The repercussions of Nestlé’s controversial decisions continue to surface. Most recently the bottled water giant outbid a small town in Canada pushing to secure long-term water supply through a local well. The outcome caused a national boycott of Nestlé as a result.
Activist group, The Council of Canadians, launched the boycott on Thursday shortly following the news that Nestlé outbid the Township of Centre Wellington, Ont. for the well that has the potential to give it a new water supply.
The activist group stressed the critical need for bottled water industry reform given the fact that the country continues to battle drought and depletion of ground water reserves.
“The water crisis is at our door here in Canada,” Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians explained. “Wasting our limited groundwater on frivolous and consumptive uses such as bottled water is a recipe for disaster.”
A Nestlé spokesman retaliated by claiming it was unaware that the company was competing with a municipality, yet it still matched their offer to follow through with the purchase from the Middlebrook Water Company for “future business growth.”
Barlow believes the company is overlooking the seriousness of the limited water supply, she emphasized that groundwater resources are finite and currently taxed by droughts, climate change and other factors, stating that “we will not have enough for our future needs. We must safeguard groundwater reserves for communities and future generations.”
The advocacy group is urging people to support the boycott by signing an online declaration that looks to keep Nestlé from profiting from bottled water.
“In the middle of a severe drought in southern Ontario, bottled water giant Nestlé continues to extract four million liters of groundwater every day from an aquifer near Guelph,” the declaration explains.
“Nestlé pays less than $15 per day for this precious resource and then ships it out of the community in hundreds of millions of single use plastic bottles for sale all over North America — at an astronomical mark up.”
Nestlé is currently allowed to remove up to 3.6 million liters of water a day for bottling at its nearby site in Aberfoyle, Ont. The company plans to use the new location as a “supplemental well for future business growth.”
“There is much pressure on our water, so as we have this discussion about our water, the status of and the treatment of water bottling companies, that needs to be taken into consideration,” she continued.
Just last year a petition in B.C. lashed out against bottling companies such as Nestlé that were taking water in the area for $2.25 per million liters during a time when wildfires were ripping through the province. The petition garnered 230,000 signatures, and demanded that Nestlé pay more to take the water.
But the Council of Canadians declaration doesn’t want more money from the company, rather they want to “stop Nestlé from profiting from water” completely. They are urging supporters to stop buying bottled water or any Nestlé products altogether.
“Wasting our limited groundwater on frivolous and consumptive uses such as bottled water is madness,” it announced.
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