Belu

ENVIRONMENT
FIRST

ENVIRONMENT
FIRST

Belu is the most ethical bottled mineral water available. When you need a bottle of water, Belu will quench your thirst without pricking your conscience. At Belu we make sure that the environmental impact of all our products is reduced to its absolute minimum. We have always used the size of our carbon footprint as our best environmental measure – quite simply the smaller our carbon footprint per litre of water sold, the smaller its impact on the environment. Here are some of the ways that we make a difference:

  • We are completely carbon neutral – Belu was the UK’s first carbon neutral bottled water
  • We measure, reduce and report our carbon footprint in an open and transparent way to achieve PAS2060, the highest standard for credible carbon neutral claims. This applies to the impact of all of our products, not just our office
  • We believe that importing and exporting bottled water creates unnecessary water miles, therefore we will never knowingly export our products
  • Our carbon footprint is being reduced to the absolute minimum. We’re then offsetting our remaining emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects that have both social and environmental benefits
  • All of our products are produced right here in the UK
  • We have developed the lightest clear glass bottles on the market through our Ethical Glass initiative and continue to explore opportunities to make our packaging even lighter
  • We also make bottles from green glass made with over 80% recycled materials, this reduces its carbon impact by a further 5% compared to clear glass
  • By creating a plastic bottle made with at least 50% recycled materials we have reduced our reliance on fossil fuel and we are able to use plastic that otherwise might go to landfill
  • Naturally everything we make is also completely recyclable

Relative carbon emissions from the Belu supply chain

Carbon
footprint

Carbon
footprint

A carbon footprint is the result of an analysis which measures the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with an organisation, product or process. They occur during the everyday operations of any business and include energy use and transportation to and from the workplace. The GHG emissions from products refer to the amount of GHG’s produced in the manufacture and supply of the product to the point of use. The familiar term ‘carbon footprint’, stems from the fact that the CO2 released primarily from fossil fuel burning (oil, diesel, coal and natural gas) makes up the majority of GHG analyses and is the main contributor to climate change.

We measure, reduce and transparently report our carbon footprint as an indicator of our environmental impact. This applies to the carbon emissions of all of our products, and not just our head office. This means that we take responsibility for the emissions from the initial raw materials we use through to customer’s use and how the bottles are disposed of at the end of their life.

We go over and above what’s required to minimise our environmental impact. Our initiatives like light-weighting our glass and using high levels of recycled content have all helped dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of our products. After we have reduced their footprint we offset our remaining carbon emissions through investing in carefully chosen carbon reduction projects outside of the UK, which reduces our overall carbon footprint down to zero. This means that each and every one of our products is carbon neutral, which in turn helps you to reduce your own footprint.

At Belu, we express our product footprint in grammes of CO2e per litre of product sold. Although our sales are growing annually, the carbon footprint of our products goes down. Between 2010 and 2015 we were able to reduce the carbon footprint of our products by 41% per litre. We’re selling more and more bottles of our mineral water but we’re decreasing its footprint. It’s working.

Leading UK experts Anthesis calculate the Belu organisational and supply chain carbon footprint using quality assured best practice.

Annual Belu carbon footprint per litre

Ethical glass

Ethical glass

Clever ideas and independent partnerships help reduce our carbon footprint. In 2013 this meant collaboration with Bristol’s glass packaging specialists Rawlings. We worked together on the design of Ethical Glass, a new initiative to create lighter bottles which replaced both our old 750ml and 330ml clear glass bottles. This is now the lightest clear glass bottle family available in the UK.

The Ethical Glass bottle will be made in the UK by the sustainably focussed glass manufacturers Owens-Illinois, creators of the Glass is Life campaign and in line with our commitment to support British industry. Glass is already the most sustainable packaging option available as it is made from all natural materials, and can also be recycled endlessly. It has remained a favourite in the hospitality industry as it is the only packaging option that protects the freshness and flavour of products without any additional layers of material.

We’ve also made the bottles available on the open market through Rawlings and we hope that more companies will take the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint by using Ethical Glass. Buying Ethical Glass also contributes to our all profits donation to WaterAid too.

Ethical Glass is great for a number of reasons:

  • 18% lighter than previous Belu glass bottles
  • Over 45% recycled content
  • 850,000kg of glass will be saved annually. This is equivalent to 2.1 million wine bottles
  • 11% further reduction to Belu’s carbon emissions. This is the same as saving the carbon associated with 7,000 nights in an average UK hotel

USING
RECYCLED
PLASTIC

USING
RECYCLED
PLASTIC

The rate at which we recycle plastic bottles in the UK is increasing every year. 6,952 million* plastic bottles were collected for recycling in 2012, representing 58% of plastic bottles consumed by UK households. Every ton of recycled plastic saves 5,774 kilowatts of energy, 16.3 barrels of oil and 23 cubic meters of landfill space, as well as saving water and emissions from the virgin material production process.

We worked with world plastics recycling experts NEXTEK to help us lead the plastic bottle packaging market with the use of 50% recycled plastic in our current plastic lines, and we are committed to increasing this percentage as far as we can. The majority of our plastic is now also made from bottles consumed, recycled and turned into new plastic in the UK.

Using recycled plastic in the bottle manufacturing process is a good thing as it is less energy intensive than using the equivalent of newly made plastic. Recent studies have shown that this can be as much as 80%** less energy. Switching from plastic that has no recycled content to bottles like ours that contain 50% recycled materials reduces the carbon footprint by 31%.

*RECOUP – http://www.recoup.org/p/34/key-data-benchmarks

** The ICE database (University of Bath)

GREEN GLASS

GREEN GLASS

Belu launched its green glass range in response to leading Italian restaurant chain Zizzi’s who wanted to offer their customers a classically continental looking product without the environmental damage.

Belu remains the only UK producer of both still and sparkling mineral water in green glass. Because the UK is a net importer of wine, this means that the recycled content of green glass is over 80% compared to 45% for clear glass. This then means less energy is required to melt the raw materials during glass blowing.

Green glass bottles are made from sand, soda ash and limestone and it takes 1.2 tonnes of raw materials to make one tonne of glass. Recycled glass can be added to the furnace, replacing raw materials without any effect on the quality of the finished bottle, and this reduces C02 emissions and prevents environmental impact of quarrying raw materials. The recycled glass is the wine, beer and soft drink bottles that local authorities collect from household recycling and waste management companies collect from bars and restaurants.

Since introducing green glass in 2010, to date (December 2015), we have turned the glass of over 2.5 million wine bottles into over 2.2 million green glass water bottles. Restaurants can make a big difference by choosing our green bottles, saving an average carbon reduction of 36% a year. A small restaurant selling around 2,500 cases a year can save as much carbon dioxide equivalent as it takes to drive around the M25 137 times in an average petrol car.

CARBON
REDUCTION
PROJECTS

CARBON
REDUCTION
PROJECTS

We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of every aspect of our business. We have always used our carbon emissions as the best indicator of our impact. The biggest energy use comes from producing glass and plastic for our bottles. We’re reducing our CO2e emissions through our sustainable packaging initiatives but we can’t eliminate them completely. This means we need to offset the rest of our carbon footprint.

Carbon offsetting is a way of investing in projects that deliver a carbon reduction overseas which counteracts our own footprint. Often these projects are based around clean technology or the protection of rainforests which are natural sources of carbon storage, but more recently these projects also have a social aspect.

We measure and report on our entire carbon footprint in an open and transparent way. We are accredited to PAS 2060 standard, this means we can demonstrate we reduce our emissions first to specific targets before we offset the rest of our footprint. This way we know we make every decision in the business with the environmental impact in mind as we know that higher carbon emissions will cost us more, a great way of keeping us focussed.

Since 2008 to December 2015 we’ve invested more than £97,000 in carbon reduction projects that make a real difference to communities worldwide. We work in partnership with leading experts Carbon Clear to find the offsetting projects that will deliver the best environmental and social benefits.

One of the projects we’ve invested in is the Akkihebbal Scheme located in southern India. This small run-of-river hydropower plant uses a diversion weir across the river Hemavathy. The project is small and makes no use of a dam, which ensures that the project does not have a detrimental impact on the area’s environment. In addition, the project protects communities by diverting river flow at critical times during the monsoon floods. The project generates about 13 gigawatts of clean electricity annually. The plant is operated by a small entrepreneurial project developer who places considerable emphasis on investing in the community. The project owner sponsors three associations including the Bal Roshni project of Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare. The Bal Roshni project provides support and education to very poor physically disabled children in special schools. Each year, over 70 children receive assistance for education, physiotherapy, bus fare and any special aids they require. Furthermore, the project creates employment and commercial opportunities in an area where talented local workers would either face unemployment or would be drawn towards cities.

Since 2008 to December 2015 we’ve invested more than £97,000 in carbon reduction projects that make a real difference to communities worldwide.