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Honest Releases Sixth Annual Mission Report and Interactive Map that Highlights Sources of 40 Ingredients

New “Real Talk” Section Highlights Unfinished Work and Challenges

(Bethesda, MD)—September 29, 2015— 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.