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Tea titan Typhoo joins Britain’s ‘big six’ in fight against modern slavery

Efforts to tackle slave-like conditions in the tea industry got a boost on Friday when Typhoo became the final major British tea brand pledging to release a list of its suppliers.

Yorkshire Tea, Twinings, Tetley, Clipper and PG Tips all made the same decision in the last year.

Typhoo’s move comes in the wake of advocacy group Traidcraft Exchange’s “Who picked my tea?” campaign, begun last year to improve working conditions and low pay in Assam, India, where most British tea is grown.

The Ethical Trading Initative (ETI), an alliance that aims to protect workers rights and promote ethical standards, welcomed the decision, and said that moves like this enable consumers to make more informed decisions.

“The move is long-awaited and will finally provide visibility of companies supplying the big six tea brands in the UK,” Nick Kightley, ETI’s strategic lead on food, farming and fisheries, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“It will also help consumers to make informed decisions based on ethical values when buying their tea.”

Much of Britain’s tea comes from Assam, in northeast India, where research has shown many plantation workers are paid below minimum wage and live in poverty.

The list will be available later this month, Typhoo said.

“Typhoo’s tea declaration means that we now know where the vast majority of the tea we drink in the UK comes from,” said Mary Milne, head of campaigns and communications for Traidcraft Exchange.

“More importantly, women in Assam who pick tea for us now know exactly where it ends up.”

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