The Trustea Code is designed to evaluate and offer certification for the social, economic, agronomic and environmental performance of Indian tea estates, smallholders and factories.
The criteria is divided into four yearly stages, to create a stepwise approach to certification, leading to full compliance by the end of year 4. To achieve the standard, the producers must meet 100 per cent of the mandatory control points. In addition to that, they must show progression: they must comply with 50 per cent of other criteria in Year 1, 60 per cent in Year 2 and 80 per cent in Years 3 and 4.
The Trustea Code is made up of 11 chapters:
- Management system and continuous improvement
- Product traceability
- Soil conservation and management
- Water management
- Crop protection products (CPP)
- Food safety
- Safety, health and welfare of the workforce
- Working conditions and labour rights
- Biodiversity and environmental management
- Waste and pollution management
In the first year, the producer must be audited by the Code’s approved auditors.. After that, audits are carried out every other year. However, in the years where there is no external audit, the verified producer must conduct internal audits and supply a performance report to the Indian Tea Code secretariat.
Detailed and rigorous data about the current market coverage is vague but Trustea have declared that the programme will certify a capacity of 50 million kilograms by December 2014. They also aim to get 51 per cent of India’s tea production certified by 2017, taking the capacity up to 500 million kilograms - that would mean verification of over 600 factories, covering 500,000 workers and 40,000 smallholders. If this is achieved, there would be 300,000 hectares of tea certified as sustainable by 2017 in India.
Trustea was launched in 2013 as an India specific programme by industry stakeholders.
The programme is jointly funded by The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), TATA Global Beverages and Hindustan Unilever (HUL).
Besides the Code, the program offers producers training in the code compliance, free of charge, through three Farmer Support Centres (FSCs). The main function of the FSCs will be providing technical support on-field; strengthening smallholder cooperatives, providing training to trainers and providing support to estates and smallholders in preparing audits and undertaking improvements.