World Water Week: Karen Lynch, CEO, Belu Water on the contradictions faced by an ethical water brand

 
 

Karen Lynch, CEO of Belu Water, on the contradictions faced by an ethical water brand.

 

01st September 2017

Red Carnation Hotels

There’s no bigger event in the calendar than World Water Week in Stockholm this week, to remind me that both my day to day role and the role of Belu as an ethical water brand is a continuous journey of contradictions!

Stockholm this week has become the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues and this should naturally motivate the team here at Belu Water to grow the business bigger than ever, to allow us to increase our part in helping to end water poverty through generating more profit, all of which goes to the amazing work of our partner, WaterAid. This year’s World Water Week theme is Water & waste- reduce & reuse, something we strive for in all areas of our business, but how do we balance this with also growing and generating more funds for WaterAid?

Thinking environment first

Whilst Belu is best known for our social impact through our partnership with WaterAid, we are first and foremost an environmental brand. As a business, we think environment first, always looking for ways to balance our impact on the planet with a sustainable business model, constantly considering our environmental impact in everything we do and continually looking for ways to remove or reduce it.

This has lead us to implement innovations cross our products and how they’re distributed. We developed the lightest clear glass bottles on the market through our Ethical Glass initiative; made with over 45% recycled content and 18% lighter than our previous bottles. And we’re not only innovating with our glass; our plastic bottles are made from at least 50% recycled material, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and using plastic that might otherwise go to landfill. These achievements resulted in us being awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development earlier this year.

Exciting new initiatives

Most recently, as a business we’ve found it hard to contain our excitement on a more recent initiative – the supply of filtration machines and bottling systems completely free of charge to restaurants, hotels, clubs or cafés who sign up to the Belu Filter initiative – allowing them to filter, chill, carbonate and bottle water on-site. We’ve also had our first foray into supplying refillable bottles and carafes. As an environmental business, I’m sure you get why we’re excited, but perhaps you’re also tempted to ask why we don’t then stop bottles altogether?

Here’s the thing; we’re all aware of our responsibilities to ourselves and each other to be better citizens, to consume less and more consciously. And water is an easy win; in the UK, we can get it safe and free out of the tap. Yet, the UK bottled water market is growing. In 2015, sales grew by 8.2% on the previous year to a staggering 3.3bn litres. As this market continues to grow, we need to ensure that you have the option of buying it with the minimum footprint possible.

So, for now, we would argue that the environmental stance is the most important part of our business. But of course, we need to also play our part in helping to achieve Global Goal 6 of ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

What you can do this World Water Week

So, this World Water Week, wherever you’re drinking water, please take a moment to consider the opportunities around you. Buying the odd bottle of mineral water doesn’t make you a bad person.  But do try to buy less, and when you do, buy Belu!

Image Credits: Lead image © Water Aid. Belu still and sparkling water © Belu.

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