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Transparency in our UK & Ireland tea supply chain

We are proud to make some of the UK and Ireland’s best-loved tea brands

Tea brands

As the biggest buyer of tea across the world, we are committed to continuing to make our tea supply chain more sustainable. This starts with caring about the people who pick our tea leaves and goes all the way through to how we blend our tea, our packaging and the environmental impact tea production has on our planet.

Download our list of UK&I tea suppliers (PDF | 151KB)

Tea farm

Where we source our tea

Knowing where our tea comes from is the starting point for any action that makes a positive impact where it matters most. We source tea from all around the world. For the brands listed above, sold in the UK and Ireland, 100% of our tea comes from Rainforest Alliance certified gardens.

On the interactive map below, you can find out more about where we source our tea and how we are working with partners to improve the lives of people working in tea.

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Kenya
Tea plantation

Unilever's tea plantation Kericho

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Plucking sign

Farmer Field Schools

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Kids in the classroom

Safety of women and girls at Kericho

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North East India
Jugnoo women in an exploratory walk

Women’s safety in Assam

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Tea plucker in India

The Rainforest Alliance certification

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South India
Tea plucker in India

Improving Health & Hygiene

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Leaf photo

Transforming the Indian tea industry

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Indonesia
Tea plantation in Indonesia

Enhancing livelihoods of smallholder farmers

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Japan
Tea plantation in Japan

We source our Matcha, a finely ground powder of green tea leaves, from Japan.

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Malawi
Tea plantation in Malawi

Farmer Field Schools

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Rwanda
People in Rwanda planting

Creating jobs and livelihoods

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Sri Lanka
Tea picking in Sri Lanka

Unlocking smallholder farmer’s potential through technology

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Switzerland
Tea farm

We buy our de-caffeinated tea from a supplier in Switzerland.

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Tanzania
Tea plantation in Tanzania

Farmers in Mufundi

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Uganda
Tea plantation in Uganda

The Rainforest Alliance certification

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Vietnam
Tea harvesting in Vietnam

Helping farmers improve the quality of their tea

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Kericho
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Kenya of

Unilever's tea plantation Kericho

Find out more

Farmer Field Schools

Find out more

Safety of women and girls at Kericho

Find out more
North East India of

Women’s safety in Assam

Find out more

The Rainforest Alliance certification

Find out more
South India of

Improving Health & Hygiene

Find out more

Transforming the Indian tea industry

Find out more
Indonesia of

Enhancing livelihoods of smallholder farmers

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Japan of

We source our Matcha, a finely ground powder of green tea leaves, from Japan.

Find out more
Rwanda of

Creating jobs and livelihoods

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Sri Lanka of

Unlocking smallholder farmer’s potential through technology

Find out more
Switzerland of

We buy our de-caffeinated tea from a supplier in Switzerland.

Find out more
Uganda of

The Rainforest Alliance certification

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Vietnam of

Helping farmers improve the quality of their tea

Find out more
Tea plantation in Kenya

Kenya

Unilever's tea plantation Kericho

Tea plantation

Unilever has been growing tea in Kenya since 1924. Unilever owns the Kericho tea estate that covers over 8,900 hectares and is Rainforest Alliance certified. Up to 50,000 people live in our company villages where we employ more than 5,500 permanent workers full time with several thousand temporary workers joining them in peak season. We also source tea from local smallholder farmers and employ many local contractors and suppliers.

In Kericho, we provide workers with pay and working conditions significantly above the tea industry average - approximately two and a half times the statutory minimum agricultural income in Kenya. Unilever offers housing, annual leave pay, transport allowances, paternity and maternity leave, health care, nursery and clean drinking water. There is also a Maternal Child Health Clinic on the tea estate that provides vaccination, family planning and postnatal services.

As lightning is a frequent phenomenon in Kericho, a system has been installed to assist in detecting lightning risk 30 minutes before it strikes. To support the drive for sustainability we have put in place hydropower schemes to support a shift to renewable energy, and we have planted over 1.3 million indigenous trees.

Tea farm
Photo by IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative)

Kenya

Farmer Field Schools

Tea factory banner
Photo by IDH (the Sustainable Trade Initiative)

Since 2008, in partnership with the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative) we’ve enabled 86,000 farmers – including around 45,000 women – to train at Farmer Field Schools for guidance on how to share best agricultural practices, increase yields, improve quality and improve their health and nutrition.

As a result, around 560,000 farmers have met the standards for Rainforest Alliance farm certification. In 2016, with the Farmer Field Schools fully embedded, the Farmer Field School methodology has become embedded in the KTDA organisation. This approach also inspired programmes in Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda and Vietnam.

To find out more about the programme’s results read this article.

Kids in the classroom
Photo by Declan McCormack

Kenya

Safety of women and girls at Kericho

Woman picking up tea leaves

We are working hard to promote the safety of women and girls in the communities in which we work. In 2013, we commissioned an extensive independent review following allegations of sexual harassment at the Kericho tea estate in 2010 and 2013.

Following the review’s recommendations, we created our Safety for Women & Girls Programme which instituted policies on sexual harassment, child protection, and violence prevention and management. In addition to this, we’ve expanded our management team by increasing the proportion of female team leaders, and created trainings for management, employees, village elders and medical personnel. We’ve improved our grievance reporting process with a dedicated, confidential, toll-free and local language hotline. Once a month, our Friday Safety Talks focus on sexual harassment and related topics.

UN Women carried out a progress review of this programme as part of our partnership to develop A Global Framework on Women’s Safety. Learn more in this video.

Jugnoo women in an exploratory walk
Photo by Declan McCormack

North East India

Women’s safety in Assam

To increase the safety of women in the tea sector, Unilever and UN Women published A Global Framework on Women’s Safety in 2018.

Women make up about 60 percent of the work force in tea estates in Assam. One of the outcomes of the Framework was the creation of women’s collectives, known as Jugnoo (Hindi for firefly). Set up as a safe space for women to share their experiences, and to work together to strengthen their collective voice and to prevent sexual harassment. A good example of this is a bus service that was introduced as a response to safety concerns. Find out more about the Jugnoo clubs by watching this video.

Since joining the Jugnoo club, I have become brave.

Tea worker, Assam, India

After joining the Jugnoo club, I am respected in my household and community. Women who never spoke about violence in their lives are now coming to the Jugnoo club and sharing their experiences. Women are speaking about violence experienced by their daughters.

Tea worker, Assam, India

Tea plucker in India
Photo by Declan McCormack

North East India

The Rainforest Alliance certification

Across India, Unilever is working with the Rainforest Alliance to help tea estates become Rainforest Alliance Certified™. This has resulted in improved livelihoods and well-being, biodiversity conservation and effective planning and farm management systems and more.

The Rainforest Alliance authorised certification bodies perform annual farm audits. With the introduction of the 2017 Rainforest Alliance Agriculture Standard, the number of unannounced audits were increased in addition to annual audits.

Tea plucker in India
Photo by Bartosz Hadyniak

South India

Improving Health & Hygiene

In partnership with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative) we are working to improve the health and hygiene of tea estate workers and smallholder farmers. The Seeds of Prosperity programme in India, Tanzania and Kenya is a 9-week behaviour change programme focused on education around dietary diversity as well as handwashing with soap.

In the Indian states of Assam and Tamil Nadu, dietary diversity scores increased significantly in all groups after six months. The first phase of the programme reached 300,000 people in tea farming communities in Tanzania, Kenya and India.

The next step is to extend the programme’s reach in the tea supply chain.

Learn more about the programme by watching this video and reading this report.

Leaf photo

South India

Transforming the Indian tea industry

We are a founding member of Trustea, the India tea industry collaboration that aims to “sustainably transform the Indian tea industry for the benefit of consumers, workers, farmers and the environment”.

Smallholders are at the heart of the initiative. Unfortunately, many smallholders do not always use fertiliser and pesticide in an environmentally sustainable way. So Trustea works with smallholders, self-help groups and societies to bring about environmental protection, improve livelihoods and ensure long-term sustainability in the industry.

At the end of 2018, Trustea had verified 586 tea estates and factories in India. This makes up 608,000 tons of tea, that’s around 46% of India’s tea production. It covers 48,000 smallholder farmers and 541,000 tea plantation workers, of which 56% are women.

Find out more about Unilever’s work with Trustea by watching this video.

Tea plantation in Indonesia
Photo by Novian Fazli yeEm, Getty Images

Indonesia

Enhancing livelihoods of smallholder farmers

Between 2009 and 2013, we worked in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance and IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative), to improve farming methods and enhance the livelihoods of tea smallholder farmers in Indonesia. Through our continued work with the Rainforest Alliance, farms received Rainforest Alliance certification. Steps towards improved sustainable practices have been taken such as better soil management and controlling pests and diseases by integrated methods that reduce use of agrochemicals. These practices enable farmers to increase the yield from their farm and maintain a healthy environment.

Tea plantation in Japan
Photo by Ippei Naoi, Getty Images

Japan

We source our Matcha, a finely ground powder of green tea leaves, from Japan.

We source our Matcha, a finely ground powder of green tea leaves, from Japan.

Tea plantation in Malawi
Photo by 1amgreen, Getty images

Malawi

Farmer Field Schools

In Malawi, there are over 18,000 small-scale tea farmers, many of whom are living in extreme poverty with limited access to good nutrition, healthcare and education.

In partnership with the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), the Tea Association of Malawi (TAML), Oxfam, IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative), GIZ (German Development Agency) we are delivering integrated programmes to Malawian tea farmers. At Farmer Field Schools tea farmers receive training to improve their farming techniques, develop more entrepreneurial skills and learn about healthy and nutritious diets.

To find out more about the Malawi Tea 2020 Programme visit.

Tea Farm in Rwanda
Photo by Philip Sigey

Rwanda

Creating jobs and livelihoods

In 2017, we began an ambitious new tea project to create jobs and livelihoods in Nyaruguru, one of the poorest districts of Rwanda. This saw us constructing a factory and plantation with the aim of creating 1000 jobs. We are partnering with The Wood Foundation Africa and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to train 6000-7000 smallholder farmers, half of whom are women, to grow tea.

People in Rwanda planting
Photo by Philip Sigey

Using new tea varieties, we will transform tea yields using smart farming to ensure efficiency in resource utilisation and resilience to drought and climate change. This will increase incomes and reduce poverty in the area as tea pays ten times more than traditional crops. Our Sunlight brand has also funded the provision of clean water through four Water Centres serving 200 households. Furthermore, we have installed a lightening detection system and provided training in health safety, as well as running campaigns to tackle sexual and gender-based violence.

Tea picking in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Unlocking smallholder farmer’s potential through technology

Tea picking in Sri Lanka

One million people in Sri Lanka – around 5% of the population – live and work on tea estates.

Through our partnership with the Federation and telecoms provider Dialog Axiata smallholder farmers are receiving training in sustainable growing techniques. By using technology to ensure smallholders get advice just when they need it, the partnership aims to help them grow their yields and incomes – while making our supply chain more resilient and sustainable. Smallholders in the scheme get agricultural advice through Dialog’s Govi Mithuru (Farmer’s Friend) mobile platform. With content provided by a number of organisations, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Govi Mithuru delivers voice mails tailored to a farmer’s crop, location and stage of cultivation.

Tea farm

Switzerland

We buy our de-caffeinated tea from a supplier in Switzerland.

We buy our de-caffeinated tea from a supplier in Switzerland.

Field in Tanzania

Tanzania

Farmers in Mufundi

In Tanzania, IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative) and Unilever Tea Tanzania have been working on the Mufindi Outgrowers Project (MOG) since 2014. The objective of the project is to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the villages surrounding Unilever Tea Tanzania (UTT) estates, as well as supporting the integration of the tea supply within UTT, through increasing tea productivity and quality, expanding the smallholder supply base and strengthening farmer organisations.

To find out more about the MOG project visit here.

The training on Good Agricultural Practices and input loans from IDH and Unilever Tea Tanzania help me to pluck on time, apply fertiliser and enable me to infill tea at my farm. This improves the quality of my tea…I have increased my production from 150 to 200 Kg Green Leaf per acre per month, to about 500 Kg.

Edina Joseph Mbinda

Between 2016 and 2018, I have established about six acres of tea. The MOG project supplied the plants as a loan, which I pay back in small instalments.

Through the Farmer Field School trainings tea production in our family farm has increased…the project’s quality bonus has also increased my income, which enables me to pay for education for my children.

Josephat Msakwa

Tea plantation in Uganda
Photo by sjturner, Getty Images

Uganda

The Rainforest Alliance certification

Since 2010, Unilever has been working with the Rainforest Alliance in Uganda to help tea estates become Rainforest Alliance Certified™. This has resulted in improved livelihoods and well-being, biodiversity conservation and effective planning and farm management systems and more.

The Rainforest Alliance authorised certification bodies perform annual farm audits. With the introduction of the 2017 Rainforest Alliance Agriculture Standard, the number of unannounced audits were increased in addition to annual audits.

Tea harvesting in Vietnam
Photo by Thang-Tat-Nguyen, Getty Images

Vietnam

Helping farmers improve the quality of their tea

The Vietnamese tea sector provides livelihoods to around 500,000 tea farmers and workers. Since 2013 we have been working in public-private partnership with the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative) and other partners to improve the long-term economic, environmental and social sustainability of Vietnamese tea smallholders.

Addressing the issue of poor-agrochemical management has been a key priority for this partnership, and through training on better use of agro-chemicals, soil management and other farming techniques, farmers have improved the quality of their tea and produced better yields.

To find out more about the tea program in Vietnam read the IDH report.

We collaborate closely with many partners, including our suppliers, NGOs and local and national governments. In 2017, we became a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), a not-for-profit organisation that brings together the world’s most influential tea businesses to create a fairer, better and more sustainable tea industry for tea workers, farmers and the environment.

A large amount of our tea is grown in our own plantations in Kenya. The rest we buy directly from large tea producers, auctions or via brokers.

Find out more about our other UK tea brands, T2 and Pukka.

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