The Sweet Taste Of Victory

Feature story - September 29, 2014
Less than two months ago, Greenpeace India launched a report titled, Trouble Brewing, highlighting the presence of a cocktail of pesticide residues in tea. The day the report launched, seven Greenpeace activists climbed the billboards on Bandra Reclamation Road, Mumbai for 50 hours, asking the tea companies to remove pesticides from our tea.

29 September 2014

Pesticide Documentation in Tea estates © Vivek M. / Greenpeace


Within three days, Unilever & Girnar agreed to give us pesticide-free tea.

Nationwide, 40,000 people signed and shared the petition on social media to put pressure on the tea companies to give us clean chai. Various media channels covered the campaign and hundreds of volunteers walked the streets of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore & Kolkata, demanding clean chai.

What followed this show of overwhelming and unanimous support is nothing short of a miracle.

A month later, India's 2nd largest tea company, Tata Global Beverages Limited (TGBL) agreed that Non Pesticide Management (NPM) is the way forward, after Wagh Bakri gave a similar commitment.

The first step to achieving this vision is TGBL's commitment to pilots in their associate plantations in North and South India. Tata's commitment comes as a huge step for the Indian tea industry towards sustainability and global leadership.

Overall, what does this commitment from four of India's leading tea companies lead to?
A shift towards phasing out of pesticides from tea cultivation. Of course, Greenpeace will continue to monitor this move and support the industry in moving away from the pesticides treadmill.

Explains Neha Saigal, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India, "This movement of tea companies towards ecological approaches like Non Pesticide Management, is a victory for the people and consumers who deserve clean and pesticide free tea. We hope that taking cue from the tea sector the entire agriculture sector will move away from the pesticides treadmill and takes the ecological route in the coming future."