Bengt Rittri is a Swedish environmental entrepreneur who is committed to protecting and improving human and planetary health by helping to create a more sustainable future. A father of two children, Bengt believes having access to clean water and air is a basic human right, which is why he has made it a life mission to deliver consumers the world's most efficient water purifiers and indoor air purifiers that remove health threatening contaminants. In 1996, Bengt founded global indoor air brand Blueair, which he forged into a global company with sales in over 62 countries, including China, and the USA before divesting to Unilever at the end of 2016. Today Bengt is helping to shape a more water-wise future with Bluewater, a venture founded in 2013 and already a rapidly emerging world leader in innovating, manufacturing and marketing premium water purification and delivery solutions for homes, businesses and public distribution.
Bluewater’s premium water purifiers deliver unmatched clean water delivery efficiency that harness the company’s patented second-generation SuperiorOsmosis™ technology to provide unmatched purification efficiency, operating capacity and service life. Bluewater technology slashes the water wastage common to traditional RO systems by over 80 percent and removes contaminants such as toxic metals, chemicals, pharmaceutical residues, micro-organisms, and micro-plastic particles down to 0.0001 microns in size.
Bengt has put providing clean water access to everyone on the planet and ending reliance on single-use plastics at the heart of the Bluewater business vision to reimagine point-of-use water delivery. Bengt says human ingenuity can develop disruptive transformational thinking that will provide more people around the globe with clean drinking water solutions in ways that can end the need for throwaway plastic bottles. As part of his vision for a better future, Bengt in late 2017 launched a worldwide movement to change the existing water distribution system that sees billions of plastic bottles shipped annually from one end of the world to another and often ending up in landfills, the oceans or shorelines as litter that that takes thousands of years to disintegrate. Bengt practices yoga in his spare time as he strongly believes that embracing a healthy lifestyle is the foundation of improving the quality of life in society. He lives in Stockholm, the Swedish capital.
How did you get into the industry?
I read about and saw all the problems with plastic in the ocean. It didn’t take long to understand the threat posed to human and planetary health being caused. So, I decided I had to do something about it. That’s why I created Bluewater. We are a young company, just over four years old, but today we innovate, make and market the best water purifiers in the world, which not only remove contaminants like lead, chemicals and micro-plastics from drinking water but also can be generated locally in large quantities to stop the need to both use and transport plastic water bottles from one side of the world to the other.
Any emerging industry trends?
The biggest single trend is that a growing number of people are awakening to the environmental problems caused by unfettered use of plastic – and the problems posed to human and planetary health resulting from that pollution. The big multinational companies have woken up to the need to do something about the problem with single-use plastic bottles and packaging, but they’re like giant container ships that take a lot of effort and time to change direction. A start-up like Bluewater is more nimble and able to create change rapidly.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Our planet is a big home for all of us and the challenges and opportunities differ from one continent, or even country, to the next. But one thing is clear and that is a very substantial number of people for a whole variety of reasons do not trust the water coming out of their taps. And with good reason. Studies by the likes of Orb Media indicate that micro-plastics, for example, are found in almost all tap water around the world as well as in bottled water. Our opportunity is that our water purifiers offer consumers and businesses a ‘here and now’ solution that addresses their fears and need for clean water. With patented direct flow, second-generation reverse osmosis technology, Bluewater is today at the leading edge of delivering pure water in large quantities efficiently and effectively and also reducing the water wastage traditional to reverse osmosis systems by up to almost 80 percent.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
Our inspiration stems from the notion that everyone on the planet has the right to drink pure water. To deliver on that vision and to become a force for good demands that we continue to invest in coming up with great new ways to generate and deliver pure water. And to do it in ways that please people who want well engineered and designed products that deliver on their promise.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We want to work with inventors, innovators and other start-up companies who have great ideas around dealing with the problem of providing people with safe, healthy water in ways that help rather than damage the environmental health of our planet. That’s one reason we launched the one-million-dollar 2018 Imagine H20 Urban Drinking Water Scarcity Challenge, which aims to address urban drinking water challenges in a world where the UN predicts some 5.7 billion people will be living in urban areas running short of drinking water by 2050. Looking to the immediate future, we are also launching our own range of environmentally-friendly glass and steel water bottles this autumn with the aim to help challenge the need for single-use plastic bottles, and later this year we’ve plans to launch a unique approach to allow consumers to add natural tastes to their water.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
We’re building a network around the world of partners and friends who share our vision and values and would like to help us deliver on our promises.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
I’m overwhelmed by problem of plastic pollution in our oceans and I really want to find a solution together with friends.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Pure fresh water made locally
How do you motivate others?
I work together with my colleagues and we all share the feeling that we want to make a change in the world. We are all pretty much egoless. I may be the founder and owner of the company, but I want everybody to feel we are a family who stand together.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Make sure you work in a company that really cares about the people and the work you do.
What do I do best?
Innovate and lead
What makes me the best version of myself?
By trying to be myself and transparent, I can together with others around me also improve myself and my company
What are my aspirations?
I constantly strive to be better and clearer in working together with my colleagues in our efforts to achieve success in the world and become at communicating that to everyone within the company
My Biggest Success?
Having close contact with my kids and trying to be myself all the time as well as staying close to my ideas and feelings, doing good things and not thinking about making money.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Selling my company Blueair that I had spent 20 years building into a world leading indoor air purification business because I craved a life with many more challenges that would help keep more alert – so I started Bluewater
Be grateful and do great things
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Will Smith, Johnny Ivy and Steve Jobs
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
A small island in the Stockholm archipelago
My Favorite Products/Objects?
My brain and my hands and my heart as well as the friends around me who I can contact thanks to electronic and digital technology
My Current Passions?
Bluewater and getting plastic out of the ocean