Our Fair Trade Journey and Beyond
Hi Steazers, my name is Steven Kessler, Co-Founder of Steaz. I'd like to welcome you to our blog where I will be sharing Steaz news and other interesting stories. Speaking of exciting news and with October being just days away, for me this is an eventful month for many reasons; my father’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday, the birth of Steaz and finally, it is officially Fair Trade Month. Like the Fair Trade movement itself, Fair Trade Month is a celebration of the partnership between the producers of Fair Trade ingredients, the companies that sell the finished products, and everyone who buys Fair Trade. Welcome to Fair Trade Month.
As my parents raised me, they taught me to “DO the right thing”. This parental direction has always helped build my moral compass and permeates all facets of my personal and professional life. When we decided to create Steaz as a means to discovering what’s “Good for the Mind, Body and Soul”, ingredient and taste integrity anchored our creative drive. We also had an internal mandate that all ingredients must be purely natural and whenever possible, certified organic. Through this process we created the world’s first certified organic line of sparkling green teas. Though the response was overwhelmingly positive, we still felt the Steaz brand wasn’t quite “right” yet. “Why” you ask? If a product is to be “Good for the Mind, Body and Soul” its personality must live far above the beverage itself. We wanted Steaz to have a purpose, a fundamental reason for its existence well beyond the fact that it tastes great and is made with the best quality ingredients possible. That is when we learned about Fair Trade USA.
The Fair Trade USA certification process educated us about finding the best quality organic and fair trade teas around the world and what Fair Trade means for our planet and people. In simple terms, our organic teas are procured from prized tea estates that pay their farmers FAIR wages and provide these workers with FAIR working conditions in TRADE for the highest quality teas in the world. This was something we could get behind! It was then we became centered on “doing the right thing”.
Steaz is built around three core business values; People, Planet and Profits. People: we take great pride knowing we are helping farmers live a better life. Planet: we are mindful of protecting the earth with carbon offset and reduction programs. Profits: not the profits we make but the fact that we are happy to pay more for our tea knowing some of our profits go directly into the pockets of the farmers who grow our organic teas.
Our socially responsible mindset also stretches beyond Fair Trade where we have participated in hundreds of local and national fund raising events to support causes from cancer research to children at risk. Along the way we have also developed a strong relationship with Whole Foods Market who not only supports us in their stores but also in helping guide us in the world of social responsibility. With that said, we are very excited to announce beginning next month (October 2011) we will begin a partnership with Whole Foods Market and their Whole Planet Foundation. Steaz will donate a percentage of every Steaz beverage purchased in the 300+ Whole Foods Market locations to Whole Planet Foundation. This generous partnership will run for "365 days a year" and we have estimated our donation will total $15,000 from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. When thinking about it further, this is truly a universal partnership with Steaz, Whole Foods Market, Whole Planet Foundation and you, our loyal Steazer fans.
In 2005, natural and organic retailer, Whole Foods Market, established Whole Planet Foundation as an expansion of its mission to be anactive participant in the global community. The nonprofit provides grants to microfinance institutions in poor communities where the grocer sources products. To date, the Foundation has authorized more than $22.5 million and funded more than $13 million in microfinance programs in 42 countries, positively impacting more than 965,000 people worldwide. An average loan size in the developing world is $224, and on average, each microcreditloan gives 5.9 people the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.
I can’t stress enough how excited we are to begin this partnership with our friends at Whole Planet Foundation. We are equally as happy to share this news with you today because without you, our loyal Steazers, this partnership would not exist. We value "providing a better way" well into the future and sincerely thank you for supporting us and all that we do globally.
To donate directly to Whole Planet Foundation, learn more about the nonprofit, or for stories from microcredit loan recipients, visit: www.wholeplanetfoundation.org or read the Whole Story blog at: http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.c
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