Nestlé is facing increased pressure surrounding its aim to grow its water business

By Catherine Rowell

In 2015, the bottled water industry reached volumes of 11.7 billion gallons, according to the International Bottled Water Association. Not only is this the result of consumers feeling embarrassed to ask for tap water in restaurants and up-market establishments, but it is a sector where demand has been growing year on year.

However, not only is there an issue with the number of plastic bottles which are manufactured, but also where the water originates. Nestle is facing increased pressure throughout its aim to grow its water collection business, as Southern California is currently going through a drought

Nestle is solely adding to these concerns, as reported by Los Angeles CBS News, managing over 10 water sources in California

Taking gallons of water out of the San Bernardino Mountains is causing havoc with the environment, with water levels decreasing, against an ongoing drought and consumer demand for bottled water from naturally flowing sources. With a plan to further expand, activists are increasingly concerned, especially with the site located on public land.

Nestle pay approximately $524 to the US Forest Service for the permit, according to CBS, which is now subject to review. However, Nelson Switzer, Nestle’s Water's Chief Sustainability Officer has said, "Nestle has water rights of course in this area. From a legal stand point, of course it's fair [to make money from this natural source], from a perception standpoint, I understand why people are asking that question.  But water belongs to no one."  

"The sustainability of the supply is paramount and if our activities were to compromise the sustainability of that supply, we would stop operating.” 

It will be interesting to see how Nestle continue their operations and how they will counteract these ongoing issues.

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