Nestlé: Privatization of Water Resources

Nestlé owns over 70 brands [1] worldwide and is a global leader in bottled water production [2] and distribution. Nestlé markets water obtained from natural groundwater resources for re-sale. It also actively works to suppress critics who represent communities suffering from Nestlé´s business practices. A recent documentary, Bottled Life [3], revealed these negative effects of Nestlé´s bottling practices on local communities and ecosystems. In Maine, U.S.A., local citizens have started a campaign against Nestlé [4] for pumping millions of gallons of the region´s groundwater for re-sale without considering claims from local critics [5] or the potential ecological effects of its extraction processes. Such cases are, unfortunately, not unique. Various reports depict similar cases across the U.S. [6] in states like Colorado, Florida, Michigan, and New York. Nestlé is criticized for depleting groundwater levels near its production plants, particularly when producing its Pure Life brand of bottled water in countries like Pakistan [7] (see here an Oxfam report [8]), Nigeria, and South Africa [9]. Nestlé´s monopoly of local water resources has forced locals in these countries to choose between an unsanitary public water supply and an unaffordable bottled water.

 

[1] Nestlé Waters (2013): Our Brands (accessed 05.09.2013).

[2] Nestlé (2014): Nestlé Waters in a few facts, About Us (accessed 05.09.2013).

[3] Bottled Life (2012): The Story (accessed 05.09.2013).

[4] Stop Nestlé Waters, Fryeburg, ME (accessed 05.09.2013).

[5] David Carkhuff (2013): Fryeburg residents protest proposed Nestle Waters contract, The Portland Daily Sun, 13 June (accessed 05.09.2013).

[6] Bottled Life (2012): Nestlé’s Water World (accessed 05.09.2013).

[7] Handelszeitung (2013): Nestlé in der Kritik: Oxfam attackiert Lebensmittelfirmen, 26 February (accessed 05.09.2013).

[8] Oxfam (2013): BEHIND THE BRANDS Food justice and the „Big 10‟ food and beverage companies, Oxfam Briefing Paper 166, p. 29 (accessed 05.09.2013).

[9] Das Erste (2013): Südafrika – Wem gehört das Wasser, 18 June (accessed 05.09.2013).

Affected topics
  • Human and Labour Rights
Affected norms and standards

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