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Why Nestle is one of the most hated companies in the world?
by  Katherine Fairbanks - June 20, 2020
We need to talk about Nestle and water.  Clean water is important. It’s a necessity. We can all agree on that, right?  Here’s a problem: when clean bottled water is classified as a human need instead of a human right, it allows giant corporations like Nestle to help themselves to whatever water they find.  Nestle’s former chief executive officer Helmut Maucher said in a 1994 interview with the New York Times: “Springs are like petroleum. You can always build a chocolate factory, but springs you have or you don’t have.” And Nestle, when they first acquired Nestle PureLife water, didn’t have those springs. So they began– well– helping themselves.
At the World Water Forum in 2000, Nestle lead the way in defining access to water as a universal need instead of a right. Nestle and other big corporations won out, and government officials around the world downgraded water as a human need instead, meaning it could be commoditized, captured, and sold for profit. Exploited without regard for local populations.  Water is a human right. Stop stealing it from communities around the world.  When people and companies like Nestle argue water is a need and not a right, it’s because they are trying to argue water isn’t a necessity. But it absolutely is. But the problem is that Nestle is taking water from poor countries and marketing it to wealthy countries such as the United States, which has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies. Nestle is draining groundwater from developing countries in order to make its Nestle PureLife water, destroying their natural resources before forcing the country’s people to buy their own water back.
Now, Nestle is moving into Pakistan, sucking up the local water supply. It’s rendering entire areas uninhabitable, only to sell bottled water to the upper class as well as people in the United States and EU. Meanwhile, the poor in Pakistan watch as their wells run dry and their children fall ill from dirty water. Nestle’s aggressive water grab is already descending like a plague on parts of Pakistan. In the small village of Bhati Dilwan, villagers have watched their water table sink hundreds of feet since Nestle moved in. Children are getting sick from the foul-smelling sludge they are forced to choke down. Meanwhile, Nestle is spending millions of dollars marketing their water to Americans, Europeans, and the upper class in Pakistan that can afford to watch their kids grow up healthy.
This scenario has played out again and again in countries around the globe. Dirty water kills more children around the world than AIDS, malaria, war, and traffic accidents combined – and with an 11% market share in the entire water industry, Nestle has a big hand in this global problem.
Greenwashing:  For those of you that don’t know what greenwashing is, it’s marketing something as eco-friendly in order to seem better than what it is and to encourage sales.  CBC News covered a statement from Nestle that perfectly encapsulates their manipulative marketing tactics.  Friends of the Earth Canada, the Polaris Institute, the Council of Canadians, Wellington Water Watchers, and Eco-justice filed a complaint against Nestle Waters North America with the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards on Monday. The complaint was filed after Nestle published an advertisement in the Globe and Mail in October that included such statements as:

“Most water bottles avoid landfill sites and are recycled.”
“Bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world.”
“Nestle PureLife is a healthy, eco-friendly choice.”

Meera Karunananthan, a spokeswoman for the Council of Canadians, said the ad violates standards of honesty and accuracy.  “For Nestle to claim that its bottled water product is environmentally superior to any other consumer product in the world is not supportable,” Karunananthan said in a release. ‘Bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world.’?  Do I really have to pull up the data for this one?  This is ridiculous.

Bottled water in a landfill.
Just from the United States alone, 60 million bottles end up in incinerators and landfills daily. Does a lot of bottled water end up in recycling? Sure. But there are billions of empty bottles clogging up streams, ending up on Trash Island in the Pacific, and finding their way into our oceans.  Nestle is not selling solar power or clean energy here. They’re selling unnecessary plastic waste.
Taking Water from Americans:

In addition to taking water from Pakistan, Nestle has paid as little as $524 a year to take water from California– even during droughts.  Nestle isn’t the only bottled water company operating in Michigan, but it’s the most controversial. Pepsi and Coca-Cola bottle municipal water from Detroit for their Aquafina and Dasani brands respectively. They pay city rates and sell the bottles back to the community for profit. In Mecosta County, Nestle sucks up water directly from the source, which water conservationists say does more damage to the flow of streams, rivers, and wetland ecology than taking from the municipal supply. Municipal supplies come from larger bodies of water, so massive depletions have less of an impact.

Nestlé’s Chief of Sustainability, Nelson Switzer, responds:  “Water is a renewable resource. As long as you manage the area, water will flow in perpetuity.”  Seems like a smart Chief of Sustainability. Is that why children in Pakistan are drinking sludge?
How Can You Help?  Nestle is the perfect example of a company that has gotten too large for its own good. They have sacrificed their humanity for dollars time and time again. But there are organizations set up to combat this global problem.  The Thirst Project is a nonprofit organization that works with the support of young people to end the global water crisis by building freshwater wells in developing communities that need safe, clean drinking water. Please consider supporting their programs as this is the best and most effective way I have found in order to fight back. (     
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