It's been almost five years since The Coca-Cola Company first invested in Honest Tea, and nearly two years since Coke purchased the remaining portion of Honest Tea. With a new year and the publication of our third annual mission report, Keeping It Honest 2012, it's the perfect time to make some observations about what makes the relationship work.

First of all from a business perspective, the impact of the Coca-Cola partnership has been dramatic. Our sales have grown more than fourfold as Honest Tea has expanded its availability from 15,000 stores and restaurants in 2008 to more than 100,000 outlets today.

But beyond the basic business metrics, there are a few guiding principles that help ensure our mission-driven business is thriving within the larger corporation.

Seth Goldman is president and TeaEO of Honest Tea, the company he co-founded in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. Honest Tea is an independent business unit of The Coca-Cola Company.