BETHESDA, Md. – For the fourth year, organic bottled tea company HONEST Tea® has released a mission report, a document designed to share details of its business practices with customers. In this year’s publication the company acknowledged the “gray area” in which it is always operating — balancing sustainability with product quality and safety.
The report explores changes they have made in sourcing, supply lines, and ingredient purchases. For example, as they began replacing cane sugar with fruit juice to sweeten Honest Kids juice drinks, it required increasing purchases of grape juice by 270%. This called for new suppliers and sources. Overall in 2012, the company increased its organic ingredient purchases by 500,000 pounds. This is a six fold increase since 2007.
There were a number of points specific to teas that are worth noting:
- Honest Tea continued to source Fair Trade Certified (TM) ingredients, paying an annual premium of nearly 7% last year. This premium allowed Maud Tea Estate in Chamong, India to establish a microloan program for farmers to purchase cows and for the Organic Tea Farmer Association in Dazhanghsan, China to replace the bamboo raft they used to transport tea with a metal boat.
- The company has announced that it will change its way of talking about antioxidants on its bottles. Beginning in 2013, total flavonoid content will be reported as opposed to specific catechins like EGCG.
- The spent tea leaves from the production of Honest Tea are being provided to farms near three of their production facilities for use in composting.
- Honest Tea released a Freshly Brewed iced tea line providing tea in a brewable pouch for the restaurant and food service industry. The goal was to reduce the use of single-serve bottles.
- More of their teas will now be available in large, multi-serve bottles. The transition could save the equivalent of 700,000 16.9 fl. oz. PET bottles-worth of plastic.
The full report is available through HONEST Tea’s website on the Sustainability page. (www.honesttea.com)
Source: HONEST Tea®