Sunday, December 19, 2010

One Great Idea

It's one of this little irritants of modern life - the ban on taking liquids through airport security. Unless you want to shrivel and dry up on your journey, it's a choice between buying a bottle of water from one of the shops on the departures side or seeing what those nice people from Ryanair (or whomever) are charging these days for a bottle of water.

Choosing the former option the other day as I waited to board my flight to Spain, I stumbled across the option of buying One Water from the Duty Free shop. It's spring water from Wales and, besides being considerably cheaper that the French stuff on offer from WH Smiths, all of the profits from its sale go to clean water projects in Africa. Specifically funding Playpumps - these are pumps driven by the power of a children's roundabout which deliver clean water from underground aquifers. A look at the website explained a bit more about the company and it's quite a story. Since it's been going since 2004 you may well have heard of it so I won't repeat the facts which you can read on the website, but a couple of things did occur to me:

- more and more charity, particularly relating to developmental and environmental issues, is getting interwoven with business. As an example look at the plethora of Fair Trade type logos you see in the supermarkets; this is straightforward commerce but with an ethical twist. The time when all green and anti-poverty campaigning groups used to instinctively line up against "big business" and hated multi-nationals seems to have passed. They have seen the benefit of harnessing the power of capitalism for their own ends. Good to see for someone like me who is a free market capitalist through and through but is also acutely conscious of environmental and poverty issues.

- as a general rule I find bottled water annoying and in fact somewhat immoral. I cringe at the amount of money and resources that is wasted on packaging, advertising, transporting stuff that is no better than tap water. Certainly anyone with any pretensions of caring about the environment or global warming should not buy bottled water. Maybe I am missing something but it's a view I have always held. Now that I have found a bottled water which grew out of a great idea and supports a great objective I can soften my opinion. I will still only ever buy a bottle if I have to, but I will always look for the One label. You can like One water on Facebook too

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