Can Nestle Be Trusted – Even By Its Own Partners?

Nestle UK Accused of Throwing Smaller Industry Brands Under the Bus

A recently formed bottled water alliance in the United Kingdom has angered smaller water bottlers and other beverage producers, who say Nestle, Danone and Highland Spring (the three biggest brands in the UK) formed the new alliance to protect their interests at the expense of others’:

LONDON – Nestle Waters, Danone Waters and Highland Spring stand accused of breaking ranks with the soft-drinks industry for launching the Natural Hydration Council (NHC).

The NHC has been created to research and promote the environmental and health benefits of bottled water, and its three founders have control of the most prominent bottled-water brands in the UK: Nestle owns Buxton and Vittel, while Danone owns Volvic and Evian.

One soft-drinks insider poured scorn on the move to create a separate organisation to the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA)’s Bottled Water Information Office. The latter was disbanded after the formation of the NHC.

‘They can hardly claim to offer an industry-wide perspective, even if they are the largest individual players,’ said the insider.

I suspect the “Natural Hydration Council” was formed so that its members could mount attacks against bottled drinks considered “less healthy” than their own – the corporate equivalent of throwing the less trendy members of your party under the bus.

The message? They’d like you to know just how darned good bottled water is for the environment:

Paolo Sangiorgi, managing director of NestlĂ© Waters UK, said: “Not many people realise that natural bottled water comes from fully sustainable sources and in recyclable packaging.

I’d suggest that fewer people realize that 75%-85% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills, but I suspect the Hydration Council won’t be focusing on that fact. Or that “fully sustainable” apparently means something different to water bottlers than it does to fish, wildlife and watersheds – typically the downstream victims of Nestle’s water extraction projects.

Can Nestle be trusted? In North America, their inability to accept a “no” answer from the citizens of Fryeburg – and their total disregard for watersheds in McCloud, CA, and Mecosta, MI, suggest they’ve got a long ways to go.

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