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"Who owns the water?"- Our position 

On 18 March 2013, a documentary called “Wem gehört das Wasser” (Who owns the water?) aired on regional television in Germany.  The film presents a number of incorrect facts with regards to Nestlé’s bottled water business. Please find below some information about our activities. 

Nestlé Waters is a responsible water user and is committed to good water resource management.

We undertake thorough environmental reviews and rigorous monitoring of the water resources we use on a continuous basis.  Furthermore, we regularly work with local communities to help guarantee the long-term quality and quantity of the water resource.  An example of this is the Agrivair initiative around the Vittel and Contrex sources in France. A further example is in the U.S. state of Colorado where Nestlé Waters North America has performed a comprehensive reclamation of the spring site, used for the Arrowhead brand, enhancing and protecting important wetlands and riparian habitat along the Arkansas River, and provides ongoing financial support to local schools and organisations.

We comply with the strict regulations and legislation that control our business in all countries where we operate.  At our operations in South Africa, for example, in addition to the monthly audit conducted by Nestlé Waters for the Department of Water Affairs, the Department conducts five yearly audits of our water use.  In Brazil, our water use is closely supervised by the National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM) and the State Environmental Authority (FEAM).

Nestlé Waters is a small water user compared to other water users.

We represent just 0.0009% of global freshwater withdrawals, compared to 70% for agriculture and 20% for industry as a whole.  We continuously optimise our water use, e.g. we reduced the amount of additional water (used in cleaning and cooling processes) needed to produce 1 litre of bottled water in the factory by 28% between 2007 and 2012.

Nestlé Waters prioritises local communities.

Good relations and cooperation with local communities are important for Nestlé Waters.  At São Lourenço in Brazil, for example, we are engaged in open dialogue with the local community which has enabled us to better respond to local expectations.  For example, Nestlé Waters has supported the renovation of the spa in the park surrounding the source and the renovation of native pine trees.  We also support social and educational events at the park which draw a great number of visitors to the town of São Lourenço .  This dialogue has been further enhanced by the creation of the Amigos do Parque group which is a platform to discuss issues and future projects to benefit the park.

Nestlé Waters is committed to the Nestlé Corporate Business Principles, which include water

Nestlé supports the human right to water, and this right is officially recognised in our Corporate Business Principles.  Bottled water is not in competition with public water supply systems as the primary source of drinking water for any population.  It can however be an alternative source of clean drinking water in emergency situations when water supply infrastructure is temporarily damaged or unavailable; for example, Nestlé Waters donated bottled water to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in 2012.  We are also sensitive to the fact that local populations in certain regions where we have operations may not have guaranteed access to clean drinking water; e.g. in South Africa, Nestlé Waters provides water outside our premises at no cost to the local community and each employee at the factory is given two bottles of water per day.