James Finlay banned by Starbucks in tea plantation sex scandal


Beverage firm Starbucks has stopped purchasing tea from Kenya’s James Finlay and Company which was part of agricultural operations that has been engulfed in a sex scandal exposed by BBC News.

Over 70 women working at farms operated by James Finlay and Lipton Teas and Infusions (the successor of Unilever) said they had been sexually abused by their supervisors.

In the wake of the scandal, Starbucks issued a statement saying it was "deeply concerned" and that it had taken "immediate action" to suspend buying from James Finlay and Company in Kenya.

UK retail chain Sainsbury’s also indicated it could stop buying tea from the local producers.

"These horrific allegations have no place in our supply chain,” Sainsbury’s was quoted in the BBC News article. The scandal follows a similar one at Kakuzi which saw UK supermarkets including Tesco and Lidl suspend the purchase of avocados from the agricultural firm in 2020.

The boycotts come amid a high emphasis on ethical supply chains.