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Posts Tagged ‘natural products europe’

Between 22 and 25 October the art world turned out in force to celebrate the 36th FIAC in Paris. 210 galleries exhibited the work of 4,200 artists, with works prominently housed at the magnificent space within the ‘Grand Palais’ and at the ‘Cour Carrée du Louvre’ – the world famous museum known by all and visited by many.

I can assure you that seeing a series of paintings by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon in real life is pretty impressive, especially considering the way our AQUAPAX cartons seemed to blend so perfectly into their incredible surroundings, but my personal favourite was a piece of art created by Kader Attia. I saw this on my walk between the Grand Palais and the Louvre, where the outdoor projects in the Tuileries gardens were some of the most creative and large scale pieces on show.

Cymbales, tiges de bambous

The artist in question had created a work consisting of cymbals, installed slightly above water level in a large octagonal basin. The cymbals were all displayed in different angles, so each produced its own resonance, when affected by rain, wind, or indeed the sound of coins being thrown by enthusiastic visitors. The weather in Paris was spectacular for my visit, so I didn’t get to see how the rain impacted the piece, but I certainly ‘got it’ and to directly quote the artist ”Nature always transcends culture” – at least for me it does! leaf me alone i'm reflecting

The core sponsors for the FIAC event (for the past 4 years) have been the Galeries Lafayette, which has a common ambition as the FIAC, to promote creative energy and to see the whole city come to life for art. AQUAPAX at Galeries Lafayette1
AQUAPAX has recently partnered with Galeries Lafayette, which is why AQUAPAX was the water sponsor for all of the exhibitors during this magnificent art festival. Roll on 2010, especially if the weather is as wonderful as 2009. AQUAPAX at Galeries Lafayette2

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There’s a degree of hypocrisy among many well meaning folk with fundamentally good intentions but closed minds. They hear or read a little about something and become disciples of the cause, without really understanding anything about the process or ‘thing’ they’re advocating.

Everything is fundamentally recyclable or capable of re-use for some purpose other than which it was originally created, and at the risk of being called a heretic, being recyclable is not ‘the holy grail’ when making a product choice. The order for thinking people who really want to minimise their planetary impact should be (a.) do I need to consume this? (b.) is this the most sustainable option? (c.) am I compromising my personal tastes or quality standards? (d.) do I have the means to afford my choice?

Embracing product sustainability as opposed to base level recyclability is the next step we need to teach the masses, which is quite a technically challenging communication to execute.

Most folk don’t want detail; they’re happy to know a little about something and to close their minds to any ignorance. That is human nature, so we shouldn’t knock it, but I do so appreciate consumers who take the time to ask why, and who more importantly, open their minds to listen to the answer.

To bring today’s piece around to bottled water (as you’re expecting me to); portable packaged water is a unique product within a media driven customer psyche. The ‘moral’ decision for ‘planet conscious’ consumers is whether to ever buy into this product category at all. Bear witness the small Australian town of Bundanoon’s recent headline grabbing bottled water ban, which I’ve previously blogged on.

Considering the alternatives are either fattening, contain sugars, additives or alcohol, most thinking people will accept the necessary evil of a pure beverage as a distress solution when there is no tap accessible. That doesn’t oblige consumption; it simply allows choice for when one doesn’t choose to hydrate with any of the aforementioned alternatives.

As customer focussed businesses, retailers and caterers are obliged to service customer needs, so they cannot be criticised too severely for stocking this product category, however, their commitment to CSR should be challenged…

A well thought out CSR policy must drive a sustainable procurement approach – one where satisfying customer needs in an ecologically sensitive way, without compromising product quality, is appropriately weighted on the ‘decision scorecard’ being used.

A parochial approach to bottled water so often leads to customer choice being restricted to whichever bottled water is packaged closest to where it’s being consumed, irrespective of its quality or true ecological impact. This geographic weighting ignores the genuine attributes of products which often come from further away, yet are proven to ‘cost less’ on any correctly weighted ecologically motivated score card.

Think inside the box – we’re only custodians of this maginificent planet, and it really does make sense! 🙂

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I spent last week ‘on the road’ and probably listened to too much news in the process. The one ‘story’ that got me was the very small Australian town which decided to ban bottled water and seemingly managed to captivate the attention of the world media in the process.

The concept of banning something is quite fundamental and despite the subject matter being almost irrelevant in the context of human rights, I have to challenge the motivation of the small town’s folk (possibly their small minds?) for taking such a strong stance on something without seemingly thinking it through properly.

The act of banning a pure portable beverage means anyone planning a trip through that small town and finding themselves thirsty, means their choice when visiting a store before ‘hitting the road again’ is confined to flavoured, fattening or alchoholic beverages; all of which have measurably higher carbon footprints that the supposedly evil bottle of water they have discriminated against.

In a free society, the folk who live in this particular small Australian town should somewhere have found the wisdom to challenge or at least question themselves and their motives. A personal decision by individuals to not buy products as a statement is ok by me. Resorting to an over the top draconian motion which restricts the personal taste preferences of everyone living in or driving through their town seems ill considered – or could it be that the publicity sensation they have created is what it’s really all about…

To think, they could have broadened their minds to consider Aquapax mineral water as a genuinely low carbon alternative to the already pretty low carbon product it’s replacing, but I guess that might be crediting this particular small town’s folk with more than they deserve.

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It’s been an interesting month thus far and my carbon balancing budget will be needing a top-up for all the miles driven up to now.  Changed the car on Saturday – the black beauty has gone in her convertible splendor, making way for a more sensible silver car that’s more respectful of the wonderful world we live in and which can get lots of stuff in the back. I do still use my bike for local trips, but carrying heavy water cartons on my back has been taking its toll lately. (aren’t osteopath’s expensive?)

Following another epic week, we were at the NPE (Natural Products Europe) exhibition on Sunday (my birthday) and Monday, giving tasters of Aquapax to visitors on the Marigold Health Foods stand and engaging with our trade and non-trade customers alike. I know a trade exhibition isn’t supposed to have members of the public there, but we’re all human beings first and that’s the level at which I prefer to engage with folk. It was a really encouraging show for us and some of the trade distributors we had made contact with at NTS in Brighton during March were there again, allowing a renewed acquaintance (nay ‘relationship’) to be followed-up on, which is after all how life should work.

There’s an old expression that if you genuinely love what you do, then work is something you will take pleasure from. As a ‘people person’ working with wonderful people has always been a pleasure and that’s how I felt after a couple of days working with the Marigold team. They’re a genuinely cool and friendly bunch, comfortable in their skin, which makes them fun to be around – particularly when one whips out a harmonica and starts jamming while the rest of us are clearing the stand down at the end of the day. Working in the natural products world, with knowledgeable nice people helps me relax, which proves another wise old saying – “nothing will content him who is not content with a little”.

Hot on the heels of all that exciting prospecting comes our newly revised website re-launch, which (with a bit of luck & a lot of solid effort – thank you Ian) should be going live this very evening. Isn’t it a reflection on modern life that a website revamp can keep you ‘wired’ till the early hours, processing bits of information, continually changing how you say what you say in an attempt to actually say what you mean? Even then it’s no guarantee to pass the biggest test of all – the scutiny of the ‘public’ – that’s you!

I’m getting the site ready for an anticipated flourish that’s just around the corner – I can feel it coming and it feels good. Be great to have some feedback – please be gentle, as web world can become a solitary place if visitors remain anonymous and writing for an unknown audience can be challenging.

Time for dinner – and then there’s some invoicing to be done.

With love.

🙂

 

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