James Finlay Limited

Finlays was founded in 1750. As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swire Group, the company has extensive tea and horticultural interests in Kenya, South Africa and Sri Lanka, complemented by global trading, packaging and extraction activities. It’s primary markets are in the UK, USA, Asia and increasingly continental Europe. Finlays is a well respected global brand, with a 250+ year old heritage. It has operations in many countries and in diversified markets and is well known across the tea and horticulture industries. Over the years Finlays has played important roles in the development of the tea industry in India, has pioneered instant tea research, development and production. Recent expansion into flowers, fresh produce and rubber is in keeping with its 250 years old tradition to continually expand by seeking opportunities which will benefit shareholders, employees and stakeholders.

Company details

Swire House 59, Buckingham Gate , London , SW1E 6AJ United Kingdom

Locations Served

Business Type:
Manufacturer
Industry Type:
Agriculture
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Year Founded:
1750

Finlays was founded in 1750. As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swire Group, the company has extensive tea and horticultural interests in Kenya, South Africa and Sri Lanka, complemented by global trading, packaging and extraction activities. It’s primary markets are in the UK, USA, Asia and increasingly continental Europe.

Finlays is a well respected global brand, with a 250+ year old heritage. It has operations in many countries and in diversified markets and is well known across the tea and horticulture industries. Over the years Finlays has played important roles in the development of the tea industry in India, has pioneered instant tea research, development and production. Recent expansion into flowers, fresh produce and rubber is in keeping with its 250 years old tradition to continually expand by seeking opportunities which will benefit shareholders, employees and stakeholders.

Tea, Coffee, Rubber and Timber
Finlays’ Tea Estates in Kenya and Sri Lanka cover more than 15,000 hectares and produce 40 million kilos of black tea each year. Finlays is the largest trader of Fairtrade tea in the world and largest roaster of coffee in the UK. In addition to managing 5,000 hectares of timber in Kenya and Sri Lanka, we produce 1 million kilos of rubber latex annually from 2,000 hectares of rubber estates in Sri Lanka.

Tea Trading, Tea Extracts and Beverage Packing
Finlays is one of the largest independent tea traders in the world, trading more than 70 million kilos of tea each year from our offices in UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka, UAE, Malawi, Vietnam, Indonesia, USA and China. We are also the world’s largest suppliers of quality tea extracts, including instant teas and aromas, dealing with all the world’s top beverage companies. The company also has beverage businesses in the UK and Sri Lanka sourcing, blending and packaging private label tea and coffee for customers in the UK, the Middle East and Japan.

Flowers and Vegetables
A substantial horticultural business which includes growing, processing, packaging, marketing and distribution of cut flowers and premium prepared fresh vegetables supplying most of the UK retailers. Finlays Horticulture is the largest vertically integrated, added-value producer and exporter of fresh produce and flowers from Africa to the EU and is one of the world’s largest producers and packers of Fairtrade roses and lilies.

Dudutech is a leader in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and produces large quantities of biological control organisms to control common pests and diseases. Since 2004, its beneficial bugs have helped Kenyan growers to reduce their dependence on synthetic pesticides by almost 70%. Through training, Dudutech has ensured that the benefits are experienced throughout the supply chain.

Omniflora is a wholly owned subsidiary headquartered in Frankfurt and markets and sells flowers to major retail multiples in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and Luxembourg. Omniflora is committed to supplying ethical flowers, sourced from socially and environmentally responsible growers, and almost exclusively trades Fairtrade accredited roses sourced from FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organisation) certified farms.

FV SeleQt is a joint venture with the Best Fresh Group to market premium vegetables in Europe. The operation is based in Poeldijk in The Netherlands. The Best Fresh group brings an expertise of marketing and distributing salads, vegetables and fruits in Continental Europe and this combined with our expertise of both growing and sourcing vegetables makes FV SeleQt a compelling proposition for European customers.

Logistics and services: James Finlay Ltd has a controlling interest in Finlays Colombo, a Sri-Lankan based business, quoted on the Colombo Stock Exchange. Activities include warehousing of tea, blending and packaging tea for export, insurance broking, and agencies representing a number of international businesses trading in Sri Lanka; including Cathay Pacific, for which it acts as General Sales Agent. In addition, Finlays Colombo owns Sri Lanka’s largest and most technologically advanced cold storage facility, togtether with a factory which manufactures green tea.

We employ over 39,000 people, on flower farms in Kenya & South Africa and tea estates in Kenya & Sri Lanka. We are very serious about our responsibilities towards our people and their communities as well as the local and global environment. Our flower farms and many of our tea estates are Fairtrade accredited.

However, while operating to high ethical and environmental standards and audited by numerous external audit bodies, we recognise that the environmental and social situation is never a constant and are committed to continually looking for ways to improve our performance.

Finlays is a wholly owned subsidiary of John Swire and Sons Limited UK

To Connect Humanity through Natural Beverages.

Combining tradition and innovation to create a healthier, happier and better world by bringing the best from bush to cup.

To grow Finlays profitably and sustainably by serving as the industry’s trusted leader in the supply of tea (in all its wonderful varieties, formats and applications), coffee and botanical extracts to the world’s beverage brand owners.

Finlays is committed to a sustainable future.
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.

Priorities

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.

Health and Safety

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.

Working with others

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.

Certification Standards

Fairtrade
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 Certified™
Rainforest Alliance certification comprehensively addresses the environmental, social and economic challenges faced by farmers and their communities. The programme is global in reach and committed to helping farmers manage their land sustainably, currently for more than 100 crops including our tea in Sri Lanka.
The Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal shows consumers that products, or ingredients, are produced on farms that help support the rights and well-being of farm workers, the conservation of natural resources and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

We have the following certification and assurance:

  • ISO 22000
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified™
  • Ethical Tea Partnership
  • Fairtrade
  • Organic Certification by The Soil Association
  • National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA)
  • GAP
  • Kosher
  • Halal

People used to know where their food and drink came from – it was local and natural. Then populations grew and spread out, and things changed.

Supply chains became longer and more complex; the end product got further and further from where it started, in every sense. Soon the race was on to package and mass-produce products that would keep the world hooked. But once again, people want to know the origin of their food and drink. That’s why we believe the future of our industry is to reconnect with its past.

At Finlays, we have never lost touch with our own past. The lessons of two centuries feel more relevant today than ever.

We are drawing on these long-held values to create a better future for beverages. That means harnessing new technologies in a responsible way – ensuring future innovations drive our industry to new heights, delivering healthy products to the world. It means continuing the tradition of fair dealing that has helped us build life-long relationships and thriving communities. It means using over a century of experience to make our crops sustainable and our supply chains transparent. Most of all, it means empowering our customers, large and small, to develop the natural, traceable and trusted products their consumers are asking for.

With deep roots across the globe, no-one is better placed than Finlays to unleash the global potential of tea and other natural products to create tomorrow’s beverages.

Finlays. The future of beverages. Since 1750.

Finlays originated in Glasgow in 1750 as a trader and manufacturer of cotton. The company established direct trading links with India in 1816 and China in 1817. During the second half of the 19th century, representatives were sent to India to plant tea. From this point, Finlays started to play a leading role in the development of the global tea industry.

In 1893 the business began its journey investing within Sri Lanka, initially entering the shipping business in Ceylon by taking over an agency of steamers. In 1894 the company began operating in Insurance Services and that same year embarked on its journey into tea within Sri Lanka, which today puts Finlays as a major producer and supplier of Ceylon tea to the global markets.

During the 1920s, the company expanded its tea business into Africa, establishing estates and production facilities which continue to form a major part of our business today. Finlays pioneered instant tea research, development and production in the 1960s, when the industry was still in its infancy.

Towards the end of the 20th century, our cotton interests were replaced by financial services, onshore and offshore oil services, and a wide range of other businesses. By the early 1990s, however, we had reverted to concentrating on tea and tea-related activities and we are today, an international company, principally focused on tea. As contemporary drinking patterns change and the enormous potential of tea as a healthy ingredient in other products is developed, we are at the forefront of producing and marketing tea extracts and aromas in addition to more traditional forms of processing. This is highlighted by significant recent investments in China, Kenya and the USA.

Finlays have also expanded our various non-tea businesses, principally around coffee, which has included the purchase of Autocrat in 2014, a coffee extraction business in North America. Finlays has also made sizeable investments in state-of-the-art cold store facilities in Colombo.

Finlays now has a unique and integrated global footprint in the beverage industry. We own and operate tea estates, extraction facilities for tea, coffee and plant extracts, packing facilities and R&D labs across four continents.

Evolution of Identity

Our brand is one of our most important assets. It is the means by which we manage our reputation. It is what we want people to think and feel about us, the emotional connection we make with our customers and employees, as well as the level of quality and trust that we provide.