Pioneering social enterprise and ethical water company, Belu,has won the International Impact award at the UK Social Enterprise Awards, held at the Guildhall in central London on the evening of 4 December.
The national Awards, organised by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) recognise excellence and outstanding achievements by social enterprises, businesses set up to for a social or environmental purpose. From tackling the climate emergency to reducing homelessness, social enterprises are taking on some of the biggest challenges we face, using their profits to change lives and protect the planet.
There are 100,000 of these businesses in the UK contributing £60 billion to the economy and employing two million people.
Karen Lynch, CEO of Belu, comments: ‘Winning this award recognises a milestone year for Belu. A year in which we gave a record £1million profits to WaterAid, bringing our total to £4million, equivalent to transforming 270,000 lives worldwide with clean water. No mean feat for social enterprise of just nine people!
‘It demonstrates that, however small, social enterprise businesses can make global impact.
‘Thank you to anyone who has made the simple choice to serve or buy Belu. Your purchasing power is helping us get clean water, toilets and hygiene to the millions of people still living without these basic human rights.’
Belu has most recently announced that it will become the first water company in the UK to make 100% of its plastic bottles from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
The annual celebration of British social enterprises was hosted by musician, journalist and Church of England priest, Reverend Richard Coles.
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: ‘The winners of this year’s UK Social Enterprise Awards show just how inspiring and vital the social enterprise movement is.
‘From tackling furniture and period poverty to taking ownership of their high streets and creating community owned renewable energy schemes– they show just how business can take on the biggest challenges we face and be a real force for good in this world.
‘The times we live in demand that we must change how we do business. Social enterprises are already taking on the triple threat of the climate emergency, rising social inequalities and an economy that is failing too many people. They are showing us what the future of business can, and must, look like.’
Social enterprise supply chain
Belu and the other winners were presented with bespoke trophies made by the social enterprise, Designs in Mind, which employs people with mental health issues.
Social enterprises also supplied all the goods and services on the night, including the catering, rigging, drinks, floral centrepieces and goody bags.
The Awards were sponsored by Big Society Capital, British Council, Cafédirect, The Co-op, Deloitte, GLL, Johnson & Johnson, Landmarc, Linklaters, PwC, Power to Change, Santander and SAP.