Claims About Nestlé Waters in Michigan
- Nestlé Waters is draining Michigan's water.
- Nestlé Waters pays next to nothing to take water from Michigan.
- Nestlé did not do enough to help the people of Flint in their time of need.
- Nestlé Waters is a Swiss company, and not part of the Michigan community.
- Nestlé Waters' proposed increase in withdrawal is not sustainable.
- Nestlé Waters sued Osceola Township for not letting the company install infrastructure to transport additional water.
- Nestlé Waters' goal is to turn water from a public resource into a private one.
- Nestlé does not believe that water is a human right.
Nestlé Waters is draining Michigan's water.
Michigan has an abundance of water—it's number 1 in the U.S.
According to a 2015 United States Geological Survey (USGS) study, Michigan ranks as the number one state with the highest percentage of water area, with 41.5% of its total area occupied by water.
Water is a rapidly renewable resource.
The water we use is naturally replenished through the water cycle. For example, our data shows that over the past 18 years, there has been an increase in precipitation leading to a corresponding increase in aquifer levels. According to the USGS and academic research, Michigan is a “wet region”—it is predicted to get wetter in the years ahead.
Nestlé Waters is a relatively small commercial water user in the state.
According to data compiled by Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE), Michigan’s nearly 40 bottled water companies account for less than .01% of water used in the state. Our water use in Michigan ranks us far down on the list of the state’s water users
The water we bottle doesn't travel far.
Approximately 90% of the water we source in Michigan is sold to customers within the Great Lakes states.
Nestlé Waters is committed to the sustainability of water in the communities where we live and operate.
Nestlé Waters has committed to certify, under the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard, all of our sites globally by 2025. The AWS Standard is the first of its kind globally to promote best practices in water stewardship that benefit communities and help preserve local watersheds. In August 2019, our Stanwood, Mich., bottling facility received Gold certification under the AWS Standard, a distinction that recognizes the additional effort and positive water stewardship outcomes that go beyond core requirements
Nestlé Waters pays next to nothing to take water from Michigan.
All industrial and commercial water users pay the same price if they own the infrastructure.
Nestlé Waters pays the rate set by the local and state authorities at all of our sites. We do not receive a special rate for water use. While it makes for catchy headlines, we are not buying millions of gallons of water for $200. That $200 is an annual fee that goes to the state, similar to a car registration fee. It’s just one of the many expenses we pay to operate in Michigan. What we all pay for is the cost associated with infrastructure, quality and delivery of water.
We make significant investments in infrastructure—we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars.
Since we began operating in Michigan, we have made capital investments totaling more than $267 million. The company's economic activity generates nearly $5 million each year that support state and local taxes, which fund local schools, fire and police departments, local parks and other essential public services.
We create good quality jobs for Michigan residents and support local businesses.
Our company directly employs approximately 280 people in Michigan. According to a 2017 economic impact study, we buy more than $50 million in goods and services from Michigan companies. Our presence results in a total of 765 jobs created statewide and more than $160 million in economic activity, putting more money in the pockets of Michigan residents and small businesses. Since 2002, NWNA has made capital investments totaling more than $267 million and contributed $427 million to Michigan’s economy.
The increased water withdrawal limit allowed by Nestlé Waters’ approved permit is not sustainable
Our withdrawals do not have an adverse impact on the surrounding area— scientific data confirms this.
Scientific data has confirmed that increasing our withdrawal of water from the White Pine Springs source would not have an adverse impact on the surrounding area. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE) agreed with this conclusion after their review of environmental data and groundwater models, which it called, “The most extensive analysis of any water withdrawal in Michigan history.”
We conduct comprehensive environmental monitoring at our spring sources in Michigan.
For 18 years, Nestlé Waters has worked with independent, professional scientists to conduct regular and ongoing monitoring of groundwater, surface water and the local ecosystem to help ensure the long-term sustainability of water resources. We regularly collect data from multiple monitoring points in Michigan. We use this data to help conserve a healthy ecosystem where we operate.
To supplement our data, in December 2018 we welcomed the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) a respected, third-party scientific agency, which began conducting its own ongoing monitoring and collection of surface water and groundwater data near NWNA’s White Pine Springs source in Osceola Township, Michigan. USGS monitoring is ongoing and results are available here.
Depleting the water resources in Michigan would put us out of business.
Simply put: it would make absolutely NO sense to invest millions of dollars into our local operations just to deplete the natural resources on which our business relies. It would undermine the success of our business and go against every value we hold as people and as a company.
Nestlé is profiting from the water crisis in Flint.
We’ve been providing free water and other support to Flint residents since the beginning of the crisis.
Starting in October 2015, our Ice Mountain team began shipping water donations to help the residents of Flint. In January 2016, we partnered with a coalition that included Walmart and other companies to provide safe, clean drinking water to meet the needs of more than 10,000 public school students in Flint.
We've never stopped helping the residents of Flint.
We’ve been working closely with the Flint community to understand their current needs, and how we can best help meet those needs. In early May 2018, we began partnering with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to provide regular bottled water deliveries to three help centers located at the Greater Holy Temple, Bethel United Methodist Church, and Asbury United Methodist Church.
Through August 2020, we have donated more than 12 million bottles of water to Flint residents, and the weekly deliveries are ongoing. We also worked with Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley to deliver an incremental 90,000+ bottles to the city of Flint for distribution to residents who cannot leave their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our operations in Michigan have absolutely NO connection to the crisis in Flint.
Nestlé Waters has never withdrawn water from any location in or near Flint. We source water from a completely different watershed, more than 120 miles away.
We’re helping donated water bottles get recycled.
In collaboration with Keep America Beautiful and Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Nestlé Waters and our corporate partners established recycling infrastructure and awareness programs to support the Flint school community.
Nestlé Waters is a Swiss company, and not part of the Michigan community.
We are an international company with a significant U.S. presence, and have been operating in Michigan for more than 18 years.
While Nestlé Waters North America is owned by Nestlé, which is based in Switzerland, we are an international company with a significant presence in the United States. Our headquarters is based in Stamford, Connecticut, and we have approximately 7,000 employees across the country.
Our employees don't just work with the local community, they ARE the local community.
It is easy to forget, but Nestlé Waters North America, like any company, is made up of people. Here in Michigan, we employ approximately 280 people in the state who care about the environment and the well-being of their local communities, just like you do. They live, work and raise their families in the same communities where we operate, and for that reason, they are just as passionate as you are about protecting their neighbors and the natural resources of the area.
We just celebrated 18 years of sustainable operations, and we’re proud of it.
2020 marks our 18th year operating in Michigan, and whether through a strong commitment to water stewardship, volunteering, or community investment, we aim to make a positive impact every day.
We are committed to local causes and organizations and support them regularly.
We support many community organizations here in the state through donations of water, food, supplies and money. Ice Mountain employees volunteer where they live and work to support meaningful community projects including environmental cleanups along rivers and highways. Nestlé Waters has committed more than $2.5 million to the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship Fund (IMESF) to support multiple projects intended to help improve the health of the Muskegon River watershed. Learn more here.
Nestlé Waters sued Osceola Township for not letting the company install infrastructure to transport additional water.
We absolutely did NOT sue Osceola Township.
We simply appealed a 1-1 decision by the Osceola Zoning Board that denied our request for a permit to build a 12-foot by 22-foot building, designed to house a booster pump in Osceola Township. An independent Circuit Court ruled that our request met all of the Township’s zoning ordinance provisions and ordered the Township to issue the zoning permit. The Township, however, chose to file an appeal of the Circuit Court ruling. On December 3, 2019, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that Nestlé Waters should not be issued a permit to build this building. This ruling reversed the decision of the Circuit Court.
This is a zoning issue and has no bearing on our water withdrawals.
Water withdrawal in the State of Michigan is governed by Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE). The zoning permit request filed with the Township would have allowed us to build a 12-foot by 22-foot building, designed to house a booster pump. The pump would have increased pressure along our pipeline to transport additional water.
Several years ago, Osceola Township issued a zoning permit to Nestlé Waters to construct a similar building in the township under the very same ordinances.
Nestlé Waters twice offered to delay or postpone our appeal in an effort to help reduce the local government’s legal expenses.
We are sensitive to the local government’s incurrence of legal fees. That is why we did what we could to help them reduce these costs by offering to delay our appeal until EGLE (then MDEQ) issued our withdrawal permit. Unfortunately, our offers were refused by the Township.
The booster pump building would have had minimal impact on Osceola Township.
While we have evaluated several options, the booster station would have been the most efficient, would have had the smallest environmental footprint, and would have had the added benefit of providing additional tax revenue to the Township.
From the beginning, our goal with this request was to reduce, as much as possible, any impact to the local community and the environment. We believe the plan we proposed met the Township’s site plan and special land use standards.
We do not believe this decision by the Court of Appeals to deny our permit request will have any impact on our operations.
We will use other methods to transport water withdrawn from White Pine Springs.
Nestlé Waters’ goal is to turn water from a public resource into a private one.
We do not compete with municipalities for water. EVER. And we do not privatize public water supplies.
For example, in Michigan communities like Evart where we purchase water, we have a clause in our agreement that specifies that, before we can purchase water, the community must have enough water to meet their needs. In addition, in 2019 we invested $1.5 million to evaluate and help provide a new city well in Osceola County that is used solely by the community.
Bottled water cannot, and will not, replace tap water—and we never expect it to.
Bottled water does, however, play an important role in helping Americans stay hydrated at a time when more and more beverages are consumed away from home. Americans have a growing preference for water—mineral, sparkling, flavored and still. Since 2017, bottled water sales have surpassed sales of carbonated soft drinks.
That’s great news for the health of our country as billions of calories are being taken out of the American diet. As the #1 bottled water brand in the Midwest, it’s also great news for the communities where we invest.
Bottled water is also essential in times of natural disaster or other emergencies. We frequently supply drinking water to local municipalities and first responders when the need is there. In 2019 alone, we donated more than 18 million bottles of water to communities in need across the country.
Nestlé’s CEO believes water is not a human right. I saw the video being circulated online.
We absolutely, unequivocally believe that water is a human right.
Safe, clean drinking water is essential to human life, and we believe that access to it is a fundamental human right. Everyone should have consistent access to quality water to meet daily hydration, cooking and hygiene needs
The online video claiming otherwise is over 15 years old and depicts someone who is no longer our CEO.
Critics use a video interview that our former Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe gave in 2005 – over 15 years ago – to claim that he thinks all water sources should be privatized. This is simply false.
The video is edited by critics to be intentionally misleading in order to advance a false narrative about our company.
Mr. Brabeck’s comments were taken out of context and engineered by critics to create an inaccurate soundbite that would scare and anger viewers.
Nestlé’s current chairman has affirmed that the company believes water is a human right.
In March 2018, ́Nestlé’s current Chairman of the Board Paul Bulcke publicly stated: “At Nestlé, we unequivocally believe that access to water is a basic human right. Everyone, everywhere in the world, has the right to clean, safe water for drinking and sanitation.”