Would you drink a coffee made without coffee beans? What about an orange juice without real oranges in it? Probably not. Yet nearly 2 billion cola-branded drinks are consumed globally every day without the name ingredient: the cola nut.
The people of West Africa, where the cola nut comes from, have never earned a penny from cola. This injustice didn't sit right with the founders of Karma Cola so they set out to create a drink everybody could enjoy, from the consumers all the way back to the farmers producing the ingredients: 'good for the land, good for the growers and as good for you as a fizzy drink can be'. Just a short while later, Karma Cola was born.
When Simon Coley, Chris and Matt Morrison - the founders of Karma Cola - had a crazy idea to produce a challenger product to one of the biggest brands in history, they had no idea it would lead them down a rabbit hole of possibilities. They set out to generate interest in their soft drink not by being the biggest brand in an already flooded market, but the fairest. Focussing on transparent business practices and an ethical supply chain, Karma Cola is totally open about what goes into its original cola, its new Sugar Free cola, its Gingerella ginger ale and Lemony lemonade - sourcing the highest quality organic and Fairtrade ingredients to achieve amazing flavours.
Karma Cola's secret ingredient isn't very secret at all - the cola nut is not only the hero of the drink, it's also a hugely important symbol to the people of West Africa. It's used in marriage ceremonies, to ease hunger and plays a significant spiritual role.
Cola literally grows on trees, yet few people in the western world know it exists.
Tasting good and looking good is one thing, but at Karma Cola they believe a drink tastes best when it does good too. Karma is the circle drawn around the producers of our organic and Fairtrade ingredients, and the people who buy their drinks. They believe doing good is good for business so Karma Cola also established the Karma Cola Foundation, to support trade, not aid, in the communities they work with.
Proceeds from the sale every bottle go directly back to the people in the Tiwai region of Sierra Leone. The goal is to give cola farmers and their families independence through trade and supporting projects to develop infrastructure and education.
So far they've helped over 200 young girls attend school, connected the old and new villages of Boma by building a bridge, constructed a rice mill store and drying floor, funded four teachers, helped small businesses...and the list is growing.
The Foundation respects all resources, environmental and human, and always acts in a fair way. Its guiding principle is to foster economic independence rather than dependence, and get the villages in Tiwai standing on their own two (thousand) feet.
The more Karma that is sold, the more good can be done, so their aim is to sell as many soft drinks as possible. Karma Cola want to share the importance of an ethical supply chain and align their brand with other brands that share the belief in fairly traded products.
Watch this video about Karma Cola's recent trip to Sierra Leone