James Finlay tea marketing ban now lifted


The Rainforest Alliance has lifted the suspensions imposed on James Finlay Kenya and Ekaterra Tea Kenya.

The reinstatement will now allow both companies to market their tea products once again as Rainforest Alliance certified.

The Alliance made an official statement on its website, explaining that the decision to lift the suspensions was a result of the corrective actions taken by the companies following investigative audits carried out earlier this year.

During these investigative audits, the Rainforest Alliance found several non-conformities in the social and management criteria of the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard for both certificate holders.

As a consequence, on May 9, 2023, the Alliance took the necessary step to suspend both James Finlay Kenya and Ekaterra Tea Kenya.

However, the companies took prompt and effective action to address the identified non-conformities during the period of suspension.

"As a result, after conducting thorough verification audits, the Rainforest Alliance decided to lift the suspensions of both companies, with immediate effect," reads the statement.

A significant aspect emphasised by the Rainforest Alliance is its commitment to addressing human rights violations and promoting a continuous improvement approach.

They acknowledge that while they condemn any form of human rights abuses, they have realised, based on their extensive 35 years of experience in agricultural supply chains, that complex issues, especially those related to human rights, require more than just zero-tolerance measures.

"As part of their strategy to tackle such issues, the Rainforest Alliance has adopted an 'Assess-and-Address' human rights due diligence approach outlined in their 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard," reads the statement.

This approach involves close collaboration with certificate holders to establish transparent and reliable systems for monitoring, detecting, and rectifying key human rights abuses.

The organization also aligns this approach with global legislation, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The statement from the Rainforest Alliance reiterated its unwavering commitment to combat sexual harassment and gender-based violence within global supply chains.

"Ensuring the safety and well-being of women and all workers remains an integral part of the companies' certification program and overall mission," it reads.

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