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 Co-Founder and TeaEO of Honest Tea, the company he co-founded in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. Today, Honest Tea is the nation’s top selling organic bottled tea, and is carried in more than 100,000 outlets. Under Seth’s leadership, Honest Tea has developed innovative partnerships with its organic and Fair Trade Certified™ suppliers. Seth graduated from Harvard College (1987) and the Yale School of Management (1995), and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Seth and Barry are the authors of the New York Times bestseller Mission in a Bottle, a business book told in comic book form, which was published in September 2013.