Ethics beyond the limits - The All Good Organics Story
Not often do you come across a company where the underlying business practice is to simply be good. Most people can overlook the term, placing the adjective or noun on companies who don’t encompass what it truly means. Throughout the entire company that is.
The lack of transparency in supply chains is what fuels ignorance in society. People don't try to question if their product’s journey to their shopping bag was by any means ethical. How can you blame them when a) they are not aware of the production methods, and b) everyone is just trying to be economical in day to day purchase decisions.
Unfortunately for farmers and growers in contemporary society, the proliferation of inadequate compensation and lack of transparency means that the average consumer must be hyper-vigilant in seeking to understand supply chains. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to it all, but what we don't understand is the flow on effects of our purchase decisions. Some might say we are being complicit and only help to fuel the unjustness by not thinking deeper.
All Good Organics didn't want to follow this absurd, conventional way of business. Seeing the harm in exploitation, the company was created on the notion of ethical business practice. Before All Good, there was no way for a New Zealand consumer to purchase a fair trade, organic banana. But the company didn't just stop with bananas, they moved on to tackling the inequalities in the fizzy drink industry.
The world drinks about 1.9 billion colas a day, over a million a minute. However, the people in Africa who discovered cola don’t make a cent from this. The world is filled with these inequalities in a myriad of supply chains, all so that the western world can enjoy a product for the lowest price possible. All Good thought that it was about time someone tried to do something about that. So they made Karma Cola.
“We believe that what you drink should not only taste good, it should be good for the land, good for the people who grow the ingredients and as good for you as a fizzy drink can be.”
A movement is growing in New Zealand and other parts of the world. The malaise of unjust supply chains is becoming more clear to the conscious consumer. As consumers, the way we spend our money determines which businesses thrive and ultimately shapes the world in which we live. All Good Organics is one company that people should be allowing to thrive. All Good Bananas, Karma Cola and the rest of the drinks range of fizz pop stars offer products of a fair trade and organic nature, and they use environmentally and ethically friendly business methods to benefit everyone across the globe.
After sitting Down with founder Chris Morrison and Angela Barnett, Chief of Propaganda and Dark Arts at Karma Cola, you begin to understand what it takes to be a truly ‘good’ company. Chris believes that it's about making people connect with the deeper story, the story where the product they consumed had no nasty chemicals, which is a benefit for the consumer’s health, but it also supported the farmer in Ecuador or Sierra Leone with a fair pay for their crops.
“We want to bring around a purpose for people, they often feel powerless so we offer them a solution to make a change. It can be empowering for people to purchase a product that is helping to lift others out of poverty. It’s a choice consumers didn’t have in the past. It’s a way we can all help to create a better world, just in our daily lives” Chris Morrison
Chris and Angela believe that we are lucky in New Zealand, we don’t have the same scale of hardship that people fight in other countries, so we have an obligation to help lift others out of poverty. It’s about creating a business that has a purpose, one that has goodness running through its veins so that all who come into contact gain something.
Key Takeaways for Success: Ethics, Transparency and the Deeper Story
Chris's advice for a company wanting to create more sustainable frameworks is to create a code of ethics for your company. Ask yourself - how do we operate? How do we want to treat people? For example, you might make the decision to pay your staff the living wage and not the minimum wage. Not only will this help to create a great company culture, it will also create ethical values from the inside of the company, which will then flow on throughout other business practices.
In creating transparency, Chris believes being ethical is where you start. It's not about just giving a donation to charity to give you a nice clear conscious for the rest of the week, this is where corporate social responsibility fails. It's about a framework that flows throughout the entire company.
Creating a deeper story helps to bring about transparency and communicates the purpose of the company with consumers. The Karma Cola Foundation was created through the company's direct trade with the people of the Taiwai region in Sierra Leone. They know what's best for their own culture and decide what projects they want funded. The people of Boma decided they wanted to use the funding to build the Makenneh Bridge, fund 45 children through school, install a primary school teacher, build a rice processing centre to ensure security of food, support an educational HIV/AIDS theatre group and rehabilitate 25 acres of forest farm. This is the deeper story and Karma Cola’s aim is to sell as many fizzy drinks as possible, where the more they sell the more good they can do.
It is at no debate that All Good should be regarded as thought leaders in their industry and their business methods followed. They were named the best fair trader and most ethical company is the world after all! They did more good than 27,000 products from 120 countries that carry the Fairtrade mark. This company is doing business the right way. From start to finish, bottom to top, New Zealand to Sierra Leone, All Goods holds ethics at its heart.
So try to remember next time…
“When you’re thirsting for a good cold drink, don’t be tempted…. Drink no evil”