Harmless Harvest Tracks Every Ounce of Impact in America’s First, Fair Trade Coconut Water Celebrating Fair Trade Month
(3BL Media and Just Means) – October: It’s the month which gives us an excuse to drink an excessive number of pumpkin lattes, indulge in political debate with family and trek up to Vermont for leaf peeping. Even more, it gives us the opportunity to stand side by side with small farmers around the world. Every year, I have the joy of hearing from dozens of companies who use October as a reason to support fair wages through consumer purchases. Fair trade Month is here, and in its honor, Giannella Alvarez, the CEO of Harmless Harvest, America’s first fair trade, Fair for Life certified coconut water, shared with me her excitement for the future.
The product line from Harmless Harvest is impressive: Coffee Coconut Water; 100% Raw Coconut Water in two flavors, Clove & Cinnamon and Dark Cocoa. Not only are the Thailand-sourced coconuts fair trade, but Harmless Harvest also knows the supplier of every ingredient of every bottle. This is what makes them different. Harmless Harvest hasn’t jumped on the green, health conscious, fair trade movement with a single ingredient or product. From what I can tell, they are a company who would be operating closely with farmers, tracking supply chains down to the last drop, regardless of marketing and brand engagement opportunities. It’s this sentiment from Alvarez, which makes the beverages worth showcasing during Fair Trade Month:
“We recognize that some of our decisions may not be the fastest, cheapest or easiest, because we believe in our higher purpose as a company. We recognize that every decision, no matter how big or small, will have a lasting impact on our supply chains and the communities where we do business.”
Every decision counts. Harmless Harvest calls their approach an “ecosystem-based business model.” Founded on the principles of Constructive Capitalism and Fair for Life, Harmless Harvest tracks each product from the root to the store shelves. Because their Fair for Life certification requires that every transaction to be fair trade, they have a constant eye on the impact of their ingredients. This is what makes certifications like fair trade and B Corp worth the investment and effort. There’s no guessing or plotting supply chain maps through spreadsheets.
“Transparency is not a business tactic, but it’s a way of being for us. Our hope is that every one of our stakeholders knows the impact that they have on our product. It’s about being authentic, true and honest about the decisions that we make and why,” explains Alvarez.
They see true impact as measured over time and for the benefit of all stakeholders. It’s an approach I love: a stakeholder of Harmless Harvest is defined as anyone who touches and will be impacted by the brand, including farmer partners in Thailand, consumers, employees, investors, distributors, even the plants.
“As rooted as we are in the present, we also have to look ahead to consider future generations, because they are also stakeholders. We feel that we have a responsibility to create a product that is not only sustainable for the success of the business but also for the planet. We want to ensure that we are doing our part to provide for future generations,” says Alvarez.
“Doing their part” includes using real spices as opposed to chemical stabilizers; certifying thousands of acres of agroforestry organic under USDA specifications; providing medical assistance to over 900 plus members of the Thai communities; creating an education fund which provides school uniforms to 193 children; continually innovating to reduce packaging. Most importantly, they aren’t afraid to share their journey; the blazing triumphs and the knockdown failures.
“As excited as I am about the quality of our products, I’m most proud about “how” we are running our business. We’re working tirelessly to prove that there is a better business model, where every stakeholder and their communities are impacted in a positive way and treated harmlessly,” says Alvarez.
(Image: Harmless Harvest)