October 3, 2007 —
Paul Newman is a Hollywood icon and a recognizable face around the world. When he began Newman’s Own in 1982, it became a notable brand due to the famed actor. Yet, the company is about more than the name. Newman intended the company to do more than make tasty foods. All after-tax profits are donated to charity. Though the charities are undisclosed, the company’s web site claims to have given over $200 million to charity since 1982.
Newman’s Own is an easy company to support. Its coffee is Fair Trade. It has moved into the organic market —Newman’s Own Organics was founded by Nell Newman, Paul’s daughter—and the company supports local growers. Newman's Own also funds a First Amendment Prize, which is administered by the PEN American Center and is for $25,000. Newman’s Own has a policy against using slave labor in chocolate production in West Africa—something Nestle and Hershey’s have claimed they cannot guarantee.
Newman’s Own does have a limited number of products, in contrast to say, a company like Procter & Gamble, which allows for closer attention to ethical issues. Nonetheless, ethical business practices is the raison d'etre for Newman’s Own.