Along with many others, we share concerns about the health and safety of the citizens of Flint, Michigan. We believe steps need to be taken to identify root causes and provide safe drinking water for everyone, especially for those in Flint.
At Nestlé we firmly believe in the human right to water. All people should have access to safe, potable water for drinking, hygiene, food preparation and all daily necessities. We also believe in fair and equitable rules, regulations and fees that govern access to water and are consistent for all commercial water users.
We would like to bring clarity to a segment about Nestlé Waters North America that appeared on February 17 on Democracy Now, as part of five stories on the Flint water crisis.
- While it is true we were part of a legal action, it was resolved in 2009, and we believe most members of the community appreciate the role we play and our contribution to both the community and the economy.
- We adhere to fees that are the same as for other large-scale commercial water users in Michigan and follow rules governing groundwater, regardless of its use.
- We were given a tax break upon building our bottling facility in Stanwood, Michigan in 2002. The State of Michigan has been in need of employers, and these types of incentives appear to be turning the State employment issue in a positive direction.
- During our 14 years of operations, we have had rigorous science, monitoring, measurement and government oversight of our spring water withdrawals. We are confident that our management of water resources for sustainability is fully vetted and there has been no adverse impact on our sources, surrounding aquifers, or the Lake Michigan watershed.
- We have a set of Leadership Principles at Nestlé that guide our ethics and behavior, with no tolerance for targeting, intimidation, or coercion.
- It is true there was a bomb scare in 2003 on our property. This was handed to the proper law enforcement authorities for investigation.
Our 250 employees in Michigan are proudly coming to the aid of our neighbors in Flint. As a beverage producer, our primary role is refreshment and hydration, but in emergency situations, we along with many others willingly provide for those in need. To date, we’ve already donated or committed to donate 1.7 million bottles of water for the people of Flint and public schools.
We at Nestlé take our ethical role in society as paramount. We are a company built on compliance, and we vigorously follow all rules and regulations governing our operations and the communities where we operate. We recognize the value of fair rules and regulations, and will continue to adhere to those regulations for the benefit of all.
It is our sincere hope that we can come together – government, business and civil society – to find the short-term and long-term solutions for the people of Flint.