Welcome to We Heart, a monthly blog column where we feature companies and products we love, focusing on sustainable, ethical, and wellness-oriented companies. First up on our list of companies worth raving about is Hawaiian Ola.
Hawaiian Ola made a comparison that I plan on repeating over and over again for as long as I live. They described being a Certified B company (which we’ll talk more about in a second) as being akin to playing a video game on “difficult” mode.
This comparison is great for so many reasons. First, it shows the challenge, but not the impossibility, of doing business ethically. Second, given that playing video games is generally considered a fun activity, Hawaiian Ola implies that having respect for their stakeholders and the planet is something they enjoy doing.
Okay, rewind. What is Hawaiian Ola doing?
Hawaiian Ola is a company making delicious drinks from a fruit called “noni” and simultaneously working to promote organic farming in Hawaii.
Explorers from French Polynesia brought noni to Hawaii because of its medicinal properties: the leaves can be turned into a paste and applied to wounds to promote healing, and the seeds contain linoleic acid, and are great for the skin! Relative to coffee, this tree can now be found growing wildly on the islands. The fruit has also gained popularity due to a number of reported health benefits.
What’s Healthy About Noni?
Noni has been found to contain many beneficial compounds. Here are a few:
- Noni-PPT: an immune booster
- Potassium: a mineral that restores hydration and balance
- Asperuloside: an anti-inflammatory compound
- Damnacanthal: an anthraquinone with cleansing properties
If you like the boost you get from caffeine, but not the ingredients present in typical energy drinks or the dehydration that results from drinking coffee, you might be interested in this juicy drink.
Hawaiian Ola starts with noni juice, then adds juice from the following fruits: mango, pear, apple, lilikoi, goji, acai, and pineapple. And it’s all organic! They make their stance on conventional agriculture clear: they don’t want pesticides in their food (or juice). They top off this 2.5-ouncer with yerba mate and green tea, as well as their energy blend.
The small bottle is easy to throw in your bag before heading to work or the gym. It doesn’t have to be refrigerated, and it actually tastes delicious even at room temperature. You can drink the juice straight from the bottle, mix it with water, or add it to a smoothie. The green tea and yerba mate bring caffeine into the equation, and hefty amounts of B12 and B6 add to the energizing effects. If you regularly drink coffee, you can definitely get “the buzz” from this.
For those who want the health benefits of noni without the jolt of caffeine, “Noni Immunity” may be the better choice. It contains the same fruit juices as Noni Energy, with added date puree that makes it a little sweeter than its energetic other. It also contains a healthy dose of B vitamins, so though it doesn’t have the jolt of caffeine, you can expect a mellow pick me up.
The Hawaiian Ola Story
This is truly a company on a mission. Did you know that the number-one crop grown on Hawaii today is GMO corn seed? That’s because it’s the most lucrative option for many farmers on the islands. Brett, founder of Hawaiian Ola, believes that if Hawaiian farmers had a market for organic crops, they would choose to grow them, instead.
So not only does Hawaiian Ola choose purely organic and GMO-free ingredients for the sake of human health and well-being, but by doing so, they aim to support an organic farming movement in Hawaii. Through their purchase of organically grown noni and their promotion of the fruit’s benefits, they hope to increase the demand for organic, Hawaiian crops.
“B Lab” is a nonprofit company that is working to create a higher standard of business through certifying companies as “B Corporations.” Over 1,000 businesses have earned this certification, including Patagonia, Etsy, and yes, Hawaiian Ola.
The goal of this movement is to redefine how we measure a business’ success, taking into account the positive impact a company makes on those it does business with, as well as its customers and clients.
B Lab considers a wide range of criteria before certifying companies: transparency, job creation, and environmental impact being a few. They recognize the cost of doing business extends beyond paying employees, purchasing materials, and renting a space. The use of land and resources are costs that, when a company doesn’t own up to them, are passed onto its neighbors. For example, run off from a farm that uses synthetic fertilizers can pollute nearby water supplies.
By becoming a Certified B company just as they are getting started, Hawaiian Ola is making it clear that their mission goes far deeper than just making money.
The world spends a collective one-billion dollars a year on energy drinks. Less than one percent of these drinks use organic, GMO-free ingredients. It’s clear that we need better alternatives.
Hawaiian Ola’s blog is a very thoughtful, informative addition to their website and definitely something worth checking out (we like companies who blog :-)). In a recent post, they described some of the benefits of caffeine. Better conversations? Easier hangovers? Caffeine provides them.
For those of us who enjoy the effects of caffeine but also want ethically sourced, organic ingredients, it’s exciting to have this alternative to conventional energy drinks (even if you opt for caffeine-free Noni immunity).
Keep in Touch
Hawaiian Ola’s website and blog have great information on health and the power of noni!
If you liked reading about this trailblazing company and want to learn about more of them, follow our “We Heart” column. 🙂