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Smart investments in 2020 based on what we learned in 2019

Belu winning the social enterprise UK award for International Impact
Belu winning the Social Enterprise UK Award for International Impact.

Is anyone else reflecting on 2019 already and thinking ‘I never saw all that coming’?

Remarkably, we are almost at the year-end with a set of results we can be immensely proud of, but the hurdles we have had to leap and the curveballs we have had to dodge have been more frequent and bigger than ever. From huge shortages in raw materials (UK glass shortages and the struggle to secure a sustainable supply of 100% RPET) to rising costs all round, confusion in the market on all things environmental and trying to plan for Brexit. In fact, it seems, doing business has been harder than ever for most of us.

It’s at this time of year when we at Belu can start to take a longer intake of breath, and as our team recovers from the year that’s passed and gets some well-earned rest, we can count our lucky stars that we have had amazing partners to work with throughout the year.

For some of our partners, like our hotel, restaurant and catering customers, we are conscious that the real hard work that the festive period is still in full flow – those late nights, early mornings and hours on your feet are about to peak.  We hugely admire your passion to make Christmas special for so many, and we know you will do it with style.  We have enormous respect for our magnificent UK hospitality industry who always know how to deliver at Christmas.

To have the product and operational support we need to serve our customers, we are also grateful for our partners in all aspects of our supply chain, from glass and plastic supply to distribution and manufacturing, along with our finance, carbon foot-printing and design specialists.  Likewise, we are grateful for the other organisations we collaborate with to deliver our impact, The Sustainable Restaurant Association and WaterAid UK.

So, as we draw a close to 2019 and look forward to 2020, one thing for me is perfectly clear. While it may be impossible to plan for much of what may change, we can all plan to make sound investments in the things we know we will need in place to be ready to face them– a strong and motivated team, and solid relationships in our supply chains and sectors.

We should never underestimate the power of these partnerships. Get them right and they will stand the test of time, even when things aren’t going to plan.  At Belu we’ve always favoured being open and honest about the challenges we face, and believe it’s almost always easier to work through them together as a result.

Whatever 2020 brings, for us the focus will remain the same – we will keep on proving there is a better way to do business, that through business we can do more than make money. Together, we can solve some of the world’s problems at the same time.

By Karen Lynch, CEO of Belu

Karen and the Belu team being presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for the pioneering Belu Filter Initiative.
The Belu team at our away day on the Norfolk coast.

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