30 May 2024, Geneva, Switzerland - At the very core of the Agenda 2030 lies the ambition to eradicate poverty across the globe, with special attention to be drawn to the most vulnerable groups and communities.  Indeed, it is no accident that “No Poverty” has been listed first among the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.

Recognizing the urgent need for collaborative and cross-cutting action to improve the lives of the 25 million people working in the Tea Industry, whose conditions are commonly described as ‘alarming’, UNITAR’s Division for People and Social Inclusion has joined forces with the London Tea Exchange to launch the Fair Pay Foundation, which was inaugurated at an official ceremony hosted by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Prof. Michael Mainelli on the 22nd of May.


Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, behind water, and holds significant economic and cultural significance. While it is only produced in a few regions, it is consumed everywhere. The Fair Pay Foundation aims to deliver at least 3 million tea workers out of extreme poverty by 2030, principally through encouraging the adoption of the Fair Pay Charter by governments and companies. The Fair Pay charter is an 8-point pledge that was formally endorsed and signed by the Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the Hon. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, alongside UNITAR’s signature.

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNITAR Executive Director, Mr. Nikhil Seth, highlighted, in his virtual appearance, the inadequacy of existing wages for tea workers, which often fail to break workers and their dependents free from the shackles of poverty.

With this in mind, UNITAR aims to launch a CIFAL (Centre International de Formation pour les autorités et leaders) affiliated training centre is to be launched in Bangladesh, in close collaboration with the stakeholders of the Fair Pay Foundation, which will serve as an international centre of excellence for training and education of policymakers, business owners, supply chain professionals, and artisans who commit to the endeavour of improving the livelihoods of the most vulnerable peoples in the tea industry. 

The London Tea Exchange and UNITAR will also collaborate on building a series of Model Tea Plantations, which will become global benchmarks when it comes to employee well-being and ethical supply chain management. 

In his endorsement speech, Mayor Khan stated that “a cup of tea makes everything better”. It is our joint position that a cup of tea which is sourced from an alliance committed to eradicating poverty can certainly do so.

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