Reed Paget created Belu as an environmentally friendly bottled water company in 2004. Before launching Belu, Reed was “considering ways to involve the corporate sector in addressing environmental concerns.” Gordon Roddick, environmentalist Ben Goldsmith, and Chris Cooper-Hohn, hedge fund manager, were investors. Belu’s mission is to “raise enough money to provide clean drinking water for a year for one person in the world.”
Reed was inspired by his mother, who worked with charities, especially health and education. She would often help raise money to build schools that were lacking funding. Reed now takes part in the same activism, working against nuclear power.
The company donates 100% of its profits to the Belu Foundation, which currently provides clean water for one person in developing countries. The first beneficiary is a child in Malawi who will receive clean drinking water every day until he turns 18. This costs about $25 per year since bottled drinks are more expensive than tap or healthy water. Belu’s website claims this is an “investment in our children rather than a donation to charity” because it provides them access to clean drinking water for the rest of their lives.
Belu Water has helped over 60 communities in 20 countries, providing clean water to over 100,000 people. Belu’s website claims the company has “already donated enough money for five years of school fees and books for one child in Malawi.”
To support Belu’s mission and help raise money for its cause, Reed created a special reusable bottle made of recycled glass with a unique design that looks like it is printed on. Belu’s bottles are also 100% recyclable. They do not contain BPA, which can be harmful to humans if consumed (such as water).
The My Project USA Foundation is an organization that “provides safe, accessible and sustainable sources of clean potable water for those who need it most” in America and worldwide.
Belu Water donates all of its profits to the My Project USA Foundation, which has provided over two million litres of clean water for those who need it globally since they began working together. They are now aiming to provide five million more by 2020.
The Independent’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year award is given out annually to entrepreneurs who have driven positive social change in the UK. There are three categories that winners may fall into the enterprise, impact investment and social entrepreneurship (which Reed falls under).
Belu Water’s founder has won The Independent’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year award. This year’s winner was chosen from a shortlist of six nominees by a judging panel of entrepreneurs, academics and journalists. There were over 200 nominations for this year’s award.
The future of Belu Water
The founder of Belu Water, a bottled water company that donates all of its profits to global clean water projects, has won The Independent’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year award. Now he is looking ahead to international expansion. “We will be moving into the US and other parts of Europe very soon,” says Simon. “But our vision is to make Belu a global brand rather than one that only serves Britain.”
He also has plans for using his voice as an entrepreneur to influence policymakers. He talks about raising awareness for water issues, such as the poor quality of drinking supplies and the lack of access to clean water. He also sees himself as an advocate for social enterprises like his own, which make a difference in their communities and chase profits.
“We need to make sure that social enterprise is understood by policymakers and given a level playing field,” he says. “If you look at the number of big businesses, there are not many listed as having giving back in their purpose statement.”
Belu Water has been winning awards since it was founded. It won two from The Sunday Times this year alone. It is one of the finalists in The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards, which will be announced on November 18th.
“Awards are wonderful,” he says. “They give you a platform and make sure people hear about your selling water business.”
The next step for Belu Water is going to be its biggest yet. Simon is moving into the US next year. And, in December, he will meet with President Clinton to discuss water issues around the world.
“We are still a small business,” says Simon. “But I know that every little bit of progress helps.”
Belu Water can be found at https://belu.org/
The founder of Belu Water is a shining example for all entrepreneurs and business owners. Her passion and drive to help the world have led her company to success while creating a great culture where employees can thrive personally and professionally. Using marketing strategies that are both ethical and eco-friendly has generated significant media attention, which allows the company to grow exponentially.
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