New York-based Rainforest Alliance has certified Tata (Tetley brand) teas as “sustainable”. The first products carrying this highly sought-after stamp of approval will be selling in the UK before April, and throughout the world over the coming few years. Yet, Tata is on record as violating Indigenous Peoples’ rights, threatening the integrity of rainforests, and embarking on several mineral-related ventures that have prompted grave concerns in Asia, Africa and Europe. These are by no means the only ventures that severely call into question any claim the Tatas may make to being “ethical”. When it proudly breaks into the UK “fair trade” tea market this April, many British workers will fail to be impressed. These are the employees of Corus Steel – bought out by Tata in 2007, when the company guaranteed them jobs they’re now about to lose.
The following response (unsigned) to the original allegations against the company has been published in the Indian weekly, Frontline. See