By Briana Kerensky, Food & Water Watch
Working to expose the truth about Nestlé’s dangerous and unethical bottled water sales sometimes feels like trying to storm a castle. Nestlé, the largest purveyor of bottled water in the world, hides their efforts to privatize public water sources behind walls of powerful marketing schemes. They don’t sell water; they sell a lifestyle of “health” and “wellness.” Nestlé tries to pass its product off as “Pure Life,” as their most popular brand’s name suggests. So how are smart consumers supposed to fight against “Pure Life?”
Well last week, Nestlé’s castle started to show some cracks. In a great segment on Russia Today’s “Breaking the Set,” host Abby Martin responded to a video message from the corporation in which they tried to defend their water-grabbing tendencies. In the video, a Nestlé spokesperson claims that the corporation’s top priorities are consumers, the environment, and the human right to water.
The truth is, as Martin makes clear, that Nestlé’s only real priority is padding its bottom line. In the “Breaking the Set” segment, which you can watch below, the reporter refutes the corporation’s statements, pointing out that consumers are wasting money on a product that costs thousands of times more than tap water from their faucet, even though almost half of bottled water comes from municipal water systems; Nestlé continues to tap ground water sources during times of drought. While Nestlé is currently promoting the human right to water through marketing schemes, this only came about after public backlash that ensued when Chairman and former CEO Peter Brabeck went on record saying that water is neither a public nor a human right.
While Abby Martin did an admirable job at scaling Nestlé’s barriers, she did make a small error. In the segment, she calls out the corporation for sourcing the Pure Life brand‘s water from a hatchery raising endangered salmon in Oregon. While Nestlé does have its sights on bottling water in Cascade Locks, the hatchery water would go into “Arrowhead” bottles, not Pure Life ones.
Every year, Nestlé spends millions of dollars trying to brand itself as a purveyor of a vital and private resource. And while their marketing says that water is a human right, as Peter Brabeck has shown, it’s nothing more than a ploy to assuage concerns about their water grabbing ways. Water is a public resource and should be accessible to all, and not at the expense of our wallets and environment. As “Breaking the Set” showed, when consumers are armed with facts, we can take the corporations’ defenses down and expose the truth.