Honest Tea is committed to the well-being of the people along the supply chain who help grow and pick their ingredients. They seek out suppliers that practice sustainable farming and show respect for individual workers and their families.
Since 2003, when Honest Tea introduced the world's first Fair Trade Certified bottled tea, they have increased their fair trade offerings each year. In the spring of 2011 they converted all of their remaining tea offerings to Fair Trade Certified for a total of 19 varieties. Since 2003, they've contributed over $350,000 in fair trade premiums, reinvesting in communities where their tea is sourced.
The Fair Trade Certification ensures that workers on tea gardens receive a fair share of profits and that the tea gardens comply with specific workplace criteria set by Fair Trade USA to ensure equality and fairness. A joint body of workers decides how to reinvest profits from the tea to support community development projects.
Over the past few years, Honest Tea has built a strong relationship with the Makaibari estate in India, which provides much of their Fair Trade Certified tea. During this time, the fair trade premiums that they pay have supported many important initiatives, which are prioritized by workers at the tea garden. One such effort was proposed by Ms. Pratima Tamang, the grand-daughter of Makaibari's retired factory supervisor. Pratima had completed a computer course at NIIT, a well-known computer school in Calcutta, and recognized the value of computer literacy. She proposed to the Fair Trade Joint Body that Makaibair establish a computer center for the use of tea garden workers and their children. A short time later, the Makaibari Computer Center opened with two computers and a printer, and is available to anyone in the Makaibari village. Already over 200 children have enrolled in the computer school, where they are learning critical skills that would otherwise be beyond their reach due to the high cost. The computers, complete with Internet connections, have opened a whole new world of technology and information to the children - a world they are eager to explore and learn from. Honest Tea is proud to support the practices of Fair Trade and the changes it creates in the world.
Honest Tea seeks to create and promote great-tasting, truly healthy, organic beverages. They strive to grow their business with the same honesty and integrity they use to craft their products, with sustainability and great taste for all.
Aspirations for Corporate Social Responsibilty (CSR)
They will never claim to be a perfect company, but they will address difficult issues and strive to be honest about their ability or inability to resolve them. They will strive to work with their suppliers to promote higher standards. They value diversity in the workplace and intend to become a visible presence in the communities where their products are sold. When presented with a purchasing decision between two financially comparable alternatives, they will attempt to choose the option that better addresses the needs of economically disadvantaged communities.
A commitment to social responsibility is central to Honest Tea's identity and purpose. The company strives for authenticity, integrity and purity, in their products and in the way they do business. In addition to creating a healthy alternative beverage with a lot less sugar than most bottled drinks, Honest Tea seeks to create honest relationships with their employees, suppliers, customers and with the communities in which they do business.
Independent laboratory analysis has consistently proven that Honest Tea has antioxidant levels that are as high, or higher than brewed tea leaves. That's because unlike many bottled tea companies, Honest Tea uses real tea leaves when they make their tea. They've had their beverages independently tested at a number of laboratories, including Rutgers and all of their green teas have between 150-250 mg of Epigallocatechin Gallate, also known as EGCG, a key antioxidant found in green and white tea. Their beverages are either unsweetened or use much smaller amounts of sugar, honey, or agave syrup than most other bottled products. In fact, Honest Tea was created because there was a need for a less sweet, real tea beverage.
Their goal is to create a product in which the true taste of the leaves comes through. They don't pulverize, process, or concentrate their tea leaves. Instead they brew the whole leaf, a way that Shen Nung would still recognize. From their unsweetened Just Green and Just Black Teas (no calories, no sugar), to their "just a tad sweet" drinks (100 calories or less), Honest Tea makes it easier for people to enjoy lower calorie refreshment.
They strive to live up to their name in the way they conduct their business. They do this whether they are working with growers and suppliers, answering consumer questions or trying to leave a lighter environmental footprint. In addition to being ranked by The Huffington Post as one of the leading "8 Revolutionary Socially Responsible Companies" in 2010, Honest Tea is a multi-year winner of awards from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence. The third-annual Keeping it Honest Mission Report was released in 2012, documenting the ways they strive to live up to their mission and the efforts they undertake to keep sustainability a focus in their business.
At Honest Tea, they believe in creating partnerships with like-minded organizations to support causes close to Honest Tea's mission. Here are a few examples:
In 2003, they launched the first Fair Trade Certified bottled tea, and increased their fair trade offerings each year. In 2011, they converted all of their remaining teas to Fair Trade Certified, helping to ensure that workers on tea gardens receive a fair share of profits, and that the tea gardens comply with specific workplace criteria for equality and fairness. Since 2003, they have contributed over $350,000 in fair trade premiums, reinvesting in communities where their tea is sourced.
Honest Tea has been a long-time supporter of cancer research through both financial donations as well as in-kind product donations. In 2012 they reviewed their policies and decided to split their donation between Susan G. Komen For the Cure™ as well as the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Honest Tea created a partnership with Green America (formally known as Coop America) when they launched the business in 1998. They support Green America's mission to harness economic power to create an environmentally and socially sustainable society. Since 2005, Honest Tea has provided financial and in-kind donations to their annual Green Festivals across the U.S.
Net Impact harnesses the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. Since Honest Tea was founded in 1998, each year they have hired at least one summer intern from Net Impact to join their team and continue exploring how business and sustainably can work together.
When they launched Honest Kids in 2007, they were faced with a packaging dilemma - widely recyclable aseptic drink pouches did not exist and still do not. They partnered with TerraCycle to launch the Honest Kids Drink Pouch Brigade as a way to divert drink pouches from landfills. Since then, the program has expanded to include pouches, containers, and packaging from other companies as well. For each pouch collected, TerraCycle donates up to $0.03 per pouch to a school or organization, and since 2007 has collected more than 155 million used drink pouches.
The Arbor Day Foundation and Honest Tea have had an on-going partnership. In 2011, they launched a special tree-planting program for the Honest Kids line and changed the Honest Kids packaging design to promote this "eco-mission." A message on the back of the carton directed consumers (age 13 and up with the help of their parents) to a website where, after taking a quiz, they could virtually "plant" their tree. 50,000 trees were planted in the US by the end of the promotion, which was five times the number of trees they planted in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation in 2010.
When Seth and Barry started Honest Tea in 1998, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) had already been around for almost 15 years. Their relationship with OTA kicked off in 1999 when they created First Nation Peppermint, the world's first organic bottled tea. The OTA is the voice of the organic business community in the U.S. and Canada, working to protect the consumer, farmers and the environment. Most of the members are small businesses - just like Honest Tea was fifteen years ago.
City Year is a nonprofit wholly focused on fighting the national dropout crisis. By leveraging the talent, energy and idealism of its corps members to serve as tutors, mentors and role models in schools, they aim to help students stay on track-and get back on track-to graduate. One of Honest Tea's earliest varieties, Community Green, bears the City Year logo as a way to show support for one of their longstanding partners