“So Sal, how’s the new job going?” – this is the question that I’ve been asked constantly over the last three weeks, since joining Belu. My answer? “It is absolutely incredible, it’s a dream come true, it’s just so lovely to talk to people about social and environmental impact!” (and then I ramble on excitedly about what I’ve been up to!) I have spent my career working with my nose to the grindstone in finance and then in fashion – so to say my path to Belu was a long and wonky one is an understatement. I’ve been boring my friends for years with talk of moving into a role with sustainability at its core, but I never quite made the leap. If I look inwards, I stalled because I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to deliver in an unfamiliar role, in a new industry, in a role with such a big social or environmental impact – I didn’t want to fail, because it really would matter. But then lockdown happened. And as so many of us did, I took time to reflect on my life – how grateful I was for everything I had, what really mattered to me and what I wanted to do. I found out through a strange sequence of events that Belu was hiring, that they had big plans and that they needed new people. I did not hesitate – I threw off the old insecurities and threw myself into the application process, which was exhilarating especially after months of home-schooling and looking after a toddler! I knew of Belu – not only had I drunk the water at several restaurants, but I had heard about this small social enterprise with a huge reach, from a meeting that I had a WaterAid several years ago. But it wasn’t until I started doing my research, during the application process that I truly understood the depth of impact that Belu has. With an insanely small team, Belu had not only managed to give over £5m to WaterAid, but they have consistently challenged the status quo and been true innovators in a well-established industry developing the lightest weight glass, bringing a bottle to market with the lowest carbon footprint possible and eradicating the need for single-use bottles with filtration. And it was all done with such panache and impact. It has been so strange to go through the recruitment process and then start at a company – without actually seeing a single soul in person. But it’s amazing how we have all adapted to our new reality and come together to get the job done! There have been many induction meetings – I’ve been learning everything from the intricacies of the product range, the financials, understanding our carbon emissions (Belu is certified carbon neutral to Pas 2060 standard!) but also really getting to grips with Belu’s purpose of changing the way the world sees water and putting the environment and people first. This is fundamental to EVERY decision that is made within the business. Everything is considered. One could be forgiven for thinking that this might slow up a process or two, but what I am quickly realising is that the beating heart of this company – the team – are so driven by the purpose that they arrive at the right decisions with remarkable speed and dexterity! Some of the best moments since I started? Well, I have had the chance to meet several of our lovely customers – either on Teams or in-person (socially distanced, of course) and the thing that has struck me, and bought a tear to my eye, is the shared love for Belu’s purpose – what we are doing and why. I have been touched to see first-hand that there are so many wonderful people out there that just want to do something good. It’s clear I am part of something really special here. Belu is showing us all that there is another way – a better way. It is possible to be a business, make money, but help others in the process. To this point, there is something new and exciting coming very soon. . . more opportunities to join us and drink the difference! It’s taken me a long time to get to Belu – but after 3 short weeks working with the wonderful team at Belu, I feel like I have been here for years. I feel like I’ve come home.
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