Written by Luke Tullo, Operations Lead at Belu.
After two weeks, I can tell you that while Belu is also a small team providing customers with high quality drinks, there aren’t too many more similarities with the behind-the-scenes superyacht TV documentary series…
The Belu welcome began with the friendliest 3×3 grid of smiling faces. Having come from a company with thousands of employees, it was novel to be able to meet everyone with a Belu email address in that single video call. Being a small team, we rely on partnerships to deliver at scale. I don’t have much previous experience working with people outside my organisation but I’ve already done plenty of it as we purchase glass, organise production runs, process orders for businesses and track deliveries to consumers. It’s satisfying to manage the full extent of input, process and output, rather than a specialised internal step.
While I do it imperfectly, I try to analyse my place in the world and consider what I could and perhaps should do to make it better, fairer. I’m mostly vegetarian, but I still fly. I’m conscientious when it comes to recycling, but I don’t seek out package free products as much as I could.
At my previous job, the headline purpose was to serve customers better, but within a framework of returning value to shareholders. Certain decisions could transcend that – donating fresh food to charity towards the end of each day meant missing out on potential sales, removing plastic wrapping from cans might affect the customer shopping experience – and I’m pleased they were made. In my more direct remit, benefits for customers, shareholders and wider society would sometimes coincide. Delivering efficiencies could take trucks off the road and save food from going in the bin and doing it at scale could translate into a lot of food miles and waste saved.
It seems better to improve something a little at a large scale, than to huff, puff and virtue signal your way to a life without impact. But I want to be more purposeful and impactful in my working life – contributing to change in the way we do things as well as in the scale and efficiency at which we do them.
And that’s why I’m at Belu, a drinks business changing the way the world sees water by putting people and the environment first. Belu provides choice for conscious consumers and invests its profits into saving carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, implementing a circular economy and bringing clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to everyone, everywhere (in partnership with WaterAid).
Does Belu do it perfectly? Two weeks of work and some enthusiastic research during the application process reveal to me a team of people with good intentions and the capability to deliver on them. I hope to contribute on both counts.