New “Real Talk” Section Highlights Unfinished Work and Challenges
BETHESDA, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Honest
Tea’s sixth annual Mission
Report updates the company’s efforts on its mission-related journey,
exploring where the company is succeeding and evolving, and in a
special, first-time section called “Real Talk,” tackling some areas in
which the company has not yet achieved its goals. The company also
launched a new interactive sourcing map in an effort to continuously
improve transparency through all aspects of business.
“Honest Tea has grown sevenfold since it received its first investment
by The Coca-Cola Company in 2008. The partnership with Coke has allowed
us to not only dramatically increase our distribution but also our
commitment to organic and fair trade suppliers,” said Seth Goldman,
Co-Founder and TeaEO of Honest Tea. “Most corporate social
responsibility reports take on the tone of cheerleading documents, but I
find it more interesting to learn how a company is challenging itself.
If we are being honest about the progress our world needs to make in
terms of diet, nutrition, environment and gaps in economic opportunity,
it’s going to take a lot more real talk.”
In an effort to further increase transparency around its products,
Honest Tea has launched an interactive
map on its website, detailing where 40+ ingredients used in its
products are sourced. The map also spotlights some of the company’s more
recognizable ingredients through videos, photos, and other extras that
reveal the stories behind the farmers that grow them.
In 2014 Honest Tea purchased over 6.7 million pounds of organic
ingredients, a 2.8% increase over 2013. However during the same time
period sales volume increased 30 percent, demonstrating that as
ingredients are sourced farther and farther out, multiple metrics need
to be analyzed to provide a true picture of Honest Tea’s impact.
Honest Tea’s commitment to Fair Trade Certified ingredients also
expanded in 2014, culminating in $200,124 in contributions via Fair
Trade premiums, a 29% increase over 2013.
Among the unfinished work referenced in Real Talk:
Tulsi and Fair Trade Certification: Tulsi, a South Asian basil
used in Honest’s Heavenly Lemon Tulsi Herbal Tea, is one of the only
herbs Honest Tea sources that is not Fair Trade Certified through Fair
Trade USA. Honest has initiated conversations with the cooperative
farmers who grow its tulsi about attaining certification, but the
effort and cost of certification only becomes feasible at a certain
minimum purchase volume. Honest Tea will continue to look for ways to
support this farmer group and hopes to share news of their
certification in the future.
The Plastic 16.9 fl. oz. Bottle: Honest Tea’s line of teas in
16.9 fl. oz. plastic bottles has gone through a number of redesigns
over the last few years. While the bottles are made from recyclable #1
PET plastic, they do not feature any recycled or plant based plastic
material. As a company selling most of its product in single serve
containers, Honest is painfully aware that one of its significant
environmental impacts is its packaging, but Honest’s bottles must be
designed to withstand a high degree of heat and pressure due to
Honest’s brewing process. In addition to actively searching for more
sustainable designs, the company continues to encourage consumers to
recycle their bottles through programs like the Great Recycle, and by
placing the How2Recycle logo on its labels.
Updated Recipes: Honest Tea has found success in communicating
openly, honestly, and regularly with its fans. However, several of
this year’s recipe reformulations provoked an increase in consumer
complaints to Honest’s call center by 19%, proving the need for a more
proactive communication strategy when launching recipe changes.
For a digital copy of the complete 2015 Mission Report, click here.
ABOUT Honest® TEA
Honest Tea seeks to create and promote great-tasting, healthier, organic
beverages and extend economic opportunities to communities in need.
Founded in 1998 in Bethesda, MD, Honest Tea is the nation’s top-selling
organic bottled tea company, specializing in beverages that are Just a
Tad Sweet®. Honest Tea’s product lines include: ready-to-drink bottled
teas, Honest® Kids organic thirst quenchers, Honest® Freshly Brewed iced
tea, and Honest® Fizz zero calorie sodas. All teas and juice drinks are
USDA Organic and all tea leaf varieties are Fair Trade Certified™. In
addition to being recognized by the United States Healthful Food Council
for helping change the food landscape, Honest Tea is a multi-year winner
of awards from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence and a Montgomery
County, MD Certified Green Business. Honest Tea has won Men’s Health
“Best Bottled Tea” for seven years and has been included in Women’s
Health magazine’s “125 Best Packaged Foods for Women” for the last three
years in a row. Honest Tea is an independent operating unit of The
Coca-Cola Company. For more information: www.honesttea.com.
James Gleason, 301-652-3556