Operating across the entire value chain, we are keenly aware of the economic, social and environmental impact of our activities. As owners of tea estates, we also take a long view on our natural environment – with a deep understanding of how our business is intimately linked to the landscape where we are located. Take forests as an example. Tea cultivation is dependent on the forests that surround them. Forests help mitigate climate changes by controlling the micro-climate, providing water and biodiversity (to help control pests and diseases), and they sustain agriculture in the area. Where we operate we undertake work to protect natural forests both inside our estates and outside.
Finlays take a long view on developing best practice. For example, we try (where possible) to look beyond certification, not just compliance. In our estates we have empowerment programmes for people and for the communities who live on our estates.
As a producer with a large environmental and social footprint the variety and complexity of the challenges we face obligate us to look at our response with greater urgency and analysis. Finlays sustainability strategy commits us to:
Business: We will address social, political and environmental issues by demonstrating that it is more financially rewarding to be sustainable.
Environment: We aim to have ‘zero net impact’ as our minimum environmental standard. Overall we commit to making a positive contribution to environmental recovery and resilience.
People: We strive to make Finlays an enjoyable and rewarding place to work, an organisation that nurtures and develops its people for the benefit of the individual, the company, and the community.
Communities and Partners: We will take an active leadership role in dealing with sustainability issues, and share our knowledge for the benefit of our suppliers, communities and society in general.
Products: We will develop and provide sustainable products and services that contribute positively to the health and wellbeing of society.
As a business we are committed to provide a safe and healthy workplace for our employees, contractors and visitors. Health and safety commitments are enshrined in our group values. We operate in a number of different continents across both the developed and developing world which can be challenging when it comes to the continuous improvement of health and safety management. Not all accidents can be prevented but as a group we always aim to be best in class through great safety leadership, improving the competency of our employees and engaging communication.
Finlays also participates in multi-stakeholder initiatives looking at developing best practice in key sustainability areas.
Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI): The ETI is a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe. The ETI’s vision is a world where all workers are free from exploitation, discrimination, and enjoy conditions of freedom, security and equity.
Tea2030: Finlays was a joint founder of the Tea2030 Initiative, which sought to identify systemic sustainability issues impacting on the tea industry from the growing through to the consumer interaction. Currently work is focused on landscapes in the growing regions, market mechanisms and the consumer proposition of tea.
We are an active supporter of Fairtrade with registered producers in tea and flowers. Our trading, processing and packing businesses are registered licensees, giving our customers and consumers a complete Fairtrade supply chain. All producers who supply Fairtrade products are inspected and certified by FLO-cert. They receive a minimum price to cover the cost of sustainable production as well as an extra premium that is invested in social or economic development projects. Products traded under fair-trade conditions and standards are labelled with a Fairtrade Mark to guarantee that producers are getting a fair deal.
Rainforest Alliance certification comprehensively addresses the environmental, social and economic challenges faced by farmers and their communities. The programme which is global in reach and is run by a coalition of non-profit organisations committed to conservation and social justice, currently certifies over 20 different crops including our tea in Sri Lanka. For consumers, the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal guarantees that a product comes from sustainably managed farms or forests.
We have the following certification and assurance: