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Changing Reflections of World Water Day

By Jan Roberts

Having worked at Belu for 3 years (an environmental drinks business who puts both people and planet first), it will come as no shock to you that we spend a lot of time talking about water. In my role, many of these conversations are operationally and customer-led.  Like any business trading through the pandemic, it has been a tumultuous couple of years, filled with highs, lows and most importantly, invaluable learnings for the future.  As with any role, the bigger picture, (in our case, our purpose) can so easily get clouded by the everyday noise of meetings and emails. World Water Day gives me time to reflect on why I work at Belu and the millions of people who still don’t have access to this basic necessity.

One in five don’t have a decent toilet

(Insights from WaterAid)


When I started at Belu 3 years ago, I was struck by the magnitude of the impact that clean water has on the wider community. Pre-Belu, I equated access to clean water with reducing sickness and quenching thirst safely.  Through our partnership with WaterAid, I was quickly educated that the reality of the impact is much greater, allowing children to stay in school rather than fetching water, empowering women to grow crops for the communities – in short, clean water gives life to a community.

During the last 2 pandemic-stricken World Water Days, my thoughts shifted to health and hygiene, both at home and away.  Whilst I never resorted to washing my baked bean cans from the supermarket, my hands (and parts of my house) were always clean.  The reality of our constant access to clean running water to minimise germ-spreading was in such stark contrast to the millions around the world who didn’t have this life essential.  Unthinkable at the best of times, but in a global pandemic, this lack of access to clean water exacerbated the utter unfairness of the situation.

For my 3rd World Water Day, like many of us, I am reflecting on the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine.  Not only are families losing ready access to a full range of basic amenities, banished to the safety of air-raid shelters, but they are forced to flee their own homes, leaving behind a lifetime of possessions, memories and comfort for the unknown of another country.  Our lives suddenly seem unnecessarily complex and indulgent in the wake of the scenes and stories we see on our screens.

My final thought on World Water Day is about the company I work for – Belu.  As a social enterprise that gives 100% of our net profit to Wateraid, we are hungry to get back to pre-pandemic levels of trade to ensure we maximise our impact through Wateraid.  We believe that everyone should have access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, everywhere.

Even after 3 years, I will never tire of thinking what a treat it is to work for a company with such environmental and social values.

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