Quick Studies

How Honest Tea’s Annual Report Keeps It On Mission

Maintaining commitment to your company’s mission is a constant challenge, especially if you are part of a larger organization. To make sure you’re living up to your mission, audit your team at least once a year to review where you’ve succeeded, and how you can do better moving forward.

When beverage company Honest Tea was acquired by the Coca-Cola Company in 2008, its original stakeholders were concerned that they would struggle to maintain their mission and product integrity. So in 2009 they hired a Director of Mission, and since then they’ve produced a yearly report outlining their wins, pain points, and hopes for the future. It keeps them accountable to their mission and company values by addressing:

  • The company’s purpose. CEO Seth Goldman begins the annual report with a welcome letter, reminding readers of the purpose of the mission report. In the “Mission Control” section, the Director of Mission reiterates the company’s mission and shares an update about their latest projects and learnings.
  • “Real talk.” In every section of the report, there is a “real talk” box which includes a candid breakdown of the topic discussed, highlighting specifically where they came up short. It’s Goldman’s favorite new addition to the report because it’s an opportunity for the company to do better.
  • Metrics and meaning. Sales, trades, and purchases are overviewed. To put a face to the numbers, they spotlight their suppliers in an effort to show they are maintaining integrity as they grow.
  • Product integrity. They also discuss new products, new vendors, packaging, recipe updates and a farewell to anything they’ve discontinued. Each section mentions how the changes have moved them more in-line with their mission (like sourcing more organic ingredients). In their real talk section, they discuss the downside of some changes—like the negative responses they received from customers when they changed a popular drink recipe—and reflect on how they could handle things better moving forward.
  • How they connect with the outside world. In the “connect” section, Honest Tea summarizes their philanthropy work, shares a consumer engagement report highlighting environmental impacts, and shows social media and customer service metrics.
  • How they are sticking with their mission internally. Team member volunteer events are reported, as well as employee feedback Q&A’s and company accolades. Finally, they compare how purchase rates of organic and fair trade ingredients have increased since being acquired by Coca-Cola, showing that the corporate takeover has been largely beneficial to their mission.


Published June 14, 2016