Sourced with care

Sourced with Care is part of Twinings’ responsible sourcing programme.

We are committed to respecting internationally recognised human rights in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, both in our own operations and in our supply chains.  Through our Sourced with Care programme we also aim to improve quality of life for the communities we source from.


The standards we expect our suppliers to meet are laid out in our Code of Conduct and complemented by our Human Rights Policy, as specified in our overarching Responsible Sourcing Policy.  It details our commitment to conduct our business with integrity, to respect human rights and to uphold core labour principles. We have a layered approach to monitoring that these standards are being adhered to.  Our tier one sites are monitored for compliance against our Code on a risk-based approach. 


We don’t own any tea or herb estates, farms or gardens but are selective about who we source from, only purchasing tea from certified sources to internationally recognised standards. We also go beyond solely relying on third-party certification and since 2016 our Social Impact and Sustainability team has been carrying out Twinings Community Needs Assessment (TCNA) periodically on every tea garden and farm we source from, as well as all of our key herb suppliers, representing 85% of our total herb volume. This framework takes a holistic approach to assessing human rights risks and community needs in our supply chain, it is tailored around hearing from the workers, farmers and community members themselves, through focus group discussions and individual interviews.


A TCNA covers ten areas related to human rights and the welfare of workers in our supply chain: gender, health and nutrition, children’s rights, lands rights, livelihoods, water and sanitation, natural resources, farming practices, housing, and working conditions. It helps give us a firsthand understanding of the conditions on the ground in our tea and herb suppliers and helps us to identify any areas for improvement. If areas are identified, we will ask our suppliers to take action to address these, following up regularly on progress, either through a Corrective Action Plan or developing and implementing programmes.


We are also determined to play a leading role in developing a progressive tea sector working in close collaboration with others, including the Ethical Tea Partnership and its members, to help bring about industry-wide change. To achieve our ambitions, we work with partners on the ground in our key sourcing regions to help address societal and environmental industry-wide issues, aiming to make a positive difference on a range of topics including health and sanitation, gender-based violence, women's empowerment, improving incomes, carbon emissions and biodiversity. Our partners include producers, NGOs, government agencies, industry platforms, as well as the tea and herb growing communities we source from.


Find out more on the work we are doing here. 

Working with care

People are at the heart of Sourced with Care.


Every day in gardens and farms around the world, hundreds of thousands of people are growing, tending and harvesting the finest ingredients. Without these people, their skills and the environment where our ingredients grow, a cup of Twinings tea would not be possible.
Sourced With Care is our way of recognising the vital role that these people and their communities play through programmes that aim to drive positive change through empowering women, supporting incomes, and improving living standards. These are some of our programmes:



Most tea estates are usually in quite rural areas, where access to safe and dignified sanitation is often an issue. To help address this we work with our suppliers to accelerate the building of sanitation facilities and awareness on hand washing and good hygiene practices.  Since 2010 we have built over 3,000 toilets, providing safe, long-lasting and dignified sanitation to over 18,000 people in India and Sri Lanka, and continue to do so in India and Kenya.


Rooibos, a key herb for Twinings, is grown primarily in Cederberg, South Africa, in remote communities that tend to be far from any medical facilities, including hospitals. To help address this, Twinings partnered with The Pebbles Project to provide access to medical care, funding a Mobile Health Clinic which now visits the Roobios farms, which means that these workers and their families, who live on the farms, do not need to travel to more populated areas to access basic services. The Clinic provides workers, which are predominantly female, and their families, with wellness screenings, routine health check-ups, primary healthcare support, health and wellness workshops and over-the- counter health products.  As well as providing better access to health care facilities, The Pebbles Project also aims to provide farm workers and their communities with information on topics such as sexual health, dental care and maternal health, increasing awareness and empowering individuals to take control of their and their family’s health.


As the majority of those working in the tea estates are women, we have a number of programmes focusing on empowering women and as part of that, making sure they are aware of their rights as workers. For example, we have recently extended our Community Development Forums (CDFs) model to Indonesia where we are working with the ETP, Care International and other likeminded brands to support the implementation of CDFs on three tea estates that we source from. The CDF helps to address these issues by training female tea pluckers in leadership skills and women’s safety and through open dialogue with management gives them a platform to be heard. The programme also focuses on human rights and promotes the representation of women in workers’ unions and leadership committees in the workplace. The success of the CDF model relies heavily on direct community participation and over three years it aims to embed the CDF open dialogue structure in the estates, so that it out-lives the length of project.


In India, we are members of the Women Safety Accelerator Fund (WSAF), a collaboration led by IDH, and funded by the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) and a number of other brands and retails. The WSAF is designed address women’s safety and gender-based violence in the Indian tea sector, by ensuring women are socially, economically and politically empowered in rural spaces, that are free from sexual harassment and other forms of violence. WSAF does this through a series of awareness and training sessions, while also providing support to women who have experienced issues.


We have also developed a specific Gender-Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) policy and implementation toolkit for suppliers. This policy, which we are rolling out to our suppliers, starting in Kenya initially, sets out the standards which we expect them to comply with, including requirements to introduce GBV preventative measures, carry out training, and operate effective grievance mechanisms. 


Find out more on the work we are doing on Improving Lives here. 

Climate and Nature

We recognise the risk climate change poses to our business and our supply chains and are committed to taking steps to reduce our emissions and have an ambition to reach net zero. Addressing climate change is particularly important for the gardens, farms and people that grow our tea and herbs in our supply chains, as extreme weather and natural disasters, like heat waves, irregular rainfall, flooding and drought, continue to affect the sowing and growing of healthy crops and the livelihoods of communities who rely on them.


To support our net zero ambition, we have committed to setting near- and long-term company-wide emission reductions targets in line with science-based net-zero in consultation with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Our Net Zero Steering Group is working with expert organisations to measure and analyse our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and develop specific targets and our emission reduction roadmap, to support us on this journey. Our initial focus will be on the areas where we can make the biggest difference, which is why the Net Zero Steering Group comprises leads in the areas of manufacturing, procurement, logistics, supply chain, environmental sustainability and social impact.

Our own operations – Scope 1 and 2.

In our own operations, we generate approximately 2% of our total carbon emissions mostly from natural gas (Scope 1) and indirect emissions associated with the purchased electricity (Scope 2). To reduce our emissions we’re focused on identifying and implementing energy savings and manufacturing efficiencies, as well as switching to renewable energy.

We have already implemented a number of efficiencies across our two main manufacturing sites, Andover in the UK and Swarzedz in Poland, including installing LED lighting throughout, which uses approximately half the amount of energy than the previous fluorescent lighting, and we will use our building energy management systems (EMS) to identify areas for further improvements. For example, in the UK where we also completed an energy audit prior to installing our EMS, we have upgraded our chiller and dust extraction systems as well as two Voltage Power Optimisation Units to drive energy savings. We also installed a new robotic (Automated Guided Vehicles) palletiser system, which has reduced the amount of energy needed to power the system by more than 75% compared to the previous conveyor system in our UK site. In Swarzedz, our factory is already highly automated, with a number of AGVs, and energy efficient.

As part of switch to renewable energy we have now installed solar panels at both Andover and Swarzedz, with plans to add additional units to our car parks and our new warehouse. In Swarzedz, we have also installed a Tri-generation system, which converts natural gas to electrical energy that is less carbon intensive, delivering a significant amount of the electricity needed to power the site. When fully operational it is estimated that our panels and Tri-generation system will supply up to 30% of the energy required to power our sites. For the remaining energy that we need across our operations, we will look to transition to energy providers who generate renewable energy via national grids.
Our supply chain – Scope 3
In our supply chain, where the vast majority of our emissions are, we need to work collaboratively across the sector with our stakeholders, advocating the importance of setting carbon reduction targets and assessing their emissions and decarbonisation strategies.


We’re also working hard to minimise our packaging materials, using less and where possible using more sustainable alternatives, increasing the recycled content and removing single-use plastic, and in doing so also making sure more of our packaging is recyclable.  By 2025, we have committed to ensuring that all our consumer packaging is recyclable or reusable and our tea bags are compostable. We have already made significant progress but recognise that there is always more work to be done.

When it comes to logistics, it accounts for a very small part of our Scope 3 emissions. We ship our raw ingredients from our sourcing countries to our production sites rather than air freighting them. When it comes to products being transported to customers, we’re looking at using ways to optimise our inbound and outbound journeys, minimising the use of empty trucks; using jumbo trailers, thereby reducing the number of journeys we have to make; as well as switching from road freight to rail freight; and looking at alternative fuels, to reduce our emissions.

We source our tea and herbs from gardens, estates and smallholders in more than 40 countries. Farming communities, especially smallholders, are increasingly on the frontline of climate change and climate-related environmental challenges, like water scarcity and poor soil health. Therefore, we will continue to work in partnership with suppliers and farmers to support change in communities where we source our tea and herbs from through specific projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions and improve biodiversity and soil health. 

For example, we recently launched a three-year pilot programme in Argentina which will work with 100 tea farmers to gain a better understanding of their emissions and the impact training and implementation of more sustainable farming techniques can have on tea growing communities.  The techniques used include testing different land management approaches to improve soil health and biodiversity, for example incorporating trees amongst tea rows; efficient use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, as well as switching to organic alternatives; and integrated pest management techniques. We will then use the learnings for this programme to inform our strategy to reduce our Scope 3 emissions, with the aim of rolling out this pilot and its findings to our other sourcing countries.

In doing so, we hope that it will help support producer’s livelihoods while at the same time playing a part in reducing the carbon emissions in our supply chain.  

Farming and Regenerative Agriculture

In addition to all the work we are doing to address our emissions, we also have a number of programmes designed to train farmers in more sustainable farming techniques. For example, in Guatemala we are working with Mercy Corps and cardamom farmers to help reduce deforestation, introducing crop diversification, improved pest management, to help improve biodiversity. Cardamom requires shade to grow, so in combining these plants with other, more commercial trees, such as the native Madrecacao, which is fast growing, as well as Cedar and Mahogany, these provide the much-needed shade for the plants, while also providing another source of income over time. Farmers are also combining their crops with cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, helping them to diversify their outputs and improve their income.


Once harvested cardamom needs to be dried and this programme has helped the famers switch from wood- based fires to propane gas driers. This significantly reduces the need for wood to be used as fuel, helping to reduce deforestation, but also improves the quality of the cardamom, as the propane fires provide a much more consistent temperature in which to dry the pods.


In Kenya we have partnered with the Farmer Voice Radio NGO, to provide training to Kenyan smallholder tea farmers, funded by the UK FCDO’s WOW (Work and Opportunity for Women) programme. These smallholder farmers, particularly female farmers, often have little to no access to training given work and family time pressures. 
This innovative programme funds the development of a series of training programmes designed by and for women, which are broadcast, in local dialects, over the radio twice a week and then uploaded to YouTube, which means farmers can listen at a time that suits them and their schedule. The series focuses on training farmers on more environmentally friendly farming techniques including land management techniques, such as reducing the amount of tillage, appropriate use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers and switching to organic where possible, water harvesting and pest management.


Find out more on the work we’re doing on climate and nature here.