Harmless Harvest® Original Coconut Water

overall rating:

2.5

planets

Angelina Godinez
8/14/2021
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Harmless Harvest®is a brand to keep an eye out for! They have worked hard to provide quality, ethically-made coconut water and a variety of coconut-based products. In addition to being hydrating and a good source of potassium and natural electrolytes, Harmless Harvest’s Original Coconut Water is Ceritified Organic and Fair for Life — a drink good for the consumer and the planet! I’d urge Harmless Harvest to deliver more information with data on their impact and evidence of the outcomes of their sustainable initiatives. Through impact measurement Harmless Harvest can transparently share their current state and progress. Also, it’s important for Harmless Harvest to confirm that the communities they operate within are given decision-making agency over the projects implemented. These factors work together to form holistic sustainability, and while Harmless Harvest has already made impressive strides in both environmentally and socially responsible efforts, its holistic sustainability & transparency can still be strengthened. I have already located where I can buy Harmless Harvest Original Coconut Water near me, and am excited to try their other coconut products. For the fellow coconut water drinkers out there, or those curious to give the drink a try, I'd recommend a trip to their website to join me in using Harmless Harvest as a coconut water supplier.

What it's made of:

2.7

After a global search for the best coconut water, Harmless Harvest selected the Nam Hom coconut in Thailand from the Samut Sakhon region. Each Nam Hom farm Harmless Harvest works with is organic certified, verifying that their coconuts are grown without “persistent pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or sewage sludge.” Moreover, it ensures their coconuts aren’t irradiated or produced with GMOs, which is important because GMOs have been linked to negative environmental impact the loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Their coconut water has no extra ingredients, just 100% Organic Coconut Water that is 100% Fair Trade Certified. Their coconut water is actually so natural that it’s a different color than we are used to: pink! The interaction between the varying levels of antioxidants with the other elements like light can turn the coconut water pink, which Harmless Harvest does not use other ingredients to avoid and instead embraces the natural color. 

The bottles that contain the coconut water are plastic #1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate). PET is a widely used plastic and is often utilized for water and soda bottles. This plastic is intended for single use and repeated use can lead to bacterial growth and leaching of chemicals (carcinogens included); thus, this plastic should be recycled but not reused. Currently, though, only around 25% of PET bottles are recycled, either into new PET bottles or polyester fiber. While the recycled fiber is utilized for textiles like Patagonia products, I’d urge Harmless Harvest to look into more sustainable alternatives for packaging. Exploring biodegradable/compostable, reusable packaging options would be beneficial to Harmless Harvest’s sustainability.

How it's made:

2.4

Harmless Harvest recognized that real change and action is needed to build a future where the climate impact from coconut agricultural is net positive. Because of this awareness, in 2020 Harmless Harvest partnered with the Danone Ecosystem Fund and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Society for International Cooperation which often goes by GIZ) to pioneer the Regenertive Coconuts Agriculture Project (ReCAP). ReCAP works to serve as a model of how to develop and implement regenerative agriculture for coconuts in Thailand, with the intent of going beyond organic farming standards as a model where farmers can see the improved “personal and planetary outcomes [from] transitioning to regenerative agriculture practices.” This effort definitely has the potential to be a major force for good, and I’d urge Harmless Harvest to follow up with information and data on the project’s impact. 

Furthermore, Harmless Harvest’s coconut water is never thermally pasteurized and is instead micro-filtered which reduces energy consumption. The multi-step filtration process they developed delivers the desired taste and nutrients along with better quality and safety. They partner with organic farms that use “sustainable methods” but there is a lack of information on these methods so I’d recommend Harmless Harvest expand on these claims with some evidence. Considering the effort displayed in their actions to be holistically sustainable, I feel confident that their organic farm partnerships respect sustainable practices, but the facts are needed to confirm so. 

Harmless Harvest has gone through the certification process for the third-party certification Fair For Life which corroborates their commitment to social accountability and fair trade. They hold themselves to the standard of being “diligent in [their] practices and considering everyone -and everything- [they] affect.” I applaud Harmless Harvest for operating with this consideration that many companies lack. Some actions that reflect their commitment to the commmunites they farm and bottle their coconut water in include new school uniforms, water filtration systems, and mobile medical trucks for preventative agriculture. I’d note that it’s imperative that the communities themselves have agency over what types of projects are put into motion and how; their voice should be listened to, valued, and respected. Do the individuals within these communities have a say in the farming or bottling process involved in crafting the organic coconut water in their region? I do appreciate Harmless Harvest’s declaration of conscious consideration of all beings and factors impacted within their supply chain, but these are some thoughts/question that linger. 

Who makes it:

2.5

Harmless Harvest®was developed with the mission to make quality coconut water in the most ethical way possible. They display their commitment through their standards and practices like implementing regenerative agriculture, and then acknowledge that progress still needs to be made. Their headquarters are in San Francisco, California with 133 additional team members living and working in Thailand— where their coconuts are sourced and the majority of their operation occurs. I appreciate the specific team count; I perceive it as a display of them valuing each individual worker. More information on the treatment of the coconut farmers and team members like employee benefits would be appreciated too. Harmless Harvest intentionally “[stays] close to the ground” to be “invested in every step of the process and every community along the way.” This initiative is crucial to ensuring the implementation of sustainable, ethical standards. Overall, Harmless Harvest seems to follow through their consideration of all and mission to benefit all (people and planet) with their actions but the verification from transparent evidence is missing. I do think a bit more social justice and climate justice advocacy would strengthen their standing as an environmentally-responsible and socially-responsible company.