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Blog of a CO-CEO

By Charlotte Harrington   “Know what you want.  Follow a trajectory where what you want is a possible outcome.  Build a system to incrementally improve your ability to follow that trajectory.  Trust yourself. Enjoy the outcomes.  Repeat.” James Clear Back in 2014 I made the decision to leave the corporate world and join Belu.  It was possibly the best career decision I’ve ever made for many reasons: I was disenchanted, certain decisions being justified as being right for shareholder value jarred with my personal values. I needed some balance – I had 3 kids under 5, working full time was no longer a viable option for my wellbeing and my family. I wanted to find more purpose for my life.  I wanted to use my commercial skills to deliver positive change. Whilst I didn’t have a plan, it was more a feeling, I was lucky to be approached by Belu – a social enterprise, a business, not a charity, that was demonstrating there was a different way to do business and in doing so, helping to solve some of the world’s problems.  As someone who is more comfortable delivering action than making promises with words, this had huge appeal.

Reflecting on the last 7 years I am astonished at; how big the children have grown, how much I’ve learnt, how my perspective on life has changed, how small teams can achieve so much and how challenging running a small business really is.

Leading Belu is a real privilege and having a clear purpose is core to our success.  We’ve always relied on our values to guide our decision making and this has helped us greatly over the last 2 years.  We demonstrated this transparently by; continuing to publish full, audited accounts, despite revenue being well below the threshold; measuring our product and organisational carbon footprint, as we have for the last 10 years and having it independently verified; giving WaterAid a contribution, despite making a trading loss.  We achieved all of this whilst thinking environment first in everything we did. World Water Day has only just passed, a day that gives us a moment to reflect on what’s been achieved and the progress that’s been made.  Belu has now given WaterAid over £5.2m, enabling 346,884 lives to be transformed with access to clean water, decent toilets and hygiene across the world.  Seeing the positive impact this has on communities is incredible; girls can go to school consistently; female entrepreneurs have time to start businesses’; communities thrive. Last year we celebrated our 10 year partnership anniversary with WaterAid and this short film brings this progress to life. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible – our small but perfectly formed team at Belu, those that have chosen to serve Belu and our amazing supply partners for making this possible.

Together we are changing the way the world sees water.

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