Here's another exchange with Julie, the disappointed Honest Tea customer who is critical of the deal we made with Coke.
Coca-Cola's extensive business network and far-reaching marketing capabilities have been built upon a foundation of worker and farmer exploitation and environmental degradation, particularly in developing countries. The idea that a partnership with Coca-Cola will help Honest Tea to expand its so-called health, environmental, and social mission seems naively optimistic, if not grossly misguided. For a company that was founded on a vision of long-term sustainability, I find your new business affiliation with Coca-Cola to be surprisingly short-sighted.
I believe that every time we sell a bottle of Honest Tea we are doing a positive thing for the people picking /processing the leaves, the ecosystem, and the consumer. If you accept this first assumption, as I do, then I believe it is my responsibility to make Honest Tea as powerful as I can. The more we sell -- provided it is the same product we have been selling for the past ten years -- the more good we do. And the more we convince the larger beverage companies that there is a market for a product like ours.
SETH GOLDMAN | Columnist | Co-founder of Honest Tea
Seth Goldman is the President and TeaEO of Honest Tea, the company he co-founded in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. He's preparing the September release of a graphic novel titled Mission in a Bottle.