Honest Tea’s Mission To Sell Less-Sugary Beverages Includes Philanthropy

Corporate Goals Tied Directly to Sweet Tzedakah

Reduce, Reuse: Honest Tea ‘TeaEO’ Seth Goldman (third from right) celebrates the company’s recycling campaign in Manhattan’s Times Square.
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Reduce, Reuse: Honest Tea ‘TeaEO’ Seth Goldman (third from right) celebrates the company’s recycling campaign in Manhattan’s Times Square.

By Curt Schleier

Published November 04, 2013.
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To get sufficient pouches, Goldman initially set up 100 locations around the country where school groups could bring empty juice containers and agreed to give the schools a 2 cent reward for each pouch.

By the end of 2012, there were 67,000 collection locations and over 140 million pouches that avoided the refuse heap.

And when Kraft Foods wanted in on the upcycling for its brand of pouch drinks, Goldman happily gave his okay — and gave up a marketing advantage.

Goldman believes the company’s philosophy is at least in part due to his Jewish background. “I believe it informs the way we behave as a business. It’s about the idea that we have a commitment to social justice.”

The company has been bought by Coca-Cola, a deal that started in 2008 (when the megacorporation purchased 40% of Honest Tea) and was completed two years ago. The corporate marriage has been a success, “as evident by my continued presence,” says Goldman, who operates the business separately even though it’s owned by Coca-Cola. He maintains his old title — TeaEO — and says, “I’m still enjoying it.”

Curt Schleier is a frequent contributor to the Forward.


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