Target: Paul Bulcke, Nestlé Chief Executive Officer
Goal: Demand that the company stop draining millions of gallons of water each year from drought-stricken areas, and stop bullying rural residents to protect its ability to do so
The bottled water industry is plagued with environmental and social justice issues. Americans consume roughly 30 billion plastic bottles of water each year according to Truthout. Most of these bottles will end up in landfills. The largest food and beverage company on Earth, Nestlé, has come under increasing pressure for its predatory practices: devastating local watersheds while failing to deliver on its many promises to area residents.
People in Colorado are fighting back as the company works to drain 65 million gallons of water annually from the Arkansas River. Truthout reports that the impact of such reckless pumping extends far beyond Colorado to Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas downstream–all of which have struggled with terrible drought in recent years. Nestlé assured residents that its intrusion would boost the region’s economy, yet in a pattern familiar to others affected by its operations these benefits have failed to materialize.
“It’s typical of Nestle to vastly overstate economic benefits (and the number of jobs going to locals) when it enters a rural community,” explains non-profit organization Stop Nestle Waters. The organization’s website also details flaws in environmental impact studies, which it says the company often presents without including any baseline data. This makes it easier for Nestlé to avoid paying for damages caused by its pumping operations.
One would think that, with such a terrible track record of accountability, the company would struggle to bring additional communities into its fold. But by exercising political pressure on pubic utility districts and other regulators, Nestlé has managed to turn its pillage of public water into a very lucrative business. It’s not uncommon for the company to sue when met with public opposition.
Access to clean water is widely seen as a human right (although one which Nestlé fails to recognize). Demand that the company cease draining water from drought-stricken areas, and stop bullying rural communities to try and force its “right” to do so.
Dear Mr. Bulcke,
Access to water is a human right recognized by the United Nations. You have publicly disagreed with this truth, arguing instead that your company has the right to pump water and sell it back to consumers at vastly inflated prices. When Nestlé extends its reach into rural communities ravaged by drought, withdrawing water from aquifers, springs and rivers already under tremendous strain, it is clear that reach has gone too far.
I must insist that your company end its practice of pillaging drought-stricken communities of their water. The long-term environmental impacts of such pumping are devastating, despite your assurances to the contrary. In addition I urge you to cease bullying rural communities, suing them for the right to deplete their natural resources and exercising immoral political pressure in order to protect your profits.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Todd Morris via Flickr