Karma Cola

The socially conscious fizzy drink

We all know soft drinks aren't good for us, there’s no secret about that. Some soft drink companies even severely harm the environment and local communities. But we all still drink it anyway. This is where Karma Cola has stepped in.

Jono Wilton, a former employee of soft drink giant Coca Cola who now works for Karma Cola believes that customers should search beyond the supermarket shelf. He says that Karma Cola is not endorsing a bottle of fizzy with every meal, but if you are going to buy it anyway, you may as well "actually go out and make a difference."

Karma Cola's greatest difference is that their cola actually comes from the natural cola nut – unlike the synthetic syrup created by soft drink companies. Hand picked by farmers in Sierra Leone, there’s no preservatives, chemicals, fake syrups or ingredients you won’t be able to pronounce.

They also use fully organic, fully natural, fully Fairtrade cane sugar from Maharashtra, India. Bleaching sugar creates chemicals that can be harmful to the people and environment where the sugar comes from so Karma Cola use sugar as it was when it was harvested.

But they don't just stop at what goes into the bottle. They also take great care of all the people who make every bottle possible.

The company donates 6 cents from every bottle sold to their Karma Cola foundation that supports the farmers in Sierra Leone who make the cola happen.

"It's about giving back to the people and helping the people who grow the ingredients," Jono says

But just like everything else at Karma Cola, the way they support their farmers is also different. The foundation is based off the premise that people of Sierra Leone know what’s best for them.

Who are we to go in there and tell them what they need best? We don’t know, we’re not there. They know how to make their lives better,” said Wilton.

And they certainly do. The first project they decided upon was the building of the Makenneh bridge to join old and new Boma, the main cola nut village in Sierra Leone. While not typically a project the foundation would have looked to have funded first, the people of Boma knew how important it would be so that people and supplies could be transported safely.

Since then, they have also decided to send 45 children a year to school, most of which are girls. For a country where education is a privilege and not a right, this is a significant contribution to the life of many young people.

Even in the outbreak of Ebola, The Karma Cola foundation was the first to put their hand up to help and protect their farmers.

The above article by Anne Johnston first published on impactsocialenterprise.com.