Hindustan Unilever and Solidaridad South and Southeast Asia signed a joint statement in which they recognize the need for sustainability solutions for smallholder tea farmers in India, lay down a joined vision and pronounce the start of two pilot projects in Assam.
Unilever globally aims to buy all its raw materials from sustainable sources by 2020. For this reason one of the tools used is Unilever’s sustainable agriculture code with eleven sustainability indicators. The code and indicators will be the main framework for the pilot projects that Hindustan Unilever and Solidaridad start in Assam with small-scale tea farmers. The pilots should provide practical feedback on how to move forward in sustainable tea production practices. Finally, it will contribute towards the development of a ‘stepping stone’ standard for sustainable tea production by Indian smallholders.
For Solidaridad the joint cooperation is a breakthrough in the development of a sustainable tea market. So far Solidaridad activities to raise demand for sustainable tea were oriented at the European markets. India is not only the largest tea producer, but also the biggest consumer market for tea worldwide. The cooperation between Solidaridad and Hindustan Unilever Limited, one of two biggest tea companies in India, integrates market activities in the Solidaridad tea production program.
The pilot projects include training in sustainable farm management, organization support for smallholders, tool development and standard development in a multi-stakeholder setting. See the full joint public statement about the cooperation from Hindustan Unilever and Solidaridad South and Southeast Asia in this pdf-document.