The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) is delighted to welcome Unilever as a new member. With seven million tea holder farmers in Asia and Africa alone and world tea consumption set to reach 3.36 million tonnes by 2021 the importance of securing a more sustainable tea supply chain is ever increasing (source UN FAO). Unilever’s expertise in tea and strong commitment to sustainability through their Sustainable Living Plan will play a key role in enhancing our existing membership and increasing our positive impact in the tea sector.

This brings 44 of the world’s most influential international tea companies and retailers together under the umbrella of the Ethical Tea Partnership to drive improvements in sustainability across the tea sector by focussing on improving the lives and livelihoods of tea workers and farmers, and the environment in which tea is produced.

While global poverty, according to the World Bank, has declined sharply over the last couple of decades, it does endure in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa – many of the places where tea is grown. Poverty so often comes hand-in-hand with a range of issues including; poor health and well-being; malnourishment; lack of access to clean water and sanitation; low quality housing; unsafe migration; gender inequality; and limited access to education.

At ETP, we work in partnership as a catalyst for change with our members to address these key issues. We help producers and smallholder farmers improve performance against international social and environmental standards in the main tea producing regions around the world. Unilever’s reputation for its strong sustainability programmes will undoubtedly help us to broaden the reach and impact of our global programmes.

Sarah Roberts, Executive Director at ETP said; “I’m delighted that Unilever is becoming a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership. Their expertise in a number of ETP’s priority areas such as gender and human rights will complement our existing expertise and accelerate our collective impact. This will provide us with renewed impetus on our journey towards a more sustainable global tea sector, helping us to go further and faster than ever before.”

Mick Van Ettinger, EVP Beverages at Unilever added, “As the world's biggest tea company, we have an important role to play in addressing the endemic issues facing the tea industry.  Working with ETP enables us to share our experience and work with others to tackle both the environmental and social issues, such as working conditions and human rights, to deliver change at scale.  I am very excited about the opportunities ahead and look forward to working with our partners to enrich more lives in tea.”