Loving life. Loving others. A sincere wish to create an impact.
This would be our summary of Auara, an enterprise dedicated to the production and distribution of bottled water and soft drinks. Since its beginnings the story of this firm is a story of entrepreneurship, active social engagement and inspirational leadership.
Auara has had multiple innovations during its almost four years of history. They were the first European producer of a bottle of water made 100% out of recycled plastic and last year they became also a soft drink brand launching the world's first functional and fair trade ecological soft drink.
With their activities and efforts Auara is contributing actively towards many sustainable development goals. Specifically the first (end poverty in all its forms everywhere), the third (ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages), the sixth (ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all) and the thirteenth (take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts) but also contributing indirectly to others such as goal 4: Quality Education or goal 5: Gender Equality.
Jose Luis Peña
Universidad de Navarra
Isabel Rodriguez Tejedo
Auara is an enterprise whose business model is to produce and sell products with the goal of raising enough profits to finance water access projects around the world.
Their innovation of a bottle of water made of 100% recycled materials is a disruptive innovation in a massive market where sustainability was not a strategy of the sector at the time. The team was clearly ahead of the demand, it took almost two years for the citizens and market to applaud their innovation, even if they were the first company in the whole European continent to achieve this, their efforts were not taken into account until late 2018. The founders of Auara had a clear idea, they wanted to be sustainable and ecological not only as their background mission but also during the creation process.
They have been able to sell not only a product but also the values behind it and increasing their sales by people joining a lifestyle, a project. Everyone that is part of this company leaves with a smile.
They have 70 projects in 16 countries allowing more than 42,000 people to access natural and safe water through wells, pipes and water storage. What is most important, they do this with a long-run strategy of teaching communities how to maintain and manage these wells, how to keep water clean and how to take it to their own homes. It becomes part of their new lifestyle and communities.
They were achieving goals and doubling sales when the worldwide pandemic COVID-19 arrived in Spain dramatically. Their latest social effort has been to provide hospitals with enough water for the elderly as it is less risky than having them drinking tap water. Furthermore, their donations of water to hospitals is helping increase the efficiency of doctors and nurses that now do not have to spend decisive minutes filling up a plastic cup. The anonymous call asking for help from a Spanish hospital on March 13th was the beginning of an incredible action of supplying water, as of today than 740,000 bottles have been distributed to more than 70 Spanish hospitals.
Two university students captivated by one idea: the opportunity of contributing to make the world a better place, however small the change is.
Pablo and Antonio, co-founders of Auara had always been drawn and captivated by social and human programs. After volunteering in Spain, Peru, Camboya and Ethiopia and working in social enterprises something caught their attention.
“Material deficiencies are very evident when you live in one of those countries and in our opinion the lack of water is the biggest material poverty that exists," Antonio, CEO of Auara says this after experiencing it in many different ways. Kids with serious malnutrition problems because the absence of foods due to the lack of rain, people with significant illnesses due to drinking contaminated water, the infection of wounds due to its treatments with polluted liquids, etc.
Many times for young people their age the story would finish right there but they wanted to help solving it in the way they thought they could. That is how Auara started and they soon partnered with Luis and are now a team of 13 people working relentlessly in a project that is growing, both their profits and their impacts.
Their inspiration of their innovation company starts with them feeling grateful for all they have received and discerning they had an opportunity to help. “By selling water we will get water to other places around the world that have trouble accessing it,” states Pablo, COO. This is their motto and what keeps them alive.
The social impact generated by AUARA is not limited to providing water to people who have limited access or lack the necessary resources or not even leading the way for a responsible and sustainable sector. AUARA is a company that goes further and is truly committed to the social problems that affect communities living in poverty and climate change. Water is only the gateway to many other problems such as education, health or equality.
"Let's be the first generation to get every child to school!" (web page). With this message, the company has developed numerous projects in areas of extreme poverty. AUARA has adopted the fourth objective of Sustainable Development as its own: Guarantee an inclusive, equitable and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Part of the company's social innovation has consisted in the construction of wells next to schools and housing areas. In this way, children who wasted much of their day in traveling the 10 km to the nearest well can now also go to school. The impact this generates in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where a total of 28 million children are not in school, is immense.
Health is another of the company's major concerns. The lack of clean and potable water leads to major hygiene and health problems. In 2019, AUARA generated 12.4 million liters of drinking water and carried out 20 new social projects, benefiting more than 13,800 people. Another way to generate an impact on health is by raising public awareness. AUARA uses the unique design of its bottle to carry its message to everyone. For example, the campaign “Let the lack of drinking water stop being a deadly weapon”, drawing a weapon on its bottles; or "Names with stories", putting on each bottle a name and a story of a person living in extreme poverty.
Furthermore, AUARA is a company committed to the problem of inequality. The company seeks ways to give visibility and better opportunities to women in these communities. They have campaigned as "Heroines", spreading stories of women who cannot go to school or work. His only job is to go collect water and take care of his family. In 80% of households without running water, women and girls are responsible for going for water, often with the added danger of being attacked. For this reason, AUARA also studies the strategic installation of the wells.
First of all, Auara is not a non-profit firm. It is considered a social business and all of their dividends are focused to finance water access projects around the world. This is why they call themselves a profit-firm focused on social profits.
The firm gets its profits from the sale of different bottled and canned products. Auara sells its products through their website to individuals and also offers to sell their products to bars and other companies at an offer price.
Compared to other drink selling firms Auara makes a difference. Although their products are more expensive than those of their competitors (it is a small company with high costs), Auara's innovations offers more than just a bottle and this makes an impact to their clients. Since its foundation in 2016, and once they achieved their goal of a completely sustainable process, Auara has been growing in clients. As an example, in the university where we study, the University of Navarre all the vending machines sell Auara water. It is a big improvement.
Although the business might seem the same as any other (selling water), the innovations of their process and their impact increases their sales in a great way. Their benefit comes because thanks to their innovation they can offer clients a good reason to buy, recycled bottled water.
AUARA has a huge social impact as they are contributing with their innovation towards many SDGs, they are developing projects which supply drinking water to poor communities and have enormous consequences in the lives of hundreds of people, some of the goals they work towards are: diminishing of illnesses and famines, access to hygiene and drainage, improving schooling among children and greater security to women and young girls.
The projects completed or still going around the entire world go from Haiti to Uganda, passing through Peru and Cambodia.
The aforementioned activities reckon on a budget of 91,661€. The sources of the founding are 14,183€ from AURA’s economic activity and 77,478€ from donations. Having in mind their social convictions, the firm has set some objectives to fulfill by 2023. Such as impacting 200,000 people and providing 800,000,000 liters of water.
With respect to the process in which they make their products , AURA employs a comfortable design which eases transport and storage. Moreover, the plastic used in their production is 100% recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate).
Their environmental impact is huge, AUARA has recycled 234,975kg of plastic, 10,879,304 plastic bottles and has saved 391,626 liters of petroleum.
Pablo Urbano, Chief Operating Officer
Keep this story going! Share below!
Madrid, Madrid, ES
Business Website: https://auara.org/
Year Founded: 2016
Number of Employees: 11 to 50