This July D&D London announced its partnership with the brilliant One Water, now supplying water to all of our restaurants, and saving lives in the process, bringing safe, clean water to the people and places that need it most. Curious to know more about this philanthropic business, we put a few questions to its founder, Duncan Goose...
What inspired you to set up One Water?
'I spent two years motorbiking around the world and had many amazing, and life-changing, experiences – not least living through Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed 20,000 people and did billions of dollars' worth of damage. Clean water became a hugely valuable commodity and at one point I had to smuggle a bottle of water – given to me by an American military relief flight – out of a compound. When I came home I went back into the marketing industry, but always wondered what I could do to help people less fortunate than us. Around four years later, that idea became One Water; a water brand that gives away all its profits (£14 million to date) to help people gain access to clean water. So far we've helped over three million people and now we've partnered with D&D London we hope the restaurants and their customers will help us get to our target of £20m by 2020.'
What has been your biggest challenge?
'Distribution. The bottled water market is incredibly competitive and a low margin business. We are not the cheapest brand on the market, so it's tough to win new business when the majority of the industry is just looking at the bottom line. But we do have a pretty special point of difference and when stockists, like D&D London, see the value of what we do, together we can cut through most of the commercial challenges. It's what makes for great partnerships. We're really proud of what we do, and we love working with people who share our vision.'
And your proudest moment?
'In July 2011, the worst drought for 60 years hit East Africa. Within minutes of it being announced on the BBC, we had committed to put £1 million on the ground within four days. It was more money than most European governments put in, and it was released faster than any organisation. We kept 250,000 people alive by tankering water into a region before the relief effort really geared up. I went over with Channel5 News months later to discover that people had been walking up to two days to find water, in areas where some sources were contaminated with cholera. Many didn't make it, they literally died whilst trying to find water. I sat with one mother who'd lost her child – the same age as my newborn son. It brought tears to my eyes then, as it has done now, writing this, even five years later.'
How can people support One Water?
'By buying/stocking/selling One Water as – D&D London is – but also by thanking people, showing appreciation for their buying a bottle of water that may well save a child's life somewhere in the world. There are other ways to get involved, which people can discover on our website.'
What is your ultimate goal?
'The eradication of global water scarcity for the 663 million people still affected by it. Aside from running One Water, I've also started up a project called the Global Investment Fund for Water, which, if successful, could raise up to $4 billion a year. Sounds crazy I know, but it now has the backing of the World Bank, the UN and many governments. On 21st April 2017, the world's finance ministers will get together in Washington DC and have the opportunity to make it a reality, or kick the idea into touch... It's all about changing one life, one day at a time with One Water and solving one of the biggest challenges humanity faces. If we're successful, I'll definitely be dining at a D&D London restaurant to celebrate!'