Ever wondered how you could support ethical, sustainable businesses? Welcome to a new regular series highlighting products, services and organizations that are ‘doing well by doing good’.

Soma, a certified B Corp , makes beautiful water filters, carafes and pitchers. They believe everyone deserves clean drinking water, and  actively support organizations like charity: water who are working to solve the global water crisis. Every filter sold helps in those efforts.

We spoke to ‘Chief Hydration Officer’ Mike Del Ponte on how he started his organization after a frustrating experience, and how great design and social impact helps drive loyalty to their business.

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Please give us an overview of your organization?

Soma is a sustainable water filter company on a mission to hydrate the world. Soma’s products include a 6-Cup Glass Carafe, described by Fast Company as “the world’s most beautiful water filter,” and a 10-Cup Pitcher with a sustainably harvested wooden handle. The filtration technology is plant-based for the freshest taste and most eco-friendly solution. Filters are delivered to customers’ doors through Soma’s convenient Filters by Mail service, so they never forget to change their filter on time.

How did you get started with this idea?

About 4 years ago, I was hosting a dinner party, and everything was set up perfectly. As my friends started arriving, one of them asked for a glass of water. I went to my kitchen, opened my fridge, and grabbed my Brita. When I looked down and saw it, I immediately thought to myself, “There’s no way I can put this ugly thing on the dinner table.” So I started pouring water from the Brita into a glass wine decanter. As I did, the lid of the Brita fell off and water spilled everywhere.

As I was cleaning up the mess, my friend walked into the kitchen. I asked him, “Why don’t they just design something that’s beautiful and actually works?” He replied, “Why don’t we do it?” The next day, we started working on our vision for a new water filter that’s beautifully designed, convenient for customers, good for the planet and that gives back to charity. Soma was born.

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What is the purpose of this organization?

Soma is on a mission to improve life for everyone who drinks water, with sustainable, plant-based filters that make water healthy and delicious, beautiful carafes and pitchers, and the convenient Filters by Mail service. And, of course, we do our bit in helping people in developing countries get clean drinking water, too.

What are you proudest of?

We’re a proud sponsor of charity: water and partner with them in their mission to bring safe drinking water to millions of people without access to it.

Thousands of people now have access to clean water through projects funded by the Soma community. Other than donations via our filter-sales and Special Giving Projects, our employees launch their own fundraising campaigns as well, and Soma matches employee donations to charity: water 100%.

How do you think you are different to your competitors?

Social responsibility. Not only do we give back to those who have no access to clean water, but our filters are made from renewable resources, and we are proud of the reduction of our carbon footprint. We also offset our carbon footprint; for 2014, for example, Soma partnered with 3Degrees to completely offset all of our emissions. We also make sure to choose only those suppliers whom we deem to be socially and environmentally responsible.
We also help our customers by taking the hassle out of having to remember to change their filters when we automatically send a fresh one to them every 60 days.

What do your customers/community say about your organization that makes you happy?

Our customers get showered with compliments on how beautiful their Soma Carafes and Pitchers are. But, more importantly, most of them rave about how Soma turns their local water into something so delicious that it makes them drink and hydrate more.

Word of mouth helps us spread the Soma love. Each additional person our customers introduce to Soma adds to the generous community we have who help people in other parts of the world get clean drinking water — simply by giving themselves clean drinking water.

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Where can people go to support your organization?

Soma products are available via www.drinksoma.com. Every time you buy a Soma filter, we donate to charity: water projects. These contributions go directly to sustainable, community-owned water projects in developing countries.

What are your plans for the future?

Our mission to hydrate the world is focused on developing new products that enhance our customers lives, while also giving clean and safe drinking water to those who don’t have access to it.

Afdhel Aziz is the co-author of the forthcoming book on social entrepreneurship ‘Good is the New Cool’ available for pre-order on Amazon now.

If you have a suggestion for a business or organization you think should be highlighted, please email him at goodisthenewcool@gmail.com

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