Antonio Espinosa, CEO and co-founder of Auara.
“Entrepreneurship and mostly social entrepreneurship is not the easy way. It is the hardest way, but with the greatest destination”
This young architect with a wide experience in social projects and volunteering all over the world decided to start a social enterprise aimed at improving the lives of the most needy people. Antonio is a great entrepreneur, a magnificent human being and was recently included in the Forbes 30under30 list of Spain’s most influential young entrepreneurs.
At Sustainable Brands Madrid he will talk about his great project, Auara, a water brand that dedicates 100% of its dividends to solidarity projects.
What would society be without social entrepreneurs?
More boring, more unfair, more unsustainable and poorer. I prefer to think about what society will be with many more social entrepreneurs!
AUARA is a mineral water brand that invests 100% of its dividends in bringing drinking water to people who do not have it. Today, more than 12,000 people consume drinking water thanks to Spanish consumers. How did the idea come about and what difficulties have they overcome?
The idea came up after volunteering in several social projects in different countries. We discovered that lack to water access was the worst poverty that existed, and we decided we had to do something about it. When we decided to start a social enterprise to fund water access projects, we fell in love with the idea of selling water to be able to provide water to others. And then came the difficult part. It took us 2.5 years to sell the first bottle. It was not easy to launch a 100% social startup, to enter in the beverage market, to finance the initial investments, etc. But when you want something that much, you never stop.
You support the circular economy. 100% of your bottles are made of recycled R-Pet plastic, so you are a socially and environmentally committed company. How has helped you the fact of betting on sustainable development from the beginning?
I do not know if it helps in a commercial basis, but the truth is this is the only way we can do things. We need to go for those things we believe in, and we deeply believe in sustainability. Being the first brand in Europe to produce the bottles with 100% recycled plastic is just the beginning.
At Sustainable Brands Madrid 2018, you will talk about the success of business when it comes to serving society. How is this achieved?
Work. Ridiculous amounts of work. And passion. Because to work so much for something you need real passion. But it is important to tell the truth. Entrepreneurship and mostly social entrepreneurship is not the easy way. It is the hardest way, but with the greatest destination.
660 million people do not have access to water, there are migrations due to lack of water and food and climate change continues its advance. How can the global challenge of water supply and access be overcome?
That is a super hard to answer question. I do not think anybody knows the answer although great experts think about it constantly. We are not any great experts, so what we do is focusing on what we can do. Each and every person we provide with water is our greatest mission. And being change makers in a huge market like Food & Beverage, influencing big companies to change their ways, is something we feel so proud of.
But if I have to say something it would be changing our model of individual success. From the current one, based on being as rich as possible, to a new one based on having the best possible impact with your life. I believe the great problems of humanity are not solved by technology, laws or investments, they are solved by changing in individual’s attitudes and behaviors.
Water is present in Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. Do you trust SDGs as a strategy for a better world?
They are great and I deeply trust them. But I am not sure if the majority of those in power do.