Ethical Soft Drink Brand Takes Out Top Sustainable Business Award

Karma Cola founders Matt Morrison, Simon Coley and Chris Morrison.

For the last 20 years, The Sustainable Business Awards have recognised and celebrated success in sustainability. This year’s winners span sectors from food and beverage to transport, construction, biotechnology, and retirement.

Ethical soft drink company, Karma Drinks took out the supreme ‘Transforming New Zealand Award’, as well as the ‘Social Impactor Award’.

Karma Drinks has sold more than 43 million drinks since 2012, with 1 percent of revenue from every drink going to cola nut growers and communities in Sierra Leone to help drive economic and social independence. That money has funded bridges and teachers, sent 135 girls to school, supported farmers to revive forest farms, and provided seed funding for 33 local entrepreneurs. Those repaid loans have been distributed to a further 26 new entrepreneurs.

The award judges said Karma Drinks created real social value for communities and environmental value, while also creating a commercial product. The company was acknowledged for 'delivering trade, not aid'.

McCain Foods NZ's Timaru Plant won Climate Action Leader award. Sponsored by Waka Kotahi / New Zealand Transport Agency, this award is presented to an organisation actively leading and delivering impact and scale with climate action.

The Food for Good Award went to Hōhepa Hawke's Bay, a charitable trust providing residential care, education, vocational opportunities and day programmes for people with significant intellectual and developmental challenges. Its biodynamic farm provides employment, education, high quality food for consumption and the opportunity to be involved in food production.

The Sustainable Food Co. - a certified social enterprise and Aotearoa New Zealand’s first zero-waste event catering company with a 100 percent plant-based menu and a mission to help transform the food system and inspire New Zealanders to eat more sustainably - won a commendation in the same category.