The Passion Behind the Product: Rebels With a Cause

REBBL’s mission is to reinvent the entire concept of what a business, and product, should be.
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REBBL’s mission is to reinvent the entire concept of what a business, and product, should be.
Palo Hawkin
Sheryl O'Loughlin

What if you could reach into your refrigerator and grab a beverage that was not only smoothly delicious and wholly plant-based, but also packed with traditional herbal ingredients that could provide extraordinary benefits to your body and mind? And what if your purchase of that beverage also made you part of a social and environmental movement that promotes lasting good in communities throughout the world? Would you want to buy that product? Meet REBBL, a beverage company creating elixirs and protein drinks based on coconut milk and enhanced with adaptogens from Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines.

Palo Hawken (Top) and Sheryl O’Loughlin set out to create a healthy beverage—and in the process redefined success to include promoting lasting good in communities throughout the world.

“A Cause Looking For a Company”

The genesis of REBBL was unusual, to say the least. It started with Not for Sale (NFS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. NFS wanted to partner with a company that shared values and practices that would enhance its mission.

That’s when they enlisted Palo Hawken, an inventor who was enthralled with indigenous edible and medicinal herbology. Palo’s goal was clear: “To create the world’s greatest beverage company, while re-imagining the very DNA of what business is, from the ground up.”

Then Sheryl O’Loughlin, former CEO of Cliff Bars, came on board. “We realized we had to address the intersection between social and ecological justice,” she says. “We started our work in one grower community with the development of a line of plant-based, super herb adaptogen beverages, using local herbs from that community.” And that was just the beginning.

Invested in Helping Others

“Our vision has evolved over time, getting so much bigger than what we’d initially imagined,” says O’Loughlin. “Now, through our relationship with growers in 39 countries around the world, we’re able to support Not for Sale’s work helping vulnerable communities. We help survivors of trafficking get access to shelter, education, and long-term counseling, help growers earn a living wage, and help provide access to health care, education, and clean water. And we do it by implementing regenerative business practices.”

As if that weren’t enough, REBBL donates 2.5 percent of net sales to NFS—over $250,000 to date.

And what about the beverages? Aside from the fact that they’re complexly scrumptious, they’re exceptionally pure and honest. They’re made with organic, fair-trade ingredients whenever available, sourced from indigenous communities, and contain no gums, natural flavors, or thickeners. Adaptogens, including maca, ashwagandha, turmeric, and reishi mushrooms, are just a few of the wide-ranging, wellness-promoting super herbs to be found here.

But in the end, it all comes down to this thought shared by O’Loughlin: “Our vision is that from the wisdom of plants, we awaken our strength, honor our senses, and fuel our love of life.”

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