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Karma Drinks Co-Founder Chris Morrison on Making the NZ New Year's Honour List

Karma Drinks Co-Founder Chris Morrison on Making the NZ New Year's Honour List

Welcome to the first instalment of our Humans of Karma series, introducing you to some of the brilliant people around the world working with Karma Drinks.  

We couldn’t think of a better person to kickstart the series than Chris Morrison, one of Karma Drinks’ founding members.

Chris was recognised in New Zealand’s 2021 New Year Honours list, which rewards the pioneering work being done by Kiwis.

For 2021, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the central theme was recognising those who have improved lives despite the extraordinary challenges of the previous year.

Alongside his work at Karma, Chris is involved in a collection of sustainably minded businesses – from All Good Fairtrade bananas to being the founding chair of New Zealand’s Sustainable business network – so it’s safe to say that this recognition is well deserved. 

Chris tunes in from New Zealand to tell us why regenerative farming is the way forward and how buying something as small as a Fairtrade fizzy drink can really make a difference. 

What's your role at Karma Drinks?

I’m a co-founder, director and part of the Executive Team.

What does 'Karma' mean to you?

Doing the right thing. Being conscious of all your actions.

How did you end up founding Karma Drinks?

Meeting with my two co-founders (Matt, Simon Coley) and deciding to create something fun and ethical. The First thing was setting up All Good and bringing New Zealand’s first Fairtrade and Fairtrade organic bananas into NZ, and then we used those principles to set up Karma Drinks.

Why is sustainability so important to you?

Sustainability has always been at the centre of all the projects I’ve been involved in. We’re facing some significant challenges as a planet but I believe there are solutions. The main ones are working with nature, not against it, and looking after the whole supply chain, particularly the growers and communities of growers.

When did you first realise sustainability was the way forward, and how has that shaped your career? 

From the beginning. The last 35 years I have worked in businesses I have co-created, and I feel that working in a more sustainable way is the only way we will survive and flourish. 

Are we all doing enough to live more sustainably?

We have started. We need brave governments to incentivise consumers, businesses and growers to do the right thing. Change is coming but we need to move quicker. In my opinion, a few of the fastest ways to kickstart a more sustainable world would be to tax the polluters, and incentivise those being progressive.

Can something as small as buying a sustainably made fizzy drink make a difference? 

Conscious consumption is key. Every time we buy an organic or Fairtrade product we are contributing to a healthier society and planet. 

What would you like to see happen in the next five years in sustainability?

I think the focus needs to turn from sustainability to regeneration. We’ve reached a point where we can’t just sustain, we need to rebuild nature to survive. Regenerative agriculture is a way of farming that works to reverse climate change by rebuilding organic soil matter and restoring soil diversity – which has far-reaching positive effects for the environment. 

Tell us about your life beyond Karma – what other companies and initiatives are you involved in?

I have been involved in a number of organisations and businesses. For the last ten years, I’ve been the founding chair of the Sustainable Business Network , plus I have other roles at Fairtrade New Zealand, and I’m currently chair of Organics Aotearoa NZ, director and shareholder at  sustainable coffee company Kokako, and shareholder at Little Island, a coconut creamery. 

If you had to isolate for two weeks with one NZ celebrity, who would it be and why?

Sam Neill, a great NZ character and organic wine producer. He used to be an actor, with starring roles in Jurassic Park, Peaky Blinders and more. 

Where's your favourite outdoor spot in New Zealand?

Piha beach, Auckland

What's your favourite Karma drink?

Lemony Lemonade — made with juicy organic Sicilian lemons!

Check back soon for more insights from the global Karma community. In the meantime, you can read about why we think it’s so important to be organic, and how we source the ingredients that go into our fizzy drinks.

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