Tag Archives: nestle waters canada

“The public trust is washing away faster than water can flow out of one of your bottles” (Nestle Waters Accused of Poor Public Process)

Once again, Nestle Waters finds itself accused of poor public process – this time Nestle Waters of Canada is charged with hiding plans for a backup well from citizens. From the Wellington Advertiser:

The company announced its new plans for a well on Gil­mour Road at a public information session on Nov. 3 at Springfield Golf and Country Club on Gordon Street.

Yet several councillors took exception to advertising for the event, as well as letters sent to Gilmour Road residents, neither of which mentioned the plans for a secondary well. They say if that information was included, far more than a dozen people would have at­tended that meeting.

“The public trust is washing away faster than water can flow out of one of your bottles,” councillor Matthew Bul­mer said sternly. He agreed with fellow councillor Susan Fielding the ads were very “am­biguous” and said the letters to residents were even less helpful.

Letters were sent to Gil­mour Road residents the day before the meeting and neither the township nor the members of the newly established well protection committee – Bulmer, resident Dianne Paron, and Alan Dale of the Grand River Conservation Authority – were among the recipients.

“I’m concerned you’re trying to wiggle out of a very basic responsibility,” Bulmer said.

That Nestle stands accused of trying to sneak one past residents isn’t exactly news; they’ve been accused of the same thing in McCloud, Fryeburg, Sacramento, Mecosta County (MI), Florida, Wells/Kennebunk (ME), parts of Canada, and a whole host of other places.

While Nestle’s “good corporate citizen” routine is a regular part of its act, a closer look at the company’s actions belies the claim.

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Nestle Waters Keeps Hitting Brick Wall Fighting Canadian Bottled Water Bans

It hasn’t been a great year for Nestle PR Operative John Challinor, who’s seen setback after setback in Canada – where municipalities are banning bottled-water sales on city property.

Rather than waltz in, threaten a few jobs, and then misdirect the conversation towards the evils of sugary drinks, Challinor’s been running into opinion articles like this:

TheSpec.com – Opinions – Nestle protests bottled-water ban

Councillors were unanimous in their enthusiasm for a ban once problems are resolved, and asked staff for a report by fall on how to do it. Some asked, why go after water bottles only? Why not plastic pop and juice bottles? Staff replied, “You can’t turn on a tap and get orange juice or pop. It’s a beginning.”

Less enthusiastic — downright opposed, actually — was former Milton councillor John Challinor, now Nestle Waters Canada’s PR man, who has been travelling the country trying to allay ever-mounting municipal concern. He raised the health and safety issue of disallowing police, fire, and ambulance personnel the use of bottled water. Drinking fountains and refillable bottles aren’t practical or sanitary, he said, and referred to the committee’s stance as “nothing more than greenwashing, environmental symbolism, and bad public policy.” (Nestle’s PTTW cost $3,000 for processing fee, and $3.71 per MILLION litres extracted.)

Challinor said most Canadians would take a dim view in these hard economic times of impacting on industry employees “for no good reason.”

Let’s cite some. How about millions of litres of groundwater pumped from underground aquifers, interfering with groundwater flow. How about huge costs, and greenhouse gas emissions, of producing and shipping to distant store shelves — I’ve seen Ontario water in Arizona.

Councillor Rick Craven cited a figure of 250 times the energy to produce bottled water over municipal water, and Peter Thoem thought staff was being too timid in its recommendation.

It goes on, but suffice it to say that Nestle has suffered significant reversals in Canada, and while they like to pretend that such setbacks are minor, the cumulative effect is becoming significant.

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London, Ontario Bans Bottled Water Sales on City Property: Movement Set to Grow?

In a move that must have ruined the mornings of bottled water executives all across North America, the city of London, Ontario (Canada) banned bottled water sales on city property.

The critical issue here isn’t the ban; it’s the industry’s response. But more on that in a second. First, the story:

A decision by the largest Canadian city yet to ban bottled water could see a tide of other cities making the same move, says a city councilor leading the push to get rid of bottles here in Vancouver.

Citing environmental concerns and a need to promote city tap water, the city council in London, Ont., voted this week to ban bottled water from its properties.

“I think this is going to continue right across the country,” said Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson.

Staff at the City of Vancouver have also been looking at ways of eliminating the sale of bottled water and increasing the number of drinking fountains around the city.

How does Nestle Water of Canada respond? In a statement so ironic it’s gained instant “Hall of Fame” status here at StopNestleWaters.org, their spokesperson called it “greenwashing.”

But one industry rep says a ban in Vancouver would be political “green washing.”

“It’s quite frankly environmental symbolism and it doesn’t result in meaningful progress in terms of the environment or health,” said John Challinor, director of corporate affairs for Nestle Waters Canada, which holds a 35-per-cent share in the Canadian bottled water market.

It’s tempting to write Challinor off as simply a paid corporate flack, but his statement is worth examining.

After all, there are few bigger experts on greenwashing than a Nestle executive, and we tend to agree that London’s ban hasn’t really resulted in the kind of “meaningful progress in terms of the environment or health” we’d like to see.

What would constitute meaningful progress?

How about municipal bans on bottled water purchases across North America?

Now that – my dear readers – is exactly the kind of progress Mr. Challinor was no doubt referring to.

After all, buying bottled water is a wasteful use of taxpayer money, especially when the stuff runs largely for free out of the tap, and taxpayer dollars typically subsidize landfill operations – where anywhere from 75%-85% of Nestle’s plastic bottles end up.

We’d like to thank Mr. Challinor for his unique insight. With any luck, we’ll see more “meaningful progress” soon.

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