Business model: Belu Water

The bottled water manufacturer is also a charity

Belu Water is a company owned by a charity of the same name. It sells environmentally friendly bottled water, reinvesting the profits in making its operation environmentally sustainable and in other clean water projects around the world

Belu was formed by Reed Paget, its current chief executive, in 2002 and began trading in January 2004.

Paget was inspired by the UN Global Compact, a drive to persuade businesses to solve social and environmental problems. He says it was difficult to get funding at first.

"Venture capitalists wanted their normal return, which we couldn't offer," he says. "Charitable foundations were too risk-averse. We ended up knocking on the doors of venture philanthropists, who gave us enough cash to get us going."

Belu initially raised £60,000, which was spent on identifying a water source and getting the product ready for market. But the company also wanted to build stock and develop new green technology, so it embarked on a second fundraising drive and eventually raised £1.5m.

It competes against mainstream bottled water suppliers, but uses more socially and environmentally friendly methods, such as fully compostable bottles. Belu's annual turnover is more than £2m, and Paget says its annual profit is approaching £100,000.

He also believes the company is succeeding in its goal to drive sector competitors to behave more ethically.

"Since we've come into the market, we've been able to force other companies to adopt cleaner, greener methods," he says.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Third Sector Logo

Get our bulletins. Read more articles. Join a growing community of Third Sector professionals

Register now