Belu-mentary, my dear Watson
As I pull the plug on my second week at Belu, I wanted to take the time to reflect on what has been an incredible two weeks. Shifting from six months of home-schooling to meeting a brilliant team and inducting into a business via video calls has been surprisingly easy. Part of the application process for the role was to complete a Myers-Briggs assessment and it’s clear the ‘personality’ of everyone is well considered as you can already see what a great team ethos exists within this business. A team that, by the way, have punched well above their weight with regard to success, giving over £5 million of profits to WaterAid in the last nine years.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the last few weeks have also included thoughts of ‘imposter syndrome’, late nights lying in bed trying to sleep, thinking about what I’ve heard in the day and the usual struggles of new childcare routines. What’s great is the support I’ve felt from the business to help me cope with this. It also helps that I’m going through this journey with other new colleagues that have joined at the same time.
Having had a lot of time to reflect on what my next role looked like, I was keen to join a business that had real purpose and where I could make an impact. To say Belu live and breathe purpose would be an understatement. Every decision, from bottle to strategy, includes deep thought on how it can benefit not only profits to share with WaterAid, but benefit the planet and its people. This has already had an impact on me personally, looking at daily life choices and how I can do better. Shoppers have a plethora of options available to them now and it’s evident, if you want to make more sustainable choices, MAKE MORE SUSTAINABLE CHOICES. It really is that simple.
Now to the most insightful part of my induction. A new term was added to my vocabulary, ‘greenwashing’. Something I was blissfully unaware of until a fortnight ago. Greenwashing is when a company spends more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly, than on minimising their environmental impact. I’ve been fortunate enough to work for some businesses that wouldn’t dream of claiming such things as they know they hadn’t transitioned to a place where they could call themselves ‘sustainable’, so assumed it would be general practice. However, it has become apparent that others are trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
Allow me to enlighten you on some myths I’ve learnt in the last few weeks…
Myth #1 – Plastic is the devil.
While we should all be making an effort to reduce our consumption of all single-use materials, the plastic that is used in the Belu rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) bottles is fully recycled and recyclable. Plus, a plastic bottle has a much lower carbon footprint than a glass one, due to how heavy glass is to transport.
Myth #2 – Aluminium canned water is better for the environment than plastic.
Turns out, aluminium isn’t always the better choice. It often carries greater carbon emissions in transportation and recycling isn’t always as easy as plastic.
Myth #3 – Everyone should sign up to plant trees to counter your carbon footprint.
It has been brought to my attention that actually, often the land purchased to plant trees is not suitable for growing trees on, therefore it is detrimental to biodiversity. There are also more trees pledged than space to plant them already.
Myth #4 – This new paper bottle that’s been doing the rounds is a step change for the planet.
In my application for the role, I even mentioned looking at new technologies such as paper bottles, however, research just a little deeper and you’ll find that, while the paper part of the bottle is recyclable, there are often plastic liners and other components which make day to day recycling challenging as it’s currently unclear how to split these elements in the recycling process. If there’s no process to recycle them properly, these bottles will end up in landfills.
So here I am, armed with a new perspective and huge enthusiasm for the future. Having just passed International Women’s Day, I’m incredibly proud to work for a business that not only has a female CEO, but co-female CEOs. I’m at the start of my journey with the team, to drink the difference and change the way the world sees water. Who’s coming with me?