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Help us design the project Manifesto and Action Plan and create the rural Bauhaus laboratories for the social economy by contributing to the collection of best practices!

Agualocal- Spain #

AGUALOCAL was created to offer a simple, modern, and delicious alternative to regular and bottled water. The company operates with a focus on minimizing environmental impact at all stages of production, distribution, and marketing of the product. It provides customers with a service that allows them to produce and bottle their own water from local mains water using equipment that produces and refills bottles with cold water, hot water, natural, and carbonated options. In addition, AGUALOCAL offers reusable glass containers tailored to each customer, effectively reducing plastic use. Sustainability is a primary objective, but AGUALOCAL also places strong emphasis on social responsibility and sponsors sports and social activities in underdeveloped countries.

Problem addressed #

The company addresses two environmental challenges: the generation of single-use plastic waste and the CO2 emissions from water transportation. The HORECA sector (hospitality, restaurants, and cafes) has become increasingly concerned about its environmental impact, making it the main sector that AGUALOCAL serves. For AGUALOCAL, sustainability is the cornerstone of its business, as it is no longer a choice, but a necessity demanded by consumers.

Objectives & implementation #

The main objective of reducing the environmental impact of bottled water is achieved through several measures:

  1. The production and bottling of water is done “in situ” by connecting a water treatment station to the local water network. This avoids the use of plastic bottles and reduces environmental impact. Additionally, the use of reusable glass water bottles minimizes economic and environmental costs.
  2. The use of the local water network reduces CO2 emissions as there is no need to transport water.

Stakeholders #

The main stakeholders of this initiative are companies in the hospitality sector and some public organizations that have hired AGUALOCAL’s services and have stopped using plastic for water consumption in their facilities. The primary beneficiaries are these businesses, which have significantly reduced their waste production, and the general population, who benefits from any action that minimizes environmental impact. AGUALOCAL also supports social and sports initiatives, with one of the beneficiaries being the sports organization “Club Olímpico de Vedra.” This entity is sponsored by AGUALOCAL and aims to promote sports among young citizens of Vedra and to advocate for responsible resource use among this group.

Timescale #

The AGUALOCAL project began in 2015 and is now present throughout Spain. It is in the process of expanding internationally by joining a water sector business group that already operates in 90 countries.

Transferability #

The company’s goal is to minimize its environmental impact through responsible water use by reducing plastic waste production and transportation pollution. This concept can be applied to any sector, not just hospitality, and any company where customers or employees consume water can adopt this sustainable and environmentally responsible system. The avoidance of plastic is becoming increasingly popular across various industries, but until now, few have applied it to direct water consumption. This sustainable approach can be applied to other types of businesses as well. Additionally, the company transfers its commitment to society and the environment to social projects in which it actively collaborates.

Impact & Results #

The project has resulted in the avoidance of over 100 million plastic bottles and a reduction in CO2 emissions from water transportation. In addition to these direct environmental benefits, AGUALOCAL has also demonstrated its commitment to sustainability through a social project in India. In partnership with Fundación Vicente Ferrer, the company constructed a water purification plant that has provided access to drinking water for over 3,000 families.

Results of the World Cafè analysis #

Weaknesses #

The availability and quality of water varies greatly between countries and regions, with some areas having ample water while others face higher prices. In Galicia, there is a significant amount of water, but not all countries have the same quality of water, which can make replicating projects like AGUALOCAL difficult. Italy also faces challenges with water quality, but some areas have installed filters in homes. However, relying solely on bottled water is not a sustainable solution and there is a need to transition towards using tap water at homes. In Ireland, local authorities provide drinking water to every home. Despite these efforts, the competition from other companies remains a challenge in the industry. To address these issues, the company may need to innovate and develop better filtering systems.

Strenghts #

The main goal of AGUALOCAL is to make people confident in the quality of their water. The project offers hot and cold water at a very affordable price, and the municipality has completely eliminated plastic consumption. To ensure that the water quality is good, the company aims to replicate the process to spring water and eliminate any chemicals. Although some people may not want to pay for the water, it is important to consider reducing plastic and promoting a zero km approach. The process of washing the bottles is also considered in the overall approach. The simplicity of the project is also a key factor.

Possible implementations through the New European Bauhaus and digital transition #

The New European Bauhaus and digital transition can play a significant role in addressing the weaknesses of the best practices and replicating them in other countries. Firstly, through a strong brand design that creates a positive image and attracts people to participate. Secondly, incorporating the use of rain water and filtration systems to improve the quality of water. Additionally, raising awareness among citizens about the critical issue of water scarcity in the future, and the importance of reducing plastic waste and pollution. To ensure success, it is necessary for lobbying and policymaking to involve all stakeholders and take into account the three aspects of sustainability, water quality and reducing waste, from the very beginning. The implementation of any project and initiatives should also be taken to the policy level. Furthermore, the New European Bauhaus can create an attractive and visually appealing market through an awareness campaign and the design of innovative bottles that communicate an environmentally conscious message.

Role of the social economy sector in promoting & improving the best practice #

The social economy sector has a significant role to play in promoting and improving the best practice of responsible water use. It can help prevent contamination in the environment through the reduction of pesticide and chemical products. Social economy organizations can also implement this practice in other project territories. At the local level, the social economy sector can assist authorities in understanding the issues and finding solutions. Additionally, it can have an educational role in local communities, promoting awareness about sustainable water practices. In developing countries, access to safe drinking water is a pressing issue and organizations like the Fundación Vicente Ferrer play a vital role. By including the social economy in the design of projects and initiatives, it can drive change and reduce the use of plastic. The municipality can also partner with the social economy sector to offer water services to citizens, such as providing flasks to school children.

External links #

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