Tea

Tea

SUSTAINABLE SOURCING OF TEA

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Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Every year we sell over ten thousand tonnes of tea, from our Gold and Red Label blends to our speciality single origin teas from Assam and Ceylon. Generally, tea is produced on either large estates or smallholder farms across Eastern Africa and Asia and is blended together into the products we sell.

There are several sustainability challenges facing global tea production, including biodiversity loss, soil erosion and low incomes for people employed within the industry. We are working closely with recognised schemes to ensure that tea producers within our supply chains receive adequate training and support in these key areas, helping to secure a sustainable future for tea producers around the world.

We source 100% of our own brand black, green and rooibos tea from either UTZ, Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance third-party certification schemes. We recognise the social and environmental challenges facing tea production, and although we sell a small amount in comparison to the global output, we are committed to doing what we can to promote sustainable production, whether that means working towards higher wages with our certification schemes, or working with the wider industry to address more systemic issues.

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Our Commitment

We are committed to sourcing 100% of our black, green and rooibos tea from UTZ, Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certified sustainable sources.

Transparency

As part of our commitment to greater transparency, we have worked with our suppliers to better understand our Knightsbridge Gold Label Tea supply chain. The data we disclose includes country and regional level information, as well as worker numbers and gender breakdown.

Kenya Tea Human Rights Impact Assessment

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As part of our human rights due diligence approach we committed to conducting Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs) to better understand the impact of our business operations on human rights issues within key commodity streams. Through our annual high level supply chain risk assessment tea was identified as a high risk raw material and further analysis identified Kenya as a key source for certified tea, not only for Lidl but also as an export market into Europe.

Through our HRIA, which followed internationally recognised methodologies, we were able to access rights holders from across the Kenyan tea value chain, from smallholder farmers and tea estate workers, to supply chain representatives and key Lidl staff. This has allowed us to improve our understanding of gender, small-holder producer organisations and the structure of the tea producing economy in Kenya for the UK market. Through the publication of a full report and time-bound action plan, we will outline the steps we will take to mitigate salient human rights risks identified through this process.

Supporting Women in the Kenyan Tea Sector

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Our tea suppliers are taking important steps to support women working within the tea sector, putting interventions in place to tackle discrimination within the workplace. Initiatives introduced include female management trainee programmes, leadership training and apprenticeships, gender equality training and school mentorship programmes. We engage closely with our suppliers to understand the progress they are making on their initiatives and consider opportunities to enhance or develop these further.   

SUPPORTING FAIRTRADE TEA PRODUCERS

It is estimated that over 390,000 farmers and workers produce Fairtrade tea across 11 countries. The challenges workers face vary depending on the tea growing location, however many face low wages, long working hours and lack of access to basic needs such as housing, healthcare and education.

Our commitment to sourcing Fairtrade certified tea supports smallholder producers by setting a minimum price, based on the sustainable cost of production, for the tea that we buy. This price acts as a safety net for smallholder farmers against volatile market prices. In addition to this, a Fairtrade Premium is provided directly to producer organisations for them to invest as they see fit, be it in education, healthcare facilities for their communities or training for workers.

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Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing

Cocoa

Over 120 of the products that we sell contain cocoa, which represents more than 5% of our total range. We are proud that, since April 2017, 100% of the cocoa we have sold has come from third party sustainably certified sources.

Coffee

Global demand for coffee continues to grow steadily, especially in Europe. However, what coffee farmers earn from selling coffee in parts of South America and Africa is frequently still not high enough to secure their livelihoods. As a major retailer we are aware of our responsibility to ensure that the coffee we sell is sourced in a sustainable manner that improves working conditions and tackles wider social challenges.

Fruit & Veg

Lidl GB is committed to sourcing fruit and vegetables in a responsible and sustainable way. This includes supporting the British farming economy and, when seasonally possible, sourcing fruit and vegetables from long-term British suppliers.

Plants & Flowers

Lidl GB is committed to British sourcing and, when seasonally possible, sources plants and flowers from long-term British suppliers. Due to the growth and nature of the horticultural industry, most of the plants and flowers grown within Europe come from the Netherlands and Italy, whilst a large portion of production takes place in countries where climate conditions are more favourable to grow flowers all year around such as Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Soy

In the EU, around 90% of soy is used to feed livestock, so it is a vital raw material in the production of our meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. Environmental impacts of soy in countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay include soil erosion and degraded pastureland, biodiversity loss and carbon emissions.

Textiles

Throughout every Lidl non-food collection, clothing, accessories and home textiles are a core element. As a major buyer of these products, Lidl has a great responsibility when it comes to living, working and environmental conditions in manufacturing countries.

Wood & Timber

Increasing global demand for low-cost timber products supports a multi-billion dollar business of illegal and unsustainable logging in forests worldwide. The world’s natural forests cannot sustainably meet this soaring global demand for timber products under weak forest management practices, making it critical that we take action to ensure that the wood-based fibres used in our products and packaging are from sustainable sources.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is best grown near the equator, with Indonesia and Malaysia being the major producing countries for the global export market. When grown in a non-sustainable way, palm oil can lead to devastating deforestation and harm to the natural environment. We are committed to sourcing all of our palm oil from third-party sustainable sources.

Bananas

Bananas are one of our most popular products, grown and produced in countries on the equator and shipped into the UK every day. As bananas can be grown by both smallholder farmers and on large plantations, it is important that we understand our supply chains well to make sure we are able to support sustainable and ethical production in the most appropriate way.

Seafood

At Lidl GB, our principles of responsible fish and seafood sourcing are to ensure that the fish sold within our product ranges are sourced from the healthiest stocks possible using the least destructive fishing methods, with high regard for both environmental and social standards. Safe-guarding fish stocks for the future is an issue we are passionate about and we are proud of the progress we have made.

Animal Welfare

Through our partners including Red Tractor and RSPCA Assured, alongside animal welfare focussed NGO's, we have specialised contacts placed throughout the industry that can help advise and help action continuous improvement.
We have created strong supplier relationships through our lean buying practices and by championing British farming, we are able to provide product with leading-welfare standards, at an affordable price.