Nestle: Global Water Predator
Oct 16, 2013 | Life Wise / Stephen Lendman
Nestle is a global predator. It lies calling itself “the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company.”
“Our mission of ‘Good Food, Good Life’ is to provide consumers with
the best tasting, most nutritious choices in a wide range of food and
beverage categories and eating occasions, from morning to night.”
Acquiring competitors secured it numerous water brands. They’re
listed under the heading “Nestle Waters: The Healthy Hydration Company.”
They include Aqua Spring, Deep Spring, Glaciar, Ice Mountain,
Perrier, Poland Spring, and Pure Life among others. They’re sold in
dozens of countries worldwide.
It does so by stealing community water resources. It claims what’s
“good for business can also be beneficial to society. This is what we
call Creating Shared Value,” it claims.
It calls nutrition the only Nestle “raison d’etre.” Its concern for public health rings hollow. Profits alone matter.
“Rational water management is an absolute priority,” Nestle claims.
It drains public aquifers and other water sources. It leaves communities
high and dry when they’re exhausted.
It’s costly bottled water is no different from what most people in developed countries can get through their taps.
For sure it’s no better. At times it’s worse. In July 2013, the Natural Resources Defense Council(NRDC) headlined “Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?”
Its report discussed earlier findings. They show “bottled water is
not necessarily safer than tap water.” Facts and figures don’t lie.
They expose water predators like Nestle. They rip off consumers. They make false claims to do so.
NRDC found “major gaps in bottled water regulation and conclude(d) that bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water.”
Independent labs were used. They tested over 1,000 bottles of 103 brands.
One-third contained “significant contamination (i.e. levels of
chemical or bacterial contaminants exceeding those allowed under a state
or industry standard or guideline).”
Contaminants found in some samples included excessive coliform
bacteria, and synthetic organic compounds. Ones named were toluene,
xylene, styrene and others.
Flouride, phthalate, arsenic, nitrates, and other inorganic contaminants were found. Labeling stresses purity.
A January 2009 Food and Water Watch report was titled “All Bottled Up: Nestle’s Pursuit of Community Water,” saying:
“Nestle takes water from US communities” on the cheap. It “bottles
and sells it. (It does so) for billions of dollars in profit. (It) dumps
the environmental and other costs onto society.”
It ignores community and citizen rights. It plunders for bottom line
priorities. It bottles what’s no different from tap water. It sells it
“for thousands of times more cost” than what most people in developed
countries can get cheap or free.
It contributes to pollution doing so. It from its plastic bottle production, as well as processing and distributing water.
It “greenwashe(s)” harmful environmental fallout. “Of the billions of
empty plastic bottles that end up in landfills every year, Nestle’s
brands” contribute hundreds of millions.
It’s a global predator writ large. It’s all take and no give. Weak
regulatory oversight permits ripping off communities for profit.
Vandana Shiva calls
privatized water “ecological terrorism.” It contributes to global water
crisis conditions. It causes overuse, waste and pollution.
It results in “the most pervasive, most severe, and most invisible dimension of the ecological devastation of the earth.”
It’s a road to “ecological crisis with commercial causes but no market solutions.”
It “destroy(s) the earth and aggravate(s) inequality. Solving “an
ecological crisis is ecological,” she says. Solving “injustice is
Water is a fundamental human right. Nestle claims it a food for sale. Shiva says water rights are natural and “usufructuary.”
It can be “used.” It can’t be “owned.” It belongs to everyone. It’s part of the commons.
It’s essential for life “under customary laws. (T)he right to water has been accepted as a natural, social fact.”
It’s “nature’s gift.” There’s no substitute. It’s vital “for sustenance needs.” Life is “interconnected through water.”
It’s limited and exhaustible. Conserving it is essential.
“No one has a right to overuse, abuse, waste, pollute,” or own it.
It’s not a commodity. It belongs to everyone. Water predators like Nestle exploit it for profit.
Stop Nestle Waters.org calls
itself “a gathering point for rural citizens fighting to preserve
control of their water supplies and local economies from Nestle.”
“Why are we targeting Nestle Waters,” it asked? “Because Nestle’s
predatory tactics in rural communities divide small towns and pit
residents against each other.”
“Because Nestle reaps huge profits from the water they extract from
rural communities – which are left to deal with the damage to
watersheds, increases in pollution and the loss of their quiet rural
“Because Nestle has a pattern of bludgeoning small communities and
opponents with lawsuits and interfering in local elections to gain
control of local water supplies.”
“Because the environmental consequences of bottled water on our
atmosphere, watersheds and landfills are simply too big to ignore.”
Since 1993, McCloud, CA residents contested Nestle’s plan to build
America’s largest bottling plant. They intended a huge one million
square foot facility.
McCloud’s Services District contractually agreed. It did so secretly.
No public input was allowed. Completion would have given Nestle control
of McCloud’s water for 100 years.
It would have gotten it for virtually nothing. It operates the same
way everywhere. It’s no good neighbor. Plunder is its bottom line
It interfered in local McCould elections. It funded campaigns of
pro-company candidates. It bought their support. It intimidated
opponents. It harassed them.
It “had their legal hit squad subpoena (their) private financial records.”
It failed. Justice prevailed. In 2009, it abandoned plans to build in McCloud. It chose Sacramento instead.
Nestle sued Fryeburg, ME five times. Doing so tried to litigate it
into insolvency. It sought the right to steal its aquifer water. It
wanted it by default.
Corporate predators operate this way. Nestle’s size and financial clout make it formidable.
Fryeburg’s planning commission and citizens contested courageously.
They opposed Nestle’s proposed 24/7 water pumping station. They faced
In return for intrusiveness, bullying, litigiousness, congestion,
noise and pollution, Nestle offered townspeople virtually nothing. It
contested them up to Maine’s Supreme Court.
In March 2010, it prevailed. It won the right to build a water
pumping station. It did so despite overwhelming public opposition. It’s
empowered to steal Fryeburg’s water.
Western Maine Residents for Rural Living attorney Scott Anderson
fought a losing battle. Nestle gets water from around two dozen wells.
They’re located in eight Maine communities.
It’s bottling plants operate in Hollis, Poland Spring and Kingfield.
It bears repeating. Nestle’s no good neighbor. It’s a corporate predator
According to Stop Nestle Waters.org, its “transgressions against
rural communities and watersheds include communities from the Northwest,
Michigan, Maine, Florida and Canada.”
It profits by stealing their water. It usually gets what it wants. It
does so by bribing and/or bullying local politicians. Other times, it
Not always. It failed in McCloud. Enumclaw, WA and Kennebunk, ME
“summarily kicked (it) out of” their communities. It’s not going quietly
into the night.
Stealing water for virtually nothing is too profitable to abandon. Nestle pursues every way possible to do it.
Stop Nestle Waters.org uses “community-building powers of the
Internet to counter Nestle’s big-dollar PR/legal/marketing legions.”
It wants communities across America in control of their own water. It wants Nestle and other water predators kept out.
In March 2012, Marseille, France hosted two international forums on water issues.
On March 16, 2012, Public Services International headlined “The resounding message from people’s world water forum: Reclaim public water!”
The World Water Council promotes privatization. An Alternative World Water Forum opposes its agenda.
It focuses on water as a human right. It’s a common good. It belongs to everyone. It’s not a commodity for sale.
It supports establishing universal legal standards. It wants them in
place to prevent corporate water predators from stealing public water.
It wants water free from corporate exploitation. It’s an essential to life resource.
The Transnational Institute (TNI)
promotes water justice. It says “(t)he 1990s witnessed an
ideologically-driven global push for water privatisation that failed to
deliver promised investments and pushed prices beyond the reach of the
“Water Justice believes it is critical to refocus the global water
debate on the key (issue): how to improve and expand public water
delivery around the world.”
It facilitates reclaiming water as a public resource. It does so by
working with “an international network of civil society activists, trade
unionists, academics, as well as water utility managers and engineers.”
Together they promote people-centred democratic public water
servicesAdvocates and facilitate public-public partnerships (PUPs).”
They represent “civil society’s voice in the UN’s Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA).”
The struggle to control world water pits communities and ordinary people against giant corporate predators.
At stake is what’s essential to human life. It bears repeating. Water belongs to everyone. It’s a universal right.
It’s not the private domain of predators to exploit. Doing so is “ecological terrorism.”
The struggle for water continues. It’s a life sustaining resource too important to lose.
By Stephen Lendman – author of ’How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War’. Visit his blog site atsjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/