Solidaridad to conduct independent assessment of APPL tea gardens in India

Solidaridad has been requested to conduct an independent assessment of the living and working conditions in the tea gardens of Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL), a company in which Tata Global Beverages Limited (TGBL) has shareholding and which supplies tea to TGBL for its brands in India. TGBL has appointed legal advisors to verify compliances by independent review who have appointed and commissioned Solidaridad for this purpose. The assessment should provide recommendations for future course of action.

Scope of the research

Solidaridad’s regional Managing Director, Dr. Shatadru Chattopadhayay, will lead the research team comprised of some of the most respected researchers as well as experts from the tea industry of India. The research will employ globally accepted desk and field research methodologies for collecting and interpreting data.

The key aspects that will be assessed are:

a.)     Background of the tea industry in Assam
b.)     Workers welfare – including living conditions, facilities and utility provisions
c.)     Analysis of the health situation in the APPL gardens – including drinking water, sanitation and medical facilities
d.)     Assessment of working conditions in APPL gardens – including wages, health and safety, status of the work force, employer employee relations and trade unions
e.)     The restructuring of the gardens and employee ownership – including the restructuring process, employee shareholdings
f.)      Assessment of efficacy of voluntary standards

We sincerely believe that through this assessment which will be completed by early May 2014, Solidaridad will be able to provide an objective analysis of the situation and contribute to the shared goal of fair and ethical treatment of people across the tea supply chain.

Occasion for the research

The Indian tea industry is the second largest employer in the organised industry and provides a livelihood to more than a million workers in remote corners of the country. Therefore, when a number of serious social issues were alleged in the recent past in relation to APPL., we were deeply concerned. However, we welcome the willingness of TGBL to objectively assess these allegations and take necessary actions based on these facts.

The Solidaridad sustainable tea programme

Solidaridad has been a driving force from the year 2007 to improve sustainability performance of tea industry from the producer to the consumer in collaboration with all the key stakeholders. Our programme has supported tea producers and tea companies in more than 10 tea-producing countries to improve the social and environmental impacts.

For more information please contact Mr. Ranjan Circar, International Tea Programme Coordinator, or call Bram Verkerke, Press Officer of Solidaridad Network.