First, it was Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, then Green & Black’s chocolates. Now, Honest Tea’s joined the ranks of big companies that have made a full commitment to fair trade. By the end of March 2011, all of the organic drink company’s teas will be fair trade certified!
Of course, Honest Tea’s no newbie when it comes to fair trade. The company in fact debuted the first fair trade certified bottled tea to the U.S. back in 2003. Since then, Honest Tea’s grown its fair trade certified selection to 19 varieties of teas. This new announcement, however, will mean that the remaining 9 teas will also get certification, making all 28 Honest Tea flavors fair trade certified by the end of the first quarter of 2011.
Honest Tea’s honesty isn’t without controversy. Some environmentalists were disappointed when Coca-Cola took a 40% minority investment in Honest Tea — though the deal did make organic, fair trade drinks much more accessible, as Honest Tea bottles made their way into everywhere from supermarkets to gas stations quick marts. Many remain worried that Coca-Cola’s stake could erode Honest Tea’s eco-ethical standards — a worry made more real when a kerfluffle between Honest Tea and Coca-Cola over the tagline “no high-fructose corn syrup” was made public by the NY Times last June.
Thus far, however, Honest Tea seems to be keeping it honest. Earlier this year the company debuted thinner, lighter, and greener bottles for its teas, for example. With this week’s announcement of Honest Tea’s deeper commitment to fair trade, the company’s also announced its first annual mission report, “Keeping It Honest,” that lays out Honest Tea’s social and environmental initiatives.