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Behind Converting to Fair Trade Certified Sugar

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In this month’s newsletter we announced that we are converting the sugar in our bottled PET line to Fair Trade Certified.  With this step, we will complete the process of switching all of the sugar across our product lines to Fair Trade sourcing.

When we launched Honest Lemonade line in 2013, we started working with a Fair Trade sugar cooperative based in Paraguay.  I visited the community and learned how Fair Trade has helped them provide modern farm equipment for their operations, access to technology in  schools and a safety net  for their elders through housing and health care.  The cooperative also allocates Fair Trade funds to invest in their infrastructure, such as modern farm equipment, and ambulances to help the field workers in case of emergencies.

Once we learned more about Fair Trade sugar, we knew we wanted to deepen our commitment.  So over the next two years, we converted the sugar in our glass bottled line and our brewed tea line for restaurants to Fair Trade certification.

Of course, the challenge is that shifting toward Fair Trade ingredients makes our cost of goods more expensive.  And given our ambition to democratize organics, we always want to avoid raising prices to our customers.  So how were we able to afford to buy more expensive ingredients without raising prices?  In 2015 we made a change in the design of our PET (plastic) bottle that enabled us to save almost 2 cents per bottle, which allowed us to cover the incremental cost of switching to Fair Trade without requiring a price increase.
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Now, with the conversion of our teas sold in plastic bottles to Fair Trade sugar, we’re proud to say that all of our organic tea leaves and sugar will be Fair Trade Certified™. The labels for these teas will be updated, and you should see the change roll out in the coming weeks.

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