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Posts Tagged ‘revolution in the air’

or dreadful delays would be another title which is not quite as disparaging of our current website. There’s little wrong with a static website – particularly if people manage to find the reasonably prominent ‘visit our founder’s blog’ link where they can then access this particular oracle. Equally, there’s a lot more it could do if we integrated this blog and other online content within the site, all accessed from a central url.

We chose wordpress as the site platform some time ago and I then worked on quite a tight brief with an exceptionally talented young student from Sussex Down’s College who I met during last year’s Aquapax viral media programme. NB. You can google search this year’s submissions on you tube – type ‘within the last month’ to see this year’s clips – they’re typically fun and one in particular has already attracted as many views as last year’s winner took a whole year to achieve!

In any event, my chosen (he volunteered actually) student’s competence to deliver the site was never in doubt, but I guess with hindsight, he always had too much on his plate, where the fact our website was to be a reference site for him (rather than a commercial project) meant we were obliged to wait…

Here we are 12 months down the road (sounds ludicrous now I see it in type) and he’s politely baled out, leaving us with an unforeseen (and unbudgeted for) dilemma…  So I’ve dusted off the original brief (which pretty much stands) and sent it off to a seemingly talented freelance wordpress developer in Brighton.

Now we wait again to see if she can fit us in, when she might fit us in and what she might charge for completing the task.  Teaching myself CSS might be another way forward, but there are too many other draws on my time right now, so that’s an unlikely solution! 

awarded to Just Drinking Water for AQUAPAX

Did I mention our A5 postcard (available in the ‘downloads’ section above) we send out to communicate what Aquapax is and why it’s a good idea has been shortlisted for ‘the green awards’ in the best direct response category? Sadly I can’t make the award dinner in town, but I’ve written to ask if we can sponsor the water to showcase Aquapax to those who haven’t yet seen it.

That’s my outlook calendar calling me in the background to get back to work… I’ll up-date when we have a solution 🙂

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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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The media’s full of ‘LFW’ and quite right too – it’s something London’s managed to retain on the international kudos stakes and no matter how hard our bankers seemingly try to screw up the nation’s reputation, creativity continues to flourish!

We had a number of requests for sponsorship support this year which is encouraging in a way considering the folk who must have come to know us through our limited Estethica alliance over the past couple of years.

This year’s ‘beautiful people’ sipping our wonderful water were the guests at the Nolcha Fashion Lounge at the Trafalgar Hotel, held in association with Bel Esprit, Gina Conway AVEDA and AMAKA, all co-ordinated through my lovely friend Lucy at the independent and supreme quality label Tammam. This was one of two events with Gina Conway AVEDA – but the brand is a favourite of mine…

We also assisted the extremely well patronised Ecoluxe Show held at One Aldwych and opened by Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez along with an entourage of journalists… The Ecoluxe event showcased some of the worlds foremost and celebrated ethical designers, hence the celebrity vistors who tend to know their stuff… 

And at an altogether more sedate pace we’ve again worked with our good friends Sam and Valerio over at Gallery Fumi in Tabernacle Street and at their private space on Hoxton Square.

There were other visitors sampling Aquapax at some of the more discrete shows in town, but if I write about those, they’d lose some of their intimacy next year… 😉

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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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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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It’s the final week of Organic Fortnight and we’ve had a great response to our customer promotions. I’ve been doing a series of customer tastings to introduce new customers and say hi to some of our long standing friends, and the atmosphere has been really positive.

Whole Foods Market in particular have got their stores behind the integrity of Aquapax in putting together a great customer offer for the whole month of September. There’s never been a better time to buy Aquapax in town, while out of town, anyone who’s been to Brighton recently without visiting VBbites Café at Hove lagoon, needs to make another trip – yes their vegan food is worth it and of course they serve wonderfully chilled Aquapax.

Next week, is another major milestone in our brief history, as we celebrate The Westminster Collection’s networking event, ‘A Night To Remember With TWC‘, at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday 22nd. The exquisitely positioned networking evening has been a complete sell-out, with over 850 pre-registrations. Aquapax is the mineral water sponsor for this prestigious evening, so it will be especially rewarding to see our iconic blue cartons wandering off down the Strand after the show.

At the same time as the TWC evening, Aquapax are also the prime sponsors at the oh so chic and totally inspirational Gallery FUMI launch party in Tabernacle St. and also at the more intimate Gallery FUMI and Studio Toogood Corn Craft dinner at their Hoxton Square venue. Both of these events kick-off their celebrations for the 2009 London Design Festival and we’re thrilled to be a part of the festivities.

The Aquapax ‘water wall’ (pictures to follow) is being designed by the immensely talented Pierric Verger who’s put a lot of himself into getting the wall right. The intention is to communicate the flowing energy of Aquapax to everyone visiting the gallery, as well as to keep the water chilled for those partaking of non-alcoholic refreshment.

Enquiries so far this week include Denmark and Puerto Rico, but then it is only Monday. Who ever said dreams don’t come true just didn’t work hard enough…

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