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This statement constitutes Ahmad Tea’s slavery statement for the financial year ended 31 March 2023. We continue to take our responsibility to prevent modern slavery and trafficking within our supply chain seriously.
Ahmad Tea has always maintained a working environment which upholds each individual to their highest potential. We foster working relationships based on dignity and respect and pursue our business with the aim of enriching the standard of living for all connected to our brand.
In particular, Ahmad Tea continues to improve its practices to identify and eliminate any slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains, in accordance to Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act (UK) 2015.
Ahmad Tea will not knowingly support or do business with any person or organisation involved in slavery or trafficking. Moreover we are improving our business practices to deepen the transparency we need to identify potential risks to all human rights within our supply chain.
Biggest risk of Modern Slavery in our Supply Chain is in the Tea Gardens
Two of the four countries that Ahmad Tea source our teas from are at a higher risk of modern slavery – Kenya ranks 41/167 and India 53/167 for prevalence of modern slavery in the Global Slavery Index (the lower the number the higher the risk). The other two, China and Sri Lanka are reported to have lower prevalence, but do have a certain level of risk.
Understanding the impact of modern slavery in our supply chain, we were able to understand that women and girls are disproportionately vulnerable to modern slavery and can potentially account for 71 per cent of all victims. This led us to examine how and why females are vulnerable to modern slavery throughout their life cycle.
We have identified that the cycle of poverty and malnutrition can cause one tea growing community to be more vulnerable to trafficking or using bonded labourers, than another. Similarly, this is the reason why women and girls are more vulnerable to modern slavery. Our prevention programs apply a gender lens and are focussed on poorer areas.
In Assam, India, we are working with Children in Need India (‘CINI’) to support women and children improve nutrition and access to education. We are working collaboratively with CINI to conduct workshops in selected tea growing communities on:
In the tea gardens that we have been working with since 2019, we can report a significant reduction in the rate of child trafficking, missing persons and workers being unpaid for labour.
We are using our three stage approach (1) Identifying the risk (2) Impact (3) Building Community Resilience in Kenya and Sri Lanka with the aim for 2023 and 2024 to develop community based projects which show a similar reduction in the risk of slavery and breaches of human rights. We have already started working at the community level and hope to share these findings in the next reporting year. As Assam is where we source a large volume of our teas and is an area most at risk to slavery, our focus from 2019-2023 has been on deepening our positive impact in this region.
In order to act ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships, Ahmad Tea has taken the preventative steps to put Ahmad Tea’s Social Responsibility Standards (‘Standards’) in place for all suppliers.
Ahmad Tea’s Social Responsibility Standards includes provisions against modern slavery and human trafficking, child labour, forced and compulsory labour, non-discrimination, payment of wages and overtime and enhanced whistleblowing procedures. This forms the basis of every contract of employment and contract for sale of goods we have in place. Any breach of our Standards will result in a breach of contract.
100% of our Direct Suppliers have signed our Standards.
Indirect Suppliers are suppliers we do not directly buy from but form part of our supply chain. Tea gardens fall into this category as we purchase our teas via agents or brokers through a tea auction.
If there has been a breach of our Standards by tea producers our approach differs from a breach of contract with direct suppliers, as we understand that hundreds of workers rely on the income they make from picking tea and without this livelihood, the risk of unpaid labour, trafficking and other forms of modern slavery would increase. Therefore, in the case of a breach, we place that garden on amber warning and give them a time-frame in which to evidence corrective action and improved safeguarding.
Amongst our employees and direct suppliers, policies are in place to minimise any risk of slavery and trafficking in our supply chains by providing due diligence checks on our new contracts and suppliers.
We will continue to assess our supply chains and increase our vigilance in our decisions to work with partners, suppliers and distributors.
We ask all our suppliers to support a Whistleblowing procedure within their own organisational structure capable of fully protecting and supporting our Standards. We also request to be informed if our Standards are not being complied with. Our procurement processes and employee trainings request for people to report on genuine suspicions they may have and remind them that they are legally protected if they do come forward. This can be done through a suggestion box, verbally through whistleblowing officers or via our email on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any further questions about our Standards, our Modern Slavery statement or human rights due diligence in our supply chain, please contact our Legal and Human Rights Officer, Ms Zahra Afshar via her email email@example.com or at the following address: Ahmad Tea Ltd, Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Hampshire, England, UK, S053 2PZ.
We endeavour to uphold this Statement and Ahmad Tea’s Social Responsibility Standards as best we can and with as much transparency as is achievable. We continue to be monitored by external auditors to ensure our business practices, quality, management and environmental standards are to the highest standard.
Approved by Mr Rahim Afshar, Chairman for Ahmad Tea on the 31st March 2023.