Nestlé Waters Betrays Communities, Ducks Environmental Commitments in Sale of Portfolio of Bottled Water Brands
Michael O’Heaney, Executive Director
(510) 684-6417, [email protected]
Berkeley, CA — Nestlé Waters’ $4 billion sale of the country’s largest portfolio of bottled water brands to two private equity firms spells trouble for communities and ecosystems already feeling the strain of that company’s water extractions and plastic waste. The Nestlé brands being sold include regional bottled water giants Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Zephyrhills, Pure Life and Ice Mountain among others. The sale would represent one of the largest transfers of privately held water in recent memory.
The Story of Stuff Project, a long-time Nestlé critic which has supported local communities’ rights to determine how their water is used, has issued the following statement:
“Over the last decade, Nestlé Waters and its bottled water brands have encountered vocal community opposition to the impacts of its business practices, from the depletion of water sources to the plastic waste it creates, and more. This sale raises a number of pressing concerns that require the immediate attention of lawmakers, regulators and others charged with overseeing water bottling.
Nestlé must not be allowed to simply walk away from the consequences it has imposed on communities and the environment in Canada and the US.
The entry of two private equity firms — who will be motivated to increase profitability through cost cutting — increases the likelihood that the limited commitments Nestlé has made to the communities that host its operations and to environmental sustainability will go down the drain. Indeed, as recently as last month Nestle was talking up its environmental and social credentials in efforts to win new permits to remove water in Florida and Colorado.
In fact, Nestlé appears to be engaged in a historic feat of greenwashing, ducking its commitments to reduce the company’s plastics footprint by jettisoning its bulk bottled water brands in favor of brands like Pellegrino and Acqua Panna that are more likely to be packaged in aluminum or glass. For three years running, Nestlé has been one of the top three corporate polluters in the Break Free from Plastic movement’s annual brand audit.
This past fall, we joined partners in calling on Nestlé to divest itself of six of its most bitterly disputed water sources in California, Colorado, Michigan, Florida, Maine and Ontario, Canada prior to any sale.
Today, along with our partners in the United States and Canada, we call on elected officials, regulators and advocates to bring the light of public scrutiny to bear on this sale of our water, essential to life, to One Rock and Metropoulos.
In the meantime, regulators should declare all of Nestlé’s current water extraction permits (many of which are disputed) to be void and prevent their transfer to One Rock Capital and Metropoulous.
Elected leaders should also pursue moratoria on any new permits to bottle water, from any source, by any corporation in Canada and the US.”
About This Campaign
For decades, Nestlé Waters — the world’s largest water bottler — has bought up access to public water across North America to turn our most precious public resource into a private commodity. Paying next to nothing in royalties, Nestlé makes billions of dollars a year selling our water. Over recent years, The Story of Stuff Project has supported and partnered with communities across the US and Canada fighting to take back public control of their water. With Nestlé now planning to sell its Nestlé Waters North America division, we’re shining a spotlight on six of Nestlé’s bottling operations that have generated fierce backlash resulting from the impact on the surrounding communities and their ecosystems. Visit our campaign page to learn more or add your name to the petition.
We’re demanding that Nestlé end the extraction and revert control over these troubled waters back to local community control. Add your name to the petition!