Major tea brands and packers join forces for sustainable tea sourcing & trade. 


The IDH Tea Program promotes sustainable tea production in Africa and Asia, and sustainable procurement in Western Europe and Asia. It is a cooperation of Europe and Asia's largest tea packers, and the most important certifiers and NGO's in the sector.


Drivers for change

An estimated eight million small-scale tea producers in Africa and Asia are working with outdated production methods. Not only do these methods harm the environment, but they result in low yields and product of poor quality. Often working conditions are poor. At the same time in western and Asian markets, there is a growing consumer demand for sustainable tea.



The IDH Tea Program aims to upscale and embed sustainable tea production and consumption . The program is targeting both export markets (mainly in East-Africa) and (Asian) domestic markets. It attributes first hand experience with up scaling of both certification and farmer field school extension model in East-Africa. Furhermore it’s innovative in having a locally driven sustainability approach in Asian markets with a focus on embedding the initiatives in national governments.


Watch an animated overview of the IDH tea program:



This animation shows the main elements of the IDH tea program, the progress made and some issues that still need to be solved.



The IDH Tea Program faces a number of challenges, ranging from the task of connecting thousands of small producers to the supply chains of multinational tea companies, to improving the living and working conditions of small scale tea producers and tea workers.


Among the challenges at farmer level  are:

  • Improving  good agricultural practices of small scale tea producers
  • Improving the relationship between small scale tea producers and processing factories
  • Increasing farmer net income
  • Reversing deforestation and forest degradation
  • Decreasing water usage
  • Improving working conditions
  • Analyzing business cases for sustainable tea production


Click here (860.4 Kb) for the complete Tea Program 2-pager.  


Program at a glance



on MDGs


Increased income for 445.000 farmers

107.500 tons certified tea from smallholders, 390.000 hectares of sustainable land use. 

22% world tea export certified. 

Sustainable economic growth

Sustainable tea production and certified tea exports will boost the national economies of India, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China and Vietnam.

Private sector development

Offering tea from certified farms will help to improve access to premium international markets.

Economic empowerment

Joint action will be taken by the consortium to create and improve mechanisms to reduce discrimination and to help disadvantaged groups become part of the mainstream economy.

Importance for Europe

The annual turnover of the tea sector is €1 billion. The Netherlands are number 5 in tea consumption in Europe, and in the top 10 of tea traders in the world.

 Duration:  2011 - 2015
Partners: Unilever

DE Master Blenders 1753

Tata Global Beverages

Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA)
Indian Tea Board

Rainforest Alliance

UTZ Certified

Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP)

Koninklijke Nederlandse Vereniging van Koffie en Thee (KNVKT)

Oxfam Novib


Business Watch Indonesia
LEI Wageningen UR
World Economic Forum (Vietnam)
Forum for the Future - Tea 2030

 Budget: €13 million (€5,5 million IDH)

For more information

Contact: Jordy van Honk, IDH senior program manager tea
+31 30 2305674