Honest Tea – A Refreshing Report

I just enjoyed reading Honest Tea’s second annual mission report. How often can one say they enjoyed reading a sustainability report !     It was published in October 2010 covering 2009. Their first report was over ten years ago at their founding. 

I enjoyed it because it was short and to the point, entertaining and informal, related to products and concepts I understand and it was forthcoming about dilemmas and challenges. It also had the stamp of a named and accountable person throughout – Seth Goldman

But as I am reading it I am all the more challenged by all the barriers that face a large multinational trying to produce its sustainability report. In his report, Seth talks about the challenges of growing from 3 to 130 employees.  But BT is 100,000 and companies like IBM and GE have two or three times as many employees again.

At BT we have multiple shareholders, lines of business, geographies, cultures, products……..The Honest Tea report is really about one or two product lines.

For large companies it is all too easy to fall back on facts and figures and ranking programs, long and dense reports, and in so doing, we can lose sight of the big issues.

We will all do well to keep our eye on Honest Tea’s report. We may not be able to achieve the same thing, but this and others like it, should set our direction – personable, accountable, material  and frank about the challenges and dilemmas faced.


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