

How far have they gone in addressing some of the human rights issues in the sector? How much further can they go? What sector-wide cooperation is needed to take a systemic approach to addressing these challenges? What underlies the gap between the intentions of these sustainability approaches and the reality for tea workers and farmers worldwide? And how is emergent due diligence legislation going to affect our efforts?

This Evidensia learning event, in partnership with THIRST – The International Roundtable for Sustainable Tea – will explore these questions. We will build on THIRST’s recently published literature review which makes up the first phase of their ongoing human rights impact assessment of the tea sector, adding perspectives of practice.


Sabita Banerji | CEO | The International Roundtable for Sustainable Tea (THIRST)

Alysha Shivji | Communication and Research Consultant | The International Roundtable for Sustainable Tea (THIRST)

Wilbert Flinterman | Senior Advisor, Workers’ Rights and Trade Union Relations | Fair Trade International

Jenny Costelloe |  Executive Director, Ethical Tea Partnership

Roshan Rai | Development Practitioner | DLR Prerna


This learning event is in partnership with: