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Posts Tagged ‘nitrates’

Isn’t this appropriate for ‘the waterguy’ with a time management challenge when it comes to regular blog updates… but less of me and what’s with the blog action water thing?

 ‘Blog Action Day’ (capitals because it’s official) is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water…

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water, which equates to one in eight of us. A lack of basic sanitation (water dependent) causes 80% of diseases and kills more people each year than war does. Children are especially vulnerable and as a parent of a child who’s survived dysentery, it’s a most frightening (water borne) illness which we were fortunate to have nursed our child through.

The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation. So simple, yet so challenging, particularly where politics gets in the way to restrict those least able from helping themselves…

For my part, water is an environmental issue, a sustainability issue and an issue which deserves a global profile as bloggers of the world theoretically unite in one conversation…

I’m not really into research, but the US, Mexico and China apparently lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. That sounds high to me, but based on this figure, around 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, while more than 80 percent will unlikely ever be recycled.

Which brings me back to where I started out several years ago looking for a better alternative when I realised people won’t stop drinking bottled water just because I think its ecological folly.

I’m pleased, on this particular Blog Action Day, to be able to report how Aquapax is still growing from strength to strength, with a retail listing approaching 500 stores across Europe and with exciting new distribution areas embracing the change we’ve introduced in their own countries.

While it’s frustrating how some UK retailers still won’t talk to us until we can prove with expensive research reports how their particular customers might actually appreciate a more ecologically sensible choice of packaged water, we continue to grow through customer choice exercised within Tesco, Waitrose and Monop (part of Monoprix Group) so this makes three of the largest and most respected retailers in the world.

I’ve updated the ‘where can I buy Aquapax’ listing below with the UK based stores we know about and ask you to please let us know if you’d like to add your local independent retail outlet to this list.

Warm wishes

N

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Well it rhymes with trouble and strife, but no-one really wants to read of another’s woes, so I opted for the more palatable headline… We too have the day to day pressures of running a growing business, late paying customers and un-cooperative banks, but in the wider scheme of things, we’re winning down here at AQUAPAX head office, with both our customer base and distribution network moving in the right direction. More importantly, as an entrepreneur with a reasonably healthy ‘macro’ perspective, we remain healthy and happy as a family during those precious (few) hours we spend together.

Someone bought my attention to a hydration article recently which is worth sharing… Recent research has uncovered habitual dehydration among 96% of the UK’s office workers, which has prompted a campaign by one of the more worthy natural juice companies (Juice Doctor). It’s designed to educate the nation and encourage healthy hydration habits, urging people to check the colour of their urine as a matter of course and setting the nation a goal to ‘keep it light’.

Apparently two in every three Brits are dehydrated and while our bodies offer an accurate visual detector to understand our individual hydration level, there’s a distinct lack of understanding of what the campaign refers to as ‘simple biology’. Their findings show that 93 percent of office workers either don’t check and/or don’t know what the colour of their urine indicates. For those who didn’t study biology, the lighter your urine, the better you’re hydrated!

The ‘Keep It Light!’ survey polled over 1,000 UK office workers and apparently a shocking 75 percent of UK office workers cited their first response to a headache as taking headache pills rather than drinking more water. This coincides with my observations at the fabulous designer label Theatre de la Mode’s Olympian Exhibition in Brompton Rd last week; we allowed a significant quantity of water for consumption on a hot evening, only to find a majority seeking hydration in vodka punch. It was a nice punch, but moderation went out of the window! Still, the wise ones would have been grateful for their AQUAPAX experience next morning…

Back to the report, which claims the majority of folk surveyed, 60% believed they drank enough water, less than 4% were actually getting the recommended 7+ glasses of water per day. Shockingly (from my perspective) almost three-quarters of the respondents admitted to drinking either no water at all or only one to two glasses.  I find it’s a good discipline to keep my AQUAPAX on my desk at work. I can then re-fill it from the water dispenser (aka tap) and put the lid back on to keep my water cool inside the pack rather than sitting in an open glass warming while awaiting colleagues to cough in it… (bad image but that’s the reality!)

It’s proven that a mere 2% drop in hydration can lead to a massively disproportionate 20% drop in concentration. This leads to the ‘Keep It Light!’ campaign crux which warns a habitually dehydrated worker can be wasting up to one day per week in loss of concentration. Staggering statistics!

Enough of the public service broadcast for one blog, what’s happenening at AQUAPAX head office I hear you ask… Yes that was a typo if you looked closely, but if it’s good word for a 4 year old, it’s cool by me!

AQUAPAX has commenced the long awaited launch into the first 60 Tesco stores, primarily across the south east of England, but some as far afield as the midlands where we’re in Coventry and Stratford Upon Avon. It’s an ambient listing in the first instance, which means the AQUAPAX will probably be on the shelf rather than in the fridge, however, that’s the way it has to be before we can roll out to a more accessible store base within a more prominent front of store location.

We’re awaiting the wider scale roll out before making noise and generating attention to our presence, which we’re planning to coincide with our new website – running a little late but live before the Summer’s out.  On that note, it’s time to start the week – well it is almost 07:00 so the week has officially begun. Keep smilling 🙂

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Earth Day is celebrated across the world today (April 22nd) ever since the first ever designated Earth Week gathering which was organised by some particularly forward thinking student folk in Philadelphia back in 1970. Isn’t Wikipedia wonderful? 😉

That particular week started on April 16 and ended on what they called Earth Day, namely April 22. This day has been and continues to be observed with growing global support, up to the point where it’s now recognised in virtually every country on Earth.

As one who didn’t previously make any effort to understand the history of the occasion, it’s always been a day to make an extra effort to reduce my consumption. I cycle or walk to work if at all possible and in my own little way, I try to use whatever influence I have on those around me as an example of ‘living the other way – at least for a day’.

I had a day-dream today – or might it have been a premonition – that one day AQUAPAX will become the global sponsor for Earth Day. In the day-dream there was an inevitable incongruity for a premium eco-chic portable water brand to sponsor something that’s bigger than any brand (there’s a challenge for the guys at Coke) but that led me to ponder a solution…

Instead of going for the corporate style global sponsorship, I decided we can still achieve the token ideal by asking all our regular consumers to use their empty AQUAPAX containers for one more day during Earth Week (proving that by and large, we can almost always make do with what we typically choose to throw away) and then to cut the containers in half and plant a couple of tree seeds in the 2 half containers that leaves them. It’s a fitting way for a container mostly made of wood to end its life and it’s still recycling in a more direct action Earth Day kind of way… Mrs. Green will be proud of me…

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It can attract undesirable reaction to align oneself too closely to any particular cause, but the Copenhagen summit underway at the moment is one I do feel quite strongly about.

I don’t advocate marching on parliament (it only serves to alienate less exuberant members of society) but I do implore common sense thought and consensus wherever possible on the subject. Copenhagen gives politicians, business folk and consumers alike an excuse to bring the subject onto a wider agenda, and for my part, it’s time to get off the fence…

Saving energy also saves money, which is a win win scenario for all irrespective of your personal thoughts on CO2 emissions. If you consider the energy a data centre uses to keep computers cool, there’s a huge potential savings to be just by doing things properly! You don’t have to boycott the internet in protest…

Another area we may agree on is that (as far as I’m aware) we only have the one planet, so advocating industrial growth without consideration of consequence seems rather naïve. Consumption is great, both for those doing the consuming and for those profiting from the supply chain that facilitates the things we consume, yet there comes a point where the wider ‘value’ discussion has to be taken into account among the cost of goods.

Transporting cheap products without any distinguishing characteristics over considerable distances – simply because it can be executed cheaper than producing or procuring a comparable product nearer the point of use is not sensible.

It can often make a little more margin for the organisation involved in the transaction, but takes little or no account of the wider environmental impact. Forget CO2 for a moment and consider the deteriorating state of our road system; under constant abuse from wagons delivering cheap produce and costing the wider communities considerably more to repair the damaged road infrastructure than the pennies saved from buying the lowest cost ‘transported goods’.

Using local labour and local resources to satisfy local demand is the essence of the transition town movement which I’m involved with. Some find it hypocritical that I support local growing and consumption, while importing a premium mineral water at the same time, but try thinking inside the box (or just thinking) before casting stones. Look at the traditional retail shelves stacked full of unsustainably cheap and extraordinarily heavy beverage products and you may get where I’m coming from…

AQUAPAX is unashamedly a pure, premium and portable mineral water product in a more ecologically sensible, re-usable and recyclable carton package. It not only has a lower carbon footprint that the cheaper alternatives, it is fundamentally superior quality (microbiologically and chemically) to practically every comparable product on the market, including the significantly more premium ones. Suitable for babies without the need for any pretentious package – it’s as sustainable as a pure product designed for portable consumption can be.

AQUAPAX is a near perfect 7.1pH

For all that, you’ll still find me advocating tap water if you’re near a tap and thirsty… you must honestly know there’s nothing wrong with it and it has the lowest carbon footprint bar none, but AQUAPAX does give you a near perfect, pure and nitrate free alternative if you really are concerned with the vastly over hyped potential contaminants lurking within your tap…

Consideration of the wider environment, while respecting the right to consume has to come onto the public agenda somewhere along the line – I wonder if Copenhagen will bring us closer to that line? 🙂

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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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Life has never been boring and this last weekend was spent enjoying some wonderfully talented bands playing live music at the Chalgrove Live Music Festival in Oxfordshire, where Aquapax was one of their core sponsors.  sunset over chalgrove

The Festival is designed for people to enjoy live music in a family fun atmosphere while raising money for local worthy causes – this year’s charity was ‘crossroads – caring for carers’.

They had 20 bands booked in total and the face painters and fun-fair helped bring a real family feel to this intimate live music fest, which was real fun to be a part of. spiderman likes aquapax

My son and I took a stand outside the beer tent  to offer ice cool Aquapax original (and energy drinks) to the bands as well as for the warm and weary members of the public – drinking beer for 12 hours in serious sunshine isn’t for the faint hearted, although we met plenty of people willing to try! 

All things considered, the event was well run and there were some genuinely nice people there. We had a really enjoyable weekend in the sunshine and it was great that the weather folk got it so wrong on this occasion!

zebra guy at the CLMF 2009

zebra guy at the CLMF 2009

Bands worthy of a mention from this particular critic were:

The Motowners ; Strange Folk (amazing voice) ; Quo Incidence (if you like that kind of thing) ; All Right Now (must be my generation) ; Jiv’in Jules Jazz Ensemble (pity a lot of folk were still in bed) ; The Whoo (?) Ann Duggan (amazing voice) ; and of course The Kommitments (always end with a good boogie…

Coming home to a warm shower and a proper bed are always a bonus of a festival – or any weekend in a tent for that matter!

A bit of good news this week is that Aqua Amore – ‘the UK’s largest water delivery specialist’ has responded to our customer demand in taking on home distribution for Aquapax across London and the home counties, plus wider distribution nationwide. Now the challenge is to dust off the enquiries database to see if we can bring this new alliance to their attention and help generate some home delivery orders in due course.

Tomorrow’s another day in the big smoke and then Friday is looking like a journey to Peterborough beckons. What is it they say about winners never quitting and quitters never winning…

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Even this far down the road, I still meet a number of people who don’t get the Aquapax proposition and who sadly won’t allow however many seconds it would take to look at our pack design and fathom it out.

official Aquapax logo

official Aquapax logo

The proposition could be perceived as too complicated I suppose, so I keep on trying to simplify my pitch description to capture the essence of what Aquapax is in however many milli seconds people give me.
Current soundbites embrace: “It’s one of the purest mineral water’s in the world – even suitable for infants!” or “It’s pure mineral water sealed airtight and protected from light which keeps it tasting fresh!” or “It’s premium quality natural mineral water in the lowest carbon impact package option on the planet!” or “It’s pure portable water in a leach free re-usable package!” or “I’m an environmentalist and hate plastic – this is my answer to the scourge of plastic bottled water!” or “We won best bottled water of 2008 and it’s not even in a bottle!” or “It’s natural mineral water in a carton, so it stays colder for longer and you can re-fill it when it’s empty!”… there’s more, but I’m sure you get the idea.
While all the soundbites are true, as a brutally honest lady told me earlier today, they’re clearly not breaking through at the level of the masses, where sensational news or celebrity association or selling through years of advertising propaganda are what’s actually piercing the public’s earplugged consciousness. (she didn’t say the bit about ear plugged consciousness – that was me trying to paint a picture of an ignoramous.)
I clearly need to spend some time pondering how to get our marketing message simplified further, to help the mainstream get it.  I don’t honestly believe our premium quality natural mineral water in a paper carton will ever appeal to the entire mainstream, but if anyone has any enlightenment to share, I’m open minded and I promise to give you as much time as you need to convince me – within reason… 🙂

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