Nestlé Waters Response to Wall Street Journal Article by Jim Carlton

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It’s important to point out that we do not have a business presence in the state of Washington.

However, in the states where we do operate we have worked to be a good neighbor for many years. Our commitment goes beyond just caring about the water. We support communities across the state through job creation, water education, donations, disaster relief, partnerships, and employee volunteerism.  

It is our business and our passion to care for water, and we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a bottled water company to operate responsibly and sustainably. We follow the principles of putting our communities first, being good water stewards, and promoting healthy hydration. Bottled water plays 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. In 2017, the sales of individual-sized bottled water surpassed sales of carbonated soft drinks for the first time ever and we expect this trend to continue. That’s great news for the health of our country as billions of calories are being taken out of the American diet.  

We are proud to support our local communities in a variety of ways, including working alongside government agencies, regulators, and NGOs to protect the future of water.   

We invest in infrastructure, contribute money, water, and volunteer hours to local organizations, and provide water donations and disaster relief in times of emergency. For example, in Florida over the past three years we have donated more than four million bottles of water to those impacted by hurricanes. In Michigan, we began donating water to help the residents of Flint in 2015; from May 2018 through the end of December 2019, we have donated approximately 8.5 million bottles of water to Flint, and those donations are continuing.   

The positive economic impact we have in the states and communities where we operate is also significant. For example, we recently announced the results of an economic impact study conducted in Florida that shows we contribute a total economic impact of more than $250 million to the state including more than 900 direct, good-paying jobs, and state and local taxes exceeding $7 million; revenues used to fund fire and police departments, roads, utilities, human services, parks and recreation, and other essential public services. Similar past studies in Maine and Michigan illustrate the positive impact we have in those states as well.   

Florida Permit 

To be clear, the permit for water use at Ginnie Springs is held by Seven Springs, a local Florida business. They have the right to use and sell the permitted amount of water to NWNA or to anyone else. For over 20 years, Seven Springs has made the withdrawals and is responsible to maintain the wells and ensure that their withdrawals don’t go beyond the permitted amount. Nestlé Water’s purchase of spring water from Seven Springs will always remain within the level of their water use permit, which was granted by the SWRMD. Using water beyond the permitted amount would be cause for action by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), which can include fines or possible revocation of Seven Springs’ water use permit. 

Florida has comprehensive groundwater withdrawal regulations, which we welcome, and will continue to meet. In Florida, we have a 25-year proven track record of successful long-term management of water resources at our facilities, and also of working closely with state and local water agencies and environmental organizations on aquifer protection and recharge projects. We are proud of our record of managing our spring sources responsibly and for long-term sustainability. It would make absolutely no sense for us to invest millions of dollars into local operations just to deplete the natural resources on which our business relies.  

We are also proud of the more than 900 good paying jobs we create in Florida, and we know our investment and commitment is extremely important to the individuals, families, and Florida-based companies we support. 

For more facts about our operations in Florida, see here: 

Regarding the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling about our zoning permit application in Osceola Township: 

Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) will not appeal the Dec. 3 Michigan Court of Appeals ruling, which reversed the decision of the Circuit Court. We firmly believe that the Circuit Court was correct in ordering Osceola Township to issue a permit for our request to build a small, 12-foot by 22-foot building, to house a booster pump that would increase pressure along our pipeline to transport additional water from the White Pine Springs source. We believe the plan we proposed met the Township’s site plan and special land use standards.   

However, the matter has now been before two courts which reached different decisions. At this point, further litigation is not in anyone’s interest, so we have decided to explore other options to transport the water withdrawn from White Pine Springs.  

From the beginning, our goal with this request was to reduce, as much as possible, any impact to the local community and the environment. Nestlé Waters has worked to be a good neighbor to Osceola Township for over 17 years. We value our relationships with Township residents and community leaders, and always strive to create shared value within the communities where we operate. 

For additional, more detailed information for how we protect the environment and contribute to the communities where we operate, please click on the following links:   

Committed to Florida