‘Business with a purpose’ continued from part 1…
Duncan Goose came across One’s purpose largely from his time travelling around the world. He says that ‘My background is in advertising and marketing, where I worked with big brands. After I left advertising, I spent a couple of years riding a motorbike around the world; and during that time I made it through quite a few life-threatening situations, including being shot at and surviving an earthquake in a five-storey building. But the biggest thing that happened to me was being caught up in a hurricane that killed 20,000 people – Hurricane Mitch. After the actual hurricane, access to water was a big problem for the people who were caught up in the storm. And when I came back from my travels I wanted to do something that would mesh my idea to work in a branded environment but to also give back and create something positive – and to share the value that we create.’
He set up his company in 2005 selling bottled water, but with a big difference – a share of profits went to The One Foundation. Goose says that they were quick to appreciate the environmental downsides of their own product and they have led the way in the industry in terms of (a) reducing the weight of packaging (from 25g in 2005 to 11.5g now) which has reduced the embodied energy of the product and means that it needs less energy for recycling; and (b) using recycled plastic in their bottles.
‘Even if the whole single-use plastic debate wasn’t here, we have always focused on the packaging issue,’ says Goose. ‘People will continue to drink bottled water. It is a growing market – but the interesting debate is around packaging. If we’re going to give consumers a product, how do we give them the best product we can? We are continually looking at what is beyond the bottle – and we have innovated with glass bottles, cartons – made predominantly from sustainable paperboard – and we are also looking into aluminum cans for future product development. All materials have pros and cons when it comes to sustainability and we want to give our customers the option to choose based on what is most important for them – ease of recycling or carbon footprint of the packaging, for example.’
One has been working closely with Bidfood in the past few years and as well as helping to raise money for The One Foundation, a number of Bidfood employees have visited One’s funded projects in Malawi. Goose says that the Foundation is doing much more than simply sinking boreholes and installing pumps – they are focusing on systems-led change which can, for example, help deliver water directly into people’s homes and make a massive difference in some of the poorest places in the world, like slums in Kenya and Rwanda. The One Foundation also focuses on education and financial management, and dedicates funding to training communities in repair and maintenance of their water points so that they are sustainable.
But the start of the journey was defining a purpose to begin with. Is it time that your business thought about doing the same?