LIDL’S KENYAN TEA HRIA IS THE FIRST CARRIED OUT BY A UK FOOD RETAILER,  WHICH BUILDS ON LIDL’S COMMITMENT TO MITIGATE THE MOST ADVERSE IMPACTS WITHIN ITS SUPPLY CHAIN AND TO FURTHER ENHANCING POSITIVE IMPACTS IDENTIFED

The Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) in Lidl’s Kenyan tea supply chain was conducted in 2020, by Lidl Great Britain on behalf of the Lidl group.

The HRIA methodology included a desk-based baseline analysis, an in-country field visit with support from a local partner, an impact assessment using a numerical scoring system and an action plan.

The assessment considered the different perspectives of people that are affected by Lidl’s business activities, including potentially impacted rights-holders, and also engaged with key stakeholders along the supply chain. These included Kenyan smallholder farmers, tea estate workers, our direct suppliers and key Lidl staff, including commercial teams and buyers.

In addition to this, the process also engaged stakeholders beyond Lidl’s immediate supply chain, including trade unions, civil society organisations, Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives (MSIs) and NGOs, including the following organisations:

  • Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA)
  • Kenya Tea Growers Association (KTGA)
  • Kericho Governor’s Office
  • Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU)
  • East Africa Tea Trade Association (EATTA)

 Through this local engagement we were able to directly access rights-holders and improve our understanding of gender, small-holder producer organisations and the structure of the tea producing economy in Kenya for the European market.

Key Findings

From conducting this HRIA we have gained a clearer understanding of the impact of our business activities within the Kenyan tea supply chain, including  potential direct and indirect impacts. We have also gained a better understanding of our leverage, role and responsibility in effectively mitigating the impacts identified. The HRIA identified further information about the systemic issues facing women and smallholder tea producers, including land rights, worker representation and gender discrimination.

Through this process we have developed relationships with partners to enable direct access to rights-holders as well as understanding impacts first-hand. We will continue to develop these partnerships to support our action plans and on-going monitoring, recognising that a HRIA is an ongoing process, as opposed to a one-off assessment.

Summary of Impacts

This table summarises some of the most salient positive and negative impacts identified through our desk-based research and field assessment.

Right(s) Impacted

Activities in Supply Chain

Rightsholder(s)

Impact Type

Summary of Impact(s)

Right to adequate standard of living (livelihoods, housing, food, water)Small co-operativesSmallholder farmers

Negative

Tea price volatility coupled with variable costs of production can lead to the constraints on basic facets of life such as access to water, labour, education/school fees, health.
Estate operationsWorkers, estate residents

Negative

Low wages and a move towards increased mechanisation on tea estates impact workers and estate residents' ability to access an adequate standard of living. 

Working conditionsEstate operationsField workers

Negative

Casual labour is a common labour arrangement and payment is normally according to piece rate, leading to long working hours.
Right to healthSocial investment and social responsibility activities by producer organisationsTea growing communities

Positive

Some estate health facilities have extended healthcare provision to non-workers in tea growing areas.
Discrimination (gender, access to land and financial resources)Tea producer CSR activities and investmentsWomen

Positive

Financial literacy and business skills training provided through experts, supported by tea companies. 
Smallholder co-operativesSmallholder farmers

Negative

Entrenched cultural barriers to women’s land ownership in Kenya, meaning women can work or even run farms, but frequently enjoy no direct representation within the producer group because they are not the landowners.
Right to civic participationSmallholder co-operativesSmallholder farmers

Positive

Tea companies support tea growing communities through organisation and political representation & advocacy related to policy decisions affecting the sector.

Mitigation Plan

We have developed an action-orientated, time-bound mitigation plan, in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, to ensure we address and mitigate the most adverse negative impacts and further support the positive impacts identified in this HRIA. As part of this plan we are open to working beyond our direct supply chain to ensure we also strengthen sector level, systemic change.

For more detail on this action plan, please download our full HRIA report at the above link.

Objectives

Mitigation Plan Pillars

 

Scaling up the impact of certification schemes

Engaging directly with Kenyan stakeholders

Adapting our purchasing practices

Supporting systemic change in the tea sector 

Objective 1:Explore collaborative opportunities to increase positive impacts of certification schemes.Continue to engage with stakeholders, local partners and MSIs included within the HRIA and feedback learnings.Strengthen buying practices to go beyond certification requirements.

Continue to develop supply chain transparency.

Objective 2:Continue sourcing of certified black, green and rooiboos tea and increase overall proportion of certified fruit and herbal teas. 

Engage in initiatives and projects with local stakeholders. 

Support mitigation of the impact of price volatility on rightsholders through business practices. Test specific interventions to mitigate risks associated with smallholder famers and women. 
Stakeholders:

Certification Partners

Tea supplier(s)

Civil society organisations

Trade Unions

Lidl commercial & CSR team

Tea supplier(s)

MSIs

NGOs

MSIs

Civil society organisations 

Next Steps

We are committed to publishing updates of this HRIA through a progress report in 2022, as well as through our bi-annual CSR report. We will use key findings and learnings from this assessment to inform HRIAs in other countries, commodities and contexts and will continue to refine our methodology for future HRIAs.