Category Archives: Nestle Worldwide

Best Nestle Bottled Water Video Ever (So Far This Week)

Sure, StopNestleWaters.org has been dormant, but this is simply too good to pass up. Political satirist Steven Colbert takes aim at Nestle’s latest bottled water, which offers its drinkers “Electrolytenment.”

Whatever that is.

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

 
(To see the video in a bigger format, click here).

StopNestleWaters.org Site Is Dormant, But Will Remain Online A Little Longer

As you can tell, the StopNestleWaters.org site is dormant. I simply don’t have time to keep it running.

This site still ranks quite high in search engine results, so those looking to research Nestle’s operations online will read more than Nestle’s somewhat slanted perspective on their water mining operations — and their willingness to bludgeon small towns in rural areas into submission using legal means.

Nestle is not a good corporation — witness their unconscionable actions in the USA and around the world (the baby formula issue is particularly sickening) — so I’ll leave this site up a little longer as a “gift” to them. Enjoy.

TC

Nestle’s Attempts to Woo “Mommy Bloggers” Results in PR Disaster as Company Refuses to Answer Questions

It seems that Nestle’s infant formula division employs tactics eerily similar to those used by their water bottling folks when confronted by inconvenient facts – including those that directly contradict the company’s own spin.

In the bottled water world, Nestle representatives have categorically stated they have never harmed a watershed or aquifer, yet a judge in Michigan clearly disagreed, and the company – faced with yet another losing effort in court – clearly agreed when they capitulated to a lower pumping limit in Mecosta County.

In other words, their representative lied, and it’s a pattern that plays out over and over.

In this case, it reared its head on a diastrous PR program aimed at promoting their products to “mommybloggers” who were wined and dined at a lavish seminar.

The Boycott Nestle Web site (focused on Nestle’s infant formula record [which is abominable]) recounted the whole sordid story:

But critics of the company countered that the event was a public
relations ploy in reaction to an ongoing boycott of Nestle for
marketing baby milk formula as a substitute for breast feeding in
developing countries.
In fact, before the trip, critics reached out to the bloggers invited to California and urged them to not go.
No one canceled.
As
the event got underway, the online conversation quickly turned into an
online battlefield. The company’s Twitter channel was so inundated with
anti-Nestle messages, and nasty accusations aimed at the attendees,
that it was essentially shut down. The company, caught off guard, let
the parents field questions aimed at executives until finally stepping
into the fray.
—Extract ends
I saw
several bloggers say they had been invited to the event and refused to
go. Not the same as canceling, but bloggers on the invitation list were
not all blind to the conflicts of interest in attending, even if
unaware of the boycott.
Nestlé is one of the
four most boycotted companies on the planet, according to an
independent survey, because it is found to be responsible for more
violations of the marketing standards for baby foods than any other
company.
The LA Times article is a little lazy
in characterising the posts to the #nestlefamily hashtag as
‘anti-Nestlé messages’ and ‘accusations aimed at the attendees’. The
vast majority of posts were raising concerns about Nestlé practices and
posting links to evidence (I became aware of the event through traffic
to our sites) and responding to specific requests from some attendees
for questions to put to executives, including the Chief Executive of
Nestlé USA.
Nestlé came online briefly and
offered to take questions. I offered to take part in a tweet debate
directly with Nestlé on behalf of Baby Milk Action, but this was not
taken up. Nestlé stayed on line for an hour or so, promising to come
back the next day to respond to questions, but did not.

The fact is Nestlé runs from fora where there are people with the knowledge to challenge its bland assurances that it markets formula ‘ethically and responsibly’ (a claim that the UK Advertising Standards Authority found to be untrue when Nestlé made it in an anti-boycott advertisement). It not only ran from the questions on Twitter, it now refuses to debate with Baby Milk Action, after we won a series of them from 2001 – 2004. Nestlé refused to attend a European Parliament Public Hearing in 2000, when UNICEF Legal Officer was present to address questions regarding interpretation of the marketing requirements Nestlé should be following (Nestlé claims its own interpretation is correct, while dismissing all others, including UNICEF). And Nestlé refuses to even set out its terms and conditions for participating in an independent expert tribunal into its policies and practices.

Nestlé prefers to direct people to its own website and provide written answers, but not defend them when these are scrutinised, perhaps hoping the majority will accept its assurances at face value. Those who do look closer generally come away more shocked and dismayed at Nestlé’s deceit as it tries to defend practices that contribute to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants.

Nestlé’s reticence to engage with informed critics can be understood given how its response to questions put by the PhD in Parenting blog has fueled concerns rather than dissuaded those looking at this issue. Nestlé’s answers have been posted in full on the blog, and can be found via:
http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/10/03/follow-up-questions-for-nestle/

As is often the case, Nestlé’s attempt to divert criticism became a PR disaster and gave International Nestlé-Free Week a boost in the US in its third year. The week aims to encourage boycotters to do more and non-boycotters to do something to increase the pressure on Nestlé. Boycotting has forced some changes and greater involvement can only help. See: http://boycottnestle.blogspot.com/2009/10/boycott-successes.html

Nestle, as it has been noted, promised to address questions, but clearly never did – at least when those questions became uncomfortable.

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Producers of “Tapped” Bottled Water Documentary Allege Nestle Trying to Limit Distribution

This statement from a Brookfield News Times interview with the makers of the bottled water documentary “Tapped” largely speaks for itself:

“A lot of major film festivals are sponsored by Nestle,” Soechtig said. “We were wondering why we weren’t getting into Cannes. We thought, is our film not good enough? Then we realized they have a hand in everything.”

Nestle asked the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute in Louisiana to not show the documentary, the Louisiana State University of Shreveport student newspaper, The Almagest, reported. The screening board denied Nestle’s request.

“I can’t help but think if they tried to pull us out of one town, Nestle has tried to pull us out of others,” Soechtig said.

The corporations have put pressure on commercial distributors, Walrath said, so he and Soechtig are distributing the film independently.

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Why Did Nestle Leave McCloud? Nestle’s “Truth” Isn’t Necessarily Mine

On a nice blog run by a seemingly very nice Nestle employee, the writer suggested he was “surprised” at some of the reasons he’d read as to why Nestle Waters of North America pulled their proposed water bottling operation out of McCloud.

In an effort to air the “truth” he offered up Nestle Waters CEO Kim Jeffries’ letter, and while I agreed that Jeffries’ letter was true as far as it went, I also said that it was far from the whole truth. My response to the gentlemen’s post is below.

I always get a little nervous when I see the word “truth” in relation to anyone’s press materials.

For what it’s worth, I believe that Mr. Jeffries’ letter is largely true – that fuel costs and changing market conditions made the switch to a Sacramento plant largely seamless.

Still, it’s far from the “whole” truth, and I think asking us to accept it as such is a little disingenuous.

I don’t know which of the theories and speculation surprised you, but I’d guess you’re referring to the “locals send Nestle packing” stories and posts.

You might feel that’s not true, but I think it’s an entirely factual statement to say that Nestle would be pumping, bottling and trucking water out of McCloud right now if a group of committed local residents hadn’t challenged Nestle’s first contract with the McCloud Services District in court.

That same group pointed out that Nestle’s first environmental impact report was entirely bereft of flow studies downstream of the water extraction point, and therefore didn’t measure a key environmental impact at all – which largely forced Nestle to abandon the first (and incomplete) EIR.

This is a simple truth.

I appreciate your willingness to entertain comments on your post, and I recognize I can’t know your perspective on this issue. For example, I can’t know if you experienced this whole process from a distance or from ground zero.

I’ve seen it unfold firsthand, and feel there are several other “truths” at work here that aren’t mentioned in Mr. Jeffries’ letter.

First, it’s true that Nestle is leaving the tiny town of McCloud in a divided, polarized state. It’s a painful thing to see neighbors (and even families) pitted against each other over this issue. Mr. Jeffries won’t refer to it as such in his letter (why would he), but I feel it’s part of a lingering reality about Nestle’s impacts on small, rural communities.

For example, it’s true that Nestle’s own representative repeatedly demonized plant opponents by characterizing them as “wealthy, out-of-town (San Francisco) fly fishermen” or as non-contributing newcomers to the area – terms guaranteed to fire up an “us vs them” mentality in a small community.

It’s also 100% true that Nestle repeatedly maintained they weren’t going to interfere in the local election process (I’m referring to the 2006 elections), but then wrote a check for $2500 to the pro-Nestle slate of candidates the day before the election – in one fell swoop dwarfing the amount of money raised by all other candidates (both pro and con). This largely put the sword to Nestle’s contention that it wasn’t going to “interfere” in the election.

It’s also “true” that Nestle’s legal council did attempt to gain access to the private financial records of opponents of Nestle’s bottling plant (some of whom were friends of mine). We can argue about the “truth” behind Nestle’s motives in that instance, but from here, it looked a lot like legal intimidation.

The above are all verifiable facts, and all led to my decision to found a Web site that attempts to hold Nestle accountable for its actions in small, rural towns.

In the twilight between verifiable “fact” and what is “probably” true lies a whole raft of messiness on both sides. This hasn’t been a pretty process, and while I hold Nestle 100% accountable for a fair amount of unsavory behavior, I also cringed at some of the wilder accusations leveled by opponents.

Nestle’s CEO says the company is leaving because of market conditions and fuel costs. Opponents claim a victory, and suggest Nestle was sent packing by a ragtag group of citizens. And just to muddy things further, I’ve read press releases from national organizations suggesting greater involvement than seemed to be the case.

Where is the truth here?

Like always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but I know for a fact that Mr. Jeffries’ letter – likely the product of a gifted PR department – is hardly a complete vision of the truth – especially once you consider the simple fact that a new contract with the town of McCloud had become a very, very uncertain thing.

Did local citizens send Nestle packing? Is the bottled water market taking a plunge (and affecting capacity decisions)? Are transportation costs up? Does Nestle have a long, long ways to go to actually become the “good” neighbor it says it is?

I believe all the above are true.

If anyone has anything add, perhaps you could do so on his blog. After all, I didn’t delve into less “provable” concepts – like McCloud’s becoming a PR nightmare for Nestle, who at one point wanted to know what it would take to make the opposition “stop.”

Again, he created a simple post and seems like a nice guy, so any comments should be respectful. After all, if you worked for Nestle – and found yourself located a continent away from McCloud – your perspective on this would be very different from mine.

I would suggest that the remote perspective is a flawed one, especially if it’s informed largely by Nestle’s own official flow of information, but there it is.

FLASH: Nestlé Waters Ends Bid for McCloud, CA Water Bottling Plant

When the end came, it came swiftly for Nestle’s proposed McCloud (CA) water bottling plant:

Nestlé Waters North America has decided to withdraw its proposal to build a bottling facility in McCloud.

Ever since Nestle negotiated its rapacious contract with the McCloud Services District in 2003 (largely behind closed doors), then pressured the board to approve it at the end of the first public input meeting, Nestle’s McCloud project has become one of the company’s biggest public relations liabilities.

First there were the string of lawsuits, and as the specifics of the contract came to light, outright indignation at the lopsided nature of the deal.

Here was a predatory multinational preying on a small rural town – as it had in other locations – but this time, not all the local residents were willing to shrug it off and walk away.

Instead, they rallied, formed groups, gained a small amount of financial backing, garnered a significant amount of international media attention, and ultimately forced Nestle to abandon its hugely one-sided contract.

Instead, in 2008, Nestle began the flow monitoring studies it should have begun in 2003, but the process was made redundant when Nestle negotiated a fast-track deal in Sacramento that better reflected the realities of rising fuel costs and pissed-off, distrustful McCloud residents.

Unfortunately for Nestle, the damage was already done to their normally behind-the-scenes work in rural areas; now almost every Nestle extraction or bottling project finds itself opposed by citizens who have learned what Nestle’s truly capable due to their actions in McCloud, Fryeburg, Mecosta, and others.

And yes – due to activists and the informational power of the Internet – Nestle’s been forced to address questions about its predatory behavior in rural areas.

Whether Nestle has turned over a less-predatory leaf in its pursuit of spring water from rural sources remains to be seen, and yes – significant questions about the environmental impacts and privatization of a critical resource are far from answered.

Still, in this one place – in this tiny mountain town – Nestle stumbled badly, tripped up by a small group whose victory will no doubt be noticed by others facing Nestle in their area.

via Nestlé Waters ends pursuit of McCloud facility – Mount Shasta, CA – Mount Shasta Herald.

Motley Fool: Bottled Water Batters the Blue Chips

The Motley Fool investment site suggests the jig is up for bottled water, citing pluning sales figures.

More importantly, their reaction to the products suggests a larger problem for bottled water than the recession; When even Wall Street thinks your product represents “one of the weirdest episodes in the history of corporate marketing,” you’re no longer cool:

More than a year ago, my Foolish colleague Alyce Lomax called the bottled-water craze “one of the weirdest episodes in the history of corporate marketing, not to mention consumer behavior.”

I couldn’t agree more.

And while consumers were already starting to rethink their habits at that time, we may now be seeing a full-fledged paradigm shift.

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that U.S. sales of Coke’s Dasani brand plummeted almost 26% — excluding sales at Wal-Mart Stores NYSE: WMT — in the 12 weeks ended Aug. 8.

In contrast, Pepsi’s Aquafina showed a 13.8% dip, and consumers enjoyed a 5% price discount. The Poseidon of the U.S. bottled-water market, Nestle OTC BB: NSRGY, saw its first-half 2009 global water sales slump nearly 3% on an organic basis, largely because of weakness in North America and Europe.

Found via Bottled Water Batters the Blue Chips.

Bottled Water Industry Vilifying Tap Water In Attempt to Bolster Sagging Sales

“Good corporate citizen” Nestle never passes up an opportunity to spin its “good neighbor” message to the world, but according t0 a memo obtained by the UK Scotsman, Nestle’s part of a campaign attempting to vilify the quality of tap water.

The Scotsman obtained a 3-page memo written by a PR firm working for the Natural Hydration Council (the UK’s bottled water industry trade group that’s the equivalent of North America’s IBWA).

Nestle is a leading player in the group, and we’ll let the Scotsman’s reporter lay out the ugly details:

AIDES working for bottled water producers are planning to use scare tactics to protect falling sales in Scotland by attacking the quality of tap water supplied to consumers.

The tactics are outlined in a memorandum drawn up by a public relations company employed by the industry to be used in case “the media turns hostile to our cause”.

It suggests using data on contamination of public water supplies with potentially-harmful bugs, such as E Coli and cryptosporidium, to highlight the merits of drinking bottled water. Sales of bottled water have fallen nationally over the last year because of the effects of the recession on disposable incomes.

The memo, obtained by Scotland on Sunday, was written by a London PR company working for the Natural Hydration Council, an industry lobby group funded by three major bottled water companies. They include Nestlé, which markets Vittel and Perrier; Danone, which produces Volvic and Evian; and Perthshire-based Highland Spring.

The Scotsman quoted several passages in the memo which clearly indicate the PR firms plan to attack the quality of bottled water should media coverage turn “hostile” – but later the writer of the memo contradicts what he wrote.

It was sent to an Edinburgh-based communications company, 3X1 – which is paid by the industry to lobby on its behalf – to be deployed on the same day as the annual publication of Scotland’s Drinking Water Quality Regulator, last Thursday.

The regulator’s report concluded that the quality of Scottish drinking water remains “extremely high” with 99.75 per cent of supplies meeting safety standards. It adds that two tap samples in Scotland contained E Coli in 2008, an improvement on 2007 when five failures were recorded.

[ed: emphasis mine] This prompted Julie McGarvey, of 3X1 to write to her colleague James Laird, at Epicurus Communications in London: “Clock the E Coli data. Good to keep up our sleeve.”

Laird wrote back that he had already written a memo, based on an analysis of reports by the Drinking Water Inspectorate in England, that had “observations” that might be useful “should the media turn hostile towards our cause.”

He adds that the report offers “potential sound-bite notes that could be used for NHC un-attributable media briefings.” “Unattributable briefings” is lobby group shorthand for information passed to journalists on condition they do not name their source.

After reading the last paragraph above, now read the astonishing denial by the consultant who wrote the quoted memo:

Asked whether the examples of problems in the public water supply would be communicated to journalists, he replied: “Absolutely not. The NHC supports the consumption of all water, whether bottled or tap. There is no intent, desire or mandate to criticise tap water on behalf of the NHC.”

One word leaps to mind.

Sleazy.

Earlier, we chronicled the attacks launched on tap water quality by none other than Nestle Waters CEO Kim Jeffries and another UK bottler.

And even journalist and author Elizabeth Royte thinks its time to end the charade:

The bottled water industry continues to claim it competes not with tap water but with high-calorie and other processed drinks. The argument is getting a little tired.

And yes, one reason industries form trade groups like the Natural Hydration Council or North America’s International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is so water bottlers don’t have to get their hands dirty.

They simply pay others to do their dirty work for them.

We’ve noted in the past that the bottled water industry – facing tough economic conditions and opposition on environmental grounds – will increasingly turn to FUD tactics (Fearn, Uncertainty, Doubt) to drive sales.

In this case, the evidence fell into the right hands, but how much of this kind of thing is currently being planned behind closed doors elsewhere?

Why else would the IBWA hire former Tobacco Institute spokesperson Tom Lauria?

In the light of stories like this, it’s clear.

The real “product” of the Tobacco Institute was “doubt” – an ongoing effort to undermine good science detailing the hazards of smoking, confusing consumers and providing cover for the industry.

Expect to see more “doubt” sown by the bottled water industry about the quality of the water that comes out of your tap.

And when you do, recognize it for what it is.

via Bottled water firms turn to scare tactics – Scotsman.com News.

Nestle Contradicts Own Testimony in Eight Page Memo to Chaffee County Commissioners

Once again, Nestle Waters tried to bypass good public process when it submitted an eight-page memo to Chaffee County’s commissioners… the day prior to their decision.

While the Chaffee Citizens for Sustainability also attempted to add comments to the record, Nestle’s memo apparently contradicts the testimony given by its own (paid) experts during the public testimony – and sheds new light on just how far Nestle’s willing to go in order to subvert the public process.

From another insightful Lee Hart article in the Salida Citizen:

The day before it was granted conditional approval to proceed with its proposed water harvesting project in Chaffee County, Nestle Waters North America submitted an eight-page memo to the Board of County Commissioners asking for reconsideration of draft conditions in several of the most hotly contested aspects of its proposal.

Perhaps most significantly, a review of Nestle’s eight-page memo appears to show Nestle directly contradicting earlier testimony by its own legal team aimed at discrediting and downplaying testimony by Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District General Manager Terry Scanga,

Earlier in the public review process, Scanga provided written and oral testimony warning Commissioners that Nestle project depletions could cause an increase in exchanges by Aurora on the Arkansas that could have a “deleterious effect” on the basin. Aurora has signed a 10-year lease with Nestle to provide augmentation water for the project.

In direct counterpoint to Scanga, Nestle water counsel Steve Sims told Commissioners that while he appreciates Scanga for “always looking out for the Upper Ark,” he also said it was “very very doubtful” that the Nestle-Aurora lease would change any legal dynamic on the river.

At the time, Sims said the 200-acre-feet per year Nestle-Aurora lease is a fraction of Aurora’s 52.000-acre-foot portfolio on the Upper Arkansas Basin.

Commenting on the drought scenario Scanga painted for the county, Sims flatly assured the Commissioners “it’s just not going to happen,” especially in light of Aurora’s Prairie Waters project that Sims said will double or triple Aurora’s water portfolio, buffering it against enacting the type of drought triggers Scanga envisioned.

Now three months later, Nestle appears to refute its own earlier testimony. It recaps Scanga’s argument that Aurora will need Nestle lease water to serve its customers in the future and they should not be allowed to replace that water with new Arkansas exchanges. Nestle now agrees that this is a “legitimate concern” that will be mitigated by draft county condition 32a requiring Nestle to suspend pumping project wells if Aurora exercises its right to exchange any Category 2 leased water.

The question you have to ask  yourself is did Nestle know it wasn’t telling the truth when its expert testified originally, or is this an attempt to avoid halts to pumping later (should the Aurora mitigation water become unavailable)?

Nestle Double-Dips on Monitoring, Overland Access

The Nestle memo is also remarkable for its contradictory nature; in a self-congratulatory letter to the editor of the Salida Citizen, Nestle repeatedly pats itself on the back for the mandated extensive wetlands monitoring program and sportsmen’s access to the river through their property.

Yet in their memo, Nestle argues that their monitoring program should be dramatically scaled back, and that the overland sportsmen’s access should not be required.

In other words – and in typical Nestle fashion – they’re arguing against the very programs their PR staff use to promote the project.

In one sense, this is par for Nestle, though familiarity with the tactic doesn’t render it less despicable – or revealing as to the Swiss multinational’s character.

Nestle has repeatedly touted its long-term monitoring program on McCloud’s Squaw Creek as proof of its stewardship – conveniently forgetting there was no monitoring program of any kind in place until it was forced on them by opponents of the McCloud project.

In truth, Nestle only implemented a monitoring program after nullifying their original contract with McCloud – and only after the PR burden of not having a program in place outpaced even Nestle’s PR legions to counter.

Read Ms. Hart’s complete story: Nestle, CCFS sought last-minute concessions from county on six hot topics.

Nestle Waters, Sacramento City Staff Not Answering Questions About Nestle Bottling Plant

Bad public process follows Nestle around like a shadow, and Sacramento seems to not be an exception.

In what a cynic would suggest is an all-out attempt to avoid the kind of citizen opposition that has dogged every Nestle bottling plant or extraction project as of late, they trying to fast-track their Sacramento water bottling plant, and getting city staff to help them.

This eye-opening piece from the IndyBay site raises a whole raft of questions about Nestle’s intentions, source of its spring water, and the utter lack of controls imposed on the bottler – and asks some questions that Sacramento’s city staff don’t seem to want to answer:

Since this initial publicity, Nestle and the city of Sacramento have worked hard to quietly fast-track this project so Nestle can open its south Sacramento bottling plant in the next few months.

City staff consider this project “non-discretionary,” which means if all goes as planned, there will be no public comment, no city council vote and no environmental impact report.

Down the Drain

Nestle claims that their Sacramento plant will be a “micro-bottling plant,” bottling only 50 million gallons of water. According to Nestle, approximately 30 million gallons will come from Sacramento’s municipal water system and 20 million will be trucked to the plant from nearby “private springs.”

City staff have refused to answer questions about the springs and Nestle has provided no information about their location, other than telling the Sacramento News and Review that they are in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

A search of water extraction permits issued by the State of California over the last two years reveals nothing. The only clues come from other communities struggling to keep from being robbed of their water.

In July of 2008 Attorney General Jerry Brown delivered a near fatal blow to Nestle’s plans for their massive bottling plant in the small mountain town of McCloud California. That same month, developer Lawrence Adams filed an application to increase the amount of water he could extract from a parcel of land he owns in Shingletown, California.

Adams was granted permission to increase the amount he pumps from 26,000 gallons a day to 288,000 gallons a day. Despite requests from Shingletown residents, Adams has refused to disclose who he plans to sell the water to.

This foothill town, looted for water in the same month that Nestle’s McCloud deal crumbled, is the only site we can locate that could possibly be Nestle’s mysterious private spring.

If Nestle is Lawrence Adams’ secret customer, then quite possibly the fate of this town’s water depends on whether or not the Sacramento bottling plant is built.

The tactics Nestle is using in Sacramento are a noticeable departure from the methods they have used in other towns from whom they hoped to profit. Unlike many of their past endeavors – where Nestle negotiates backroom deals for access to inordinate amounts of water – in Sacramento there is no agreement to provide a specified amount of water. In fact, there is no agreement at all.

If everything goes as planned, Nestle just hooks up to our water system and pumps as much as they want. The only limit on the amount of water Nestle pumps, as I was told by one staff member at the Economic Development Department, is the size of their pipes.

The three bottling plants already in Sacramento are among the city’s top 20 water users. All three have increased the amount of water they pump in the last two years, one as much as 54 percent. Why would Nestle be any different?

Nestle has fought for the last 6 years, without success, to establish a bottling plant in the town of McCloud, California. While rumors abound that Nestle is abandoning their plans for McCloud, the company has indicated that it all depends on what happens in Sacramento.

Before bowing to pressure from the public, courts and the Attorney General, Nestle planned to pump 520 million gallons of spring water a year and unlimited groundwater from the aquifers of McCloud. If Nestle pumps 520 million gallons of water in Sacramento that would make them the city’s number one water user pumping over 200 million gallons more than the runner-up, the Sacramento Power Authority.

And why not? Once they are connected no one can control how much water they pump. They have a ten year lease with an option to extend on their warehouse space at 8670 Younger Creek Drive.

The plant will supposedly be 214,000 square feet, but it is within a 548,000 square foot warehouse see diagram below. This is considerably bigger than the size of their proposed McCloud plant and presumably would make it easier for them to expand if they increased production.

You can read the entire article here: Nestle on the Prowl – Poised to Steal Sacramento’s Water : Indybay.

That Nestle is unwilling to disclose any substantive information about the sources of its Sacramento water doesn’t surprise; the Swiss multinational has consistently only revealed (or studied, or monitored, or even considered) those things it’s been forced to consider (or study, or monitor…).

Given the number of PR disasters Nestle Waters has found itself embroiled in as of late, their desire to fast track this plant – and post some kind of victory – is clear.

Nestle Bottled Water Revenues Tumble 3% (Expect That to Continue)

Nestle dangles jobs everywhere it goes, though we’ve long questioned the veracity of their job claims.

Now we don’t have to; Nestle’s bottled water division’s sales fell a startling 3% (according to the WSJ, it’s the second straight period of decline).

From the WSJ:

Nestle SA, the world’s largest food and beverage group, reported on Wednesday a 3% drop in its first-half profit as it missed sales forecasts and trimmed its outlook, according to MarketWatch.

The company’s weakest segment? Its water division, which is responsible for about 10% of the company’s total sales, and includes brands such as Perrier and San Pellegrino. Sales contracted about 3% in the division, the second straight period of decline.

I don’t yet have numbers for Nestle’s North American bottled water division, but the trend is clear.

And while Nestle still largely maintains the contraction is due entirely to the economy and not environmental concerns, I’d suggest that’s more wishful thinking than reality.

So those jobs again: How safe are they really?

Nestle Chaffee County Water Extraction Project Hanging in Balance

The Chaffee County Commissioners recently debated the fate of Nestle Waters of North America’s proposed water extraction project there, yet didn’t arrive at a decision.

Several stories in the regional press covered the hearing (It’s difficult for Nestle to sneak into town any more), and several passages were telling.

First, this project offers almost no benefit to the citizens of Chaffee County (one of the considerations in the 1041 permitting process), and at least one commissioner was willing to point that out.

This from the Salida Citizen’s Lee Hart:

John Graham, chair of Nestle opposition group, Chaffee County Citizens for Sustainability, said that what confused him about the deliberations is the commissioners emphasis on “when, when, when and condition, condition, condition.” Graham said he doesn’t think it’s the county’s role is to “suggest ways for Nestle’s proposal not to fail.” He said the commissioners’ decision should be based solely on whether or not Nestle’s proposal does or does not meet the 1041 requirements.

County Special Legal Counsel Barbara Green, explained 1041 regulations allow the commissioners to “approve, deny or approve with conditions” Nestle’s proposal. She said some of the proposed conditions; such as limits to truck traffic and providing a permanent conservation easement on the project property were in a direct response to public testimony.

Green, who said conditional approvals are commonplace in land use reviews in cities and counties throughout the state, explained that in the end, when the commissioners look at all the conditions, they must be satisfied the project will create no significant adverse impact on the county.

EJ Sherry and Alan Rule, who also oppose the Nestle project, both said they think the county is making a big mistake if they approve the project since they believe the economic benefit and fiscal impacts to monitor the project’s compliance with all the conditions as well as litigate any subsequent disputes with Nestle will adversely affect taxpayers.

The Pueblo Chieftan had this to say:

“One of the biggest issues for me is the impact on any aspect of the local economy,” said Commissioner Tim Glenn. “It would add some value, but the benefits don’t outweigh the potential losses like the forever inability to develop the resource to have a major economic benefit in Chaffee County.” Said Commissioner Dennis Giese, “All of us, everyone involved, would like to see more economic benefit to the community. The cost to us to regulate this – and it not producing the money in taxes – the county would need to offset that.”

Giese said local construction jobs would be minimal during construction of a 5-mile pipeline from the spring site to a Johnson’s Village trucking station. Regular local employees would also be minimal.

Possible conditions under study are require use of local contractors for construction and repairs, 50 percent local drivers and use of local materials.

Commissioners also discussed concerns about pumping rates and the possible decline of wetlands in the area. Giese suggested limiting pumping to 150 gallons per minute.

The commissioners also said they would like to set conditions on how to mitigate damage to wetlands should it occur and whether the conditions could include a cease-pumping order.

“I want to make sure we are not at a major impasse with Nestle Waters. They could say it is not my pumping but something else like someone changing irrigation practices that is drying out the wetlands and then were are in a lawsuit and that will be a cost to the taxpayers,” Glenn said.

Nestle’s actions in other rural towns are finally catching up with them; faced with what’s happened elsewhere, communities are waking up to the need to protect themselves from Nestle’s scorched earth legal tendencies, which naturally begs the question: Why deal with them at all?

Stipulations

It seems that Chaffee County’s Commissioners aren’t looking to deny the permit, but looking to add stipulations to the deal to make it work.

Many seem to include guarantees of local employment – the very stipulations Nestle has said were illegal when asked about them in other areas.

Should they accept them in Colorado, I’d suspect their representatives will have questions to answer elsewhere.