Corporations Like Nestlè Are Wasting Your Money
In our latest report on the impacts of the bottled water industry on people and the environment, Take Back the Tap: The Big Business Hustle of Bottled Water, we're taking a look at the bottled water industry’s predatory marketing, the extraction of communities’ water resources, and the powerhouse lobbying that has helped bottled water corporations see sales soar since 2010.
Industry marketing from corporations like Nestlè means that more people are buying bottled water than ever — even though about 64 percent of the bottled water comes from municipal water systems. That means that people buying bottled water are paying much, much more than they would for that same water from the tap. Bottled water is literally more expensive than gasoline -- and about 2,000 times more expensive than tap water.
Bottled water companies profit from misleading advertising. People and the environment lose.
Predatory Marketing Towards Women and People of Color
Industry marketing strategies designed to promote the safety of bottled water to people who historically lack access to safe tap water (especially recent immigrants) prey upon those who may mistrust tap water and communities concerned about obesity and sugary beverages. In 2014, Nestlé spent over $5 million advertising Pure Life — the most advertised U.S. bottled water brand — and three quarters ($3.8 million) went to Spanish-language television advertising.
download full report here
Other Key Report Findings Include:
- A gallon’s worth of single-serve bottled water costs almost $9.50 — nearly 2,000 times the price of tap water, three times the national average price for a gallon of milk and four times the national average price for a gallon of regular grade gasoline.
- From 2011 to 2016, the bottled water market grew 39 percent by volume, from 9.2 to 12.8 billion gallons, while the soft drink market shrank 8 percent in volume.
- In 2016, 4 billion pounds of plastic was used in U.S. bottled water production, requiring an estimated energy input equivalent of about 64 million barrels of oil.
- The International Bottled Water Association, Nestlé Waters NA, Nestlé USA and Coca-Cola lobbied Congress on issues including bottled water, water infrastructure, California drought relief and a National Park Service policy to allow parks to ban bottled water sales. These companies’ lobbying expenditures between 2014 and 2016 topped $28 million.
- Multinational bottling companies benefit from public disinvestment in water infrastructure, as the chairman of Nestlé Waters stated in 2009: “We believe tap infrastructure in the U.S. will continue to decline…. People will turn to filtration and bottled water for pure water needs.”
The report recommends people choose tap over bottled water, and advocates for water management under the public trust doctrine as a common resource. It also recommends that Congress pass the Water Affordability, Transparency Equity and Reliability Act (WATER Act), which would dedicate federal funding to our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
Congress must ensure that our water infrastructure is adequately funded to protect current and future generations’ human right to water. Read the report, and then take action: