Stop Bottling Water in Drought-Stricken California

Target: Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks

Goal: Stop bottling water in drought-stricken California.

Water from California is allegedly being bottled up and sent to be sold in Starbucks cafes around the country, even though the state is experiencing one of its most severe droughts in history. This is a profoundly unethical use of this precious resource. Demand that Starbucks cease using California water in its bottled Ethos water.

For every $1.95 of Ethos water—a feel-good line of boutique bottled water exclusive to the ubiquitous coffee chain—sold, Starbucks donates five cents to fund clean water projects in developing parts of the world. As admirable as that cause is, unfortunately, the sources of this bottled water are less than stellar.

At a plant located in Merced, California, a community currently in the throes of “exceptional drought” according to authorities, Starbucks bottles water for its Ethos line that it gets for free from private springs, and that is speculated to cut into municipal water supplies downstream. While communities in Merced and across California are facing harsh water cuts and while farms are wasting away to dust, Starbucks is bottling clean water for private consumption and corporate profit.

Water is needed in California right now, not bottled up in cafes across the country. Sign the petition below to demand that Starbucks stop bottling the increasingly-rare water in California for its Ethos brand.


Dear Chairman Schultz,

I am writing you today regarding the news that recently broke about your water-bottling operations in Merced, California as reported by Mother Jones. This is a horrible waste of California’s resources and it must be stopped at once.

California is in the middle of one of the greatest droughts in its recorded history. Cities and families are rationing water, farmers are seeing crops die and their profits plummet, and reservoirs and aquifers are literally drying up. Many are saying that we are witnessing the desertification of California before our very eyes, a product of climate change and poor resource management.

This fact underscores the profound recklessness of your company’s decision to bottle water in the state. While you brand Ethos water as a forward-thinking, morally and environmentally sound product with its investment in clean water initiatives, sourcing that water from a region experiencing a severe water crisis portrays a focus more on profits than environmental charity and development.

If Starbucks insists on bottling water, a corporation as large and powerful as it is can easily source it from somewhere else that has much more plentiful resources and that can spare the use. I demand that Starbucks stop bottling Californian water immediately and in perpetuity.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: DAKALUK

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One Comment

  1. Ruth Rogers Ruth Rogers says:


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