Bottled Life Nestle's Business with Water (2012) Movie Script

The boost to our EBIT margin
from 9.8 percent
to 14 percent of sales.
We eliminated more
than 10 percent
of all stock-keeping units.
Nine billion Swiss Francs,
or almost nine billion dollars.
From 6.2 billion Swiss Francs
to 15 billion Swiss Francs,
an average gross
of 10 percent per year.
Food and beverage amounts
and surpassed, also,
the 100th billion order.
Our internal volume gross
to 3.7 percent on average.
With three percent,
this has reached
a level amongst the highest
attained in my 12 years
as chief executive.
Lake Geneva.
It's into this lake
that melt water flows
from the mountains
of Switzerland.
Located on the shoreline
is the headquarters
of a company which deals
in water.
It's the headquarters of Nestl,
the most powerful food and
beverage company in the world.
Without water there is no
sustainability for our company
and for our shareholders.
This has to be
our chief priority.
The continued availability
of water is key
to our continued ability
to grow and to serve
the consumers' needs
all over the world.
At Nestl, we believe that to
have a long-term
business success, you must
simultaneously create value
for the shareholders
and for the public.
And we call this creating
shared value
and it is a fundamental
principle behind the way
we conduct business at Nestl.
Our corporate social
responsibility report
is as thick as our financial
report, so I think
it's a good balance again,
which is reflected.
When it comes to water,
Peter Brabeck
is a global ambassador.
He travels the world,
preaching cautious and careful
use of this most
precious commodity.
He's a captain of big business,
committed to making money,
but also a man who speaks
of social responsibility,
so I want to know
more about that.
My first destination
is the east of Ethiopia,
where Nestl is helping
the United Nations to provide
a U.N. refugee camp
with drinking water.
It's one of their humanitarian
projects, which the company
finances as part of its
corporate social
responsibility program.
It's the lack of drinking water,
the global water problem,
which is also of paramount
priority for the U.N.
The water crisis is perhaps
the most urgent ecological
and human threat of our time
and more children die
every year in our world of water
than HIV/AIDS,
traffic accidents,
and war combined.
In their recent World Water
Development Report,
twenty-four agencies of
the United Nations
confirmed that the global
water crisis
is getting worse and threatening
millions of people every day.
We can benefit the people
of Ethiopia
in a way that is impossible
for either the United Nations
or Nestl to do it by itself.
Clean drinking water
is a life or death issue.
By combining the know-how
of our Nestl water
company geologists with
the field expertise of UNHCR,
be able to ensure access
to pure water for tens
of thousands of people.
This is true, not only
for today,
but for many years to come.
This is the camp to which
Peter Brabeck is referring
in his Nestl video.
It's home to some 20,000
refugees from neighboring
war-torn Somalia.
Many of them have been here
for more than 20 years,
waiting for the killing
in their country to stop.
In 2004 the situation
got better.
Due to the pipeline.
But I get only two to three
jerrycans a day.
That has to satisfy ten people
for drinking, cooking,
and washing.
Sometimes we are two to
three days without water.
Due to borehole problems,
may be lack of electricity.
Then we have to wait for the
specialist to repair the system.
It's exhausting.
We have to share
with the neighbours
and economize even more.
I've been expecting something
of a showcase project,
but instead, refugees tell me
there's a shortage of water.
The camp is supplied by
an underground water pipeline,
the water being pumped
from the valley,
some 20 kilometers away.
Nestl co-financed
the water supply system,
and according to Peter Brabeck,
is committed
to its long-term operation.
The groundwater is high
in ion content
and requires special treatment.
This is the water pipe
which leads up
to the Kebribeyah refugee camp.
Because of the strong corrosion,
the water pumps
down in the valley are often
out of operation,
and when that happens,
20,000 people
at the other end of the pipe
are left without water.
This is the station where we
keep three service pumps,
to pump water from here
to the booster station.
We are... in the last three
or four years,
we have a lot of work
to maintain this
because after time,
the pumps get older
and they have to be replaced,
and this system is now running,
partially as a result
of the funding we got
from (unintelligible).
This means that Nestl
is no longer
supporting this system?
No, not now, these new pumps
are changed in 2007
and then 2008.
Until 2004, they supported
and since then
they are not anymore
following up this project.
(machine running)
We have to continue to ensure
the provision of water
to our people and we have
refugees in Kebribeyah.
We have refugees in Aw Barre
and in Shedder.
About 75,000 refugees alone
are depending
on the provision of UNHCR...
UNHCR support,
so we really need supporters,
organizations, donors.
Nestl's commitment
to the camp is finished,
but according to the company
website, it's still continuing.
...are closer to reality
than ever before.
Our aim is to make sure
that the water system
can keep functioning
over the long-term,
so that the people of the region
and their children
will have access to clean water
for many years into the future.
Nestl has not been here
since 2005... end of 2005.
Is Brabeck intentionally
playing up Nestl's commitment?
Or is the companies
PR perhaps getting
just a little too enthusiastic?
The water companies are in this
for one reason
and that is profit and sometimes
they connect up to a project
like this for their marketing
tools because we,
all over the world,
are criticizing them
and they are trying to renew
their image in the world.
They don't stick with something
unless it's profitable.
They are a big, transnational,
competitive corporation.
They will never stay
with something
for humanitarian reasons.
They don't get into it
for humanitarian reasons
and they won't stay with it
for humanitarian reasons.
Maude Barlow, from Canada,
is an ambassador for water,
just like Peter Brabeck.
...and it's gonna have rivers
that run so fast...
Except that she's
a consumer activist,
a winner of the Alternative
Nobel Prize,
and a strong critic of Nestl. love mother nature.
Nestl and water, we've asked
the company for an interview
and we're still waiting
for a reply.
For the time being, we can film
only these pictures,
on the fringes of a media event.
Nestl is one of the most
profitable companies ever.
Annual turnover exceeds
$100 billion.
It's the world's largest
food and beverage multinational,
adored by investors
big and small.
More than a quarter
of a million staff,
and the chairman of the board
is a man with a mission.
I have often wondered what is
the most important single factor
that could ensure
a company continuing
for another 140 years.
And I have come to the same
conclusion - water.
Water has been important
for Nestl ever since
Henri Nestl founded the company
nearly 150 years ago.
He was producing mineral water
as early as the 19th Century.
He lived high above Lake Geneva,
privately acquiring
local water rights, so that he
could provide his home
and garden with fresh water.
To the village, he donated
this fountain,
with its excess of residual
water from his home.
When it comes to bottled water,
Nestl is the undisputed
world leader.
The company has bought up
many of its competitors
and now owns more than 70
different brands.
Annual turnover totals more
than $9 billion.
With the takeover of Perrier
in 1992,
brands such as Poland Spring
joined the product portfolio,
ensuring access to the lucrative
beverage market
of the U.S.A.
We also look, of course,
which is also very important,
which is, "What is the
image of our company?"
So we are checking all over
the world, constantly,
what are people thinking
about Nestl's compliance,
about Nestl's responsibility
as a corporate citizen?
In Bern, Switzerland,
I have an appointment
with a senior Nestl manager.
He chose the restaurant.
Will Nestl give us information
about its water business?
And an interview
with Peter Brabeck?
The answer is "no."
According to the Nestl man,
it would be the wrong film
at the wrong time.
Then he offers to commission
from us a film about
the global use of water
in every culture.
Above and beyond that, the doors
of Nestl will be closed to us,
That means no cooperation
from Nestl.
From now on, we can film
Peter Brabeck
only when he makes
public appearances,
but that doesn't deter us,
so we travel to the country
where the company sells
most of its water.
A spring water pumping station
in the northeast of the U.S.A.
For its Poland Spring brand,
Nestl pumps out
a million liters
of water here every day.
A tanker can hold
30,000 liters of water,
for which Nestl pays
a private landowner
just $10.
In Fryeburg, the heavy traffic
poses a problem.
The water tankers carry out
25,000 trips a year.
They travel to Nestl's
bottling plant,
located about an hour
from the village.
An aquifer in Fryeburg,
that supplies about a sixth
of the water for
Poland Spring bottling,
was the focus
of attention today.
Some of the town's residents
say Poland Spring
is polluting a local pond and
ruining their quality of life.
So today, dozens of people
made a splash
to highlight their concern.
News Center's Kristen Cullen
has the story.
Howard Dearborn wants
Poland Spring out of Fryeburg.
If you're taking millions
of gallons of water
out of one place, there has to
be an effect somewhere.
That's why he's invited Fryeburg
residents to dump
bottles of Poland Spring water
into the pond outside his home,
back where it came from,
but Mark Dubois,
with Poland Spring,
says these claims are false
and denies that the company's
business in Fryeburg
is polluting the pond.
No one's been able to suggest
any fact that there's
a relationship between
our withdrawals
and the suggestions
that Mr. Dearborn's making.
They don't belong here, they
don't have a right to be here,
and even if law allows,
they don't have a right
to come here and take the water.
I think it is a soap opera
in that it has many aspects
of good fiction.
It has families,
it has money, it has politics,
it has a lot of intrigue,
a lot of secret meetings,
a lot of public misconception
and misperception
and misinformation and a lot
of court action
and um, small-town political
in-fighting and disagreement.
In Fryeburg, Nestl wants to
build a second pumping station.
It wants to pump double
the quantity of water,
but after some consideration,
the local authorities
are refusing
the company permission.
As a result, Nestl is now
suing the town.
This truck access, from Denmark
and that water source,
is something that is crucial
to their growth here.
It's crucial to the supply
of water to their other plants,
I assume.
It raises the question
even more loudly,
"Who does the water
belong to?"
And if I have a house
next to your house
and I pump out of my land,
where is the line
where what I pump out
from under my land,
is coming out from under yours?
The situation right now is that
the public has said "no."
The planning board said "no,"
the appeals board has said "no,"
and Nestl is suing.
The appeal was finaled,
I believe, last week
or the week before.
Suing the inhabitants
of the town of Fryeburg.
In my opinion that is an
absolute right
when somebody says they do not
want a bottling
operation in their community.
That is something we
must also understand.
Nestl constantly needs
new sources of water.
Here in the state of Maine,
a whole team of hydrogeologists
is searching for new springs
for the company.
Nestl either acquires
water rights privately
or purchases whole
areas outright,
which is what happened
in the Fryeburg region.
In the state of Maine, you can
take as much water as you want.
It was a law that was put
into place for people
who were running farms
and needed to have water
in order to sustain themselves
in order to make
a piece of land work.
The playing field
that they operate on
is one of laws that exist
and litigation, lawsuits,
and regulations, so they
are very, very astute
in dealing with um,
changing regulations
or working within regulations
to meet the demands
and goals that they have,
so Howard is trying to do
whatever he can, I'm helping
him out to try to raise
awareness to this issue,
and the bigger issue is,
"Whose water is it?"
Poland Springs or Nestls
would like to sew up
the entire area up here,
and get all this mountain water,
and sell it all over
the world for money,
regardless of what it does
to the ecology.
Of course.
Money rules.
If there was no resistance
to them coming to town,
there would be no office
with a good-neighbor policy
and giving away free coffee.
The funny part is they
give away free water.
They were giving away a case
of free water to the first 50
people every month
that come in there,
and for me it's extremely
ludicrous because that water
is the water that we get
when we turn our sink on.
They put it in a plastic bottle,
after they pump it into a truck,
they bring it and put labels
on it, bring it back to Fryeburg
and give it away as a free gift
to the people
who can turn their sink on.
For me it's a travesty,
it's a joke.
They use it up there
to wash their hands in it
and flush their toilets
with the same water
that Nestls is selling
as spring water.
Think about that.
In Maine, opposition is growing.
Many people are angry
that Nestl is making
big money out of their water.
I meet up again
with Maude Barlow.
Nestl is a water hunter,
they're a predator.
They're not interested
in the sustainable use
of groundwater or the springs
that... or the rivers
and the springs that they use.
They're out for one thing
and that is to make money,
and so they come into an area
and they see the water
like water mining,
like a gold company.
They come in, they drain
an aquifer till it's gone
and when it's gone they move on.
They don't live there,
very seldom.
They don't have any
connection to the place.
They're after profit.
They're predators, water
hunters, looking for the last
pure water in the world.
In the small town of Poland,
stands a kind
of fairy tale castle.
It's a bottling plant dating
from the year 1907.
The original spring
now has little water.
Rumor has it the spring
ran dry a long time ago.
But the name has remained.
Today, Poland Spring
is the top-selling
spring water in the U.S.A.
For Nestl, a sparkling success
in terms of turnover.
Today in the state of Maine,
there are three new plants
bottling Poland Spring water.
The newest is this one,
built by Nestl in Kingfield,
one hundred and twenty
kilometers from
the original spring.
(truck engine)
We want to pay a visit.
The local media spokesperson
said that all she had to do
was inform head office.
Hello, my name is Res
from DokLab.
We want to visit the factory.
Do you have an appointment
or are you here
to see somebody in particular?
Yeah uh, Elizabeth Swain
told us to come to Kingfield.
- Elizabeth Swain?
- Yeah.
Could you wait a minute, please?
The barrier stays down,
just like the Nestl man
told us back in
the Swiss restaurant.
(rain and thunder)
In Kingfield, the water
is clean and pure,
and there's plenty of it.
The village is located
off the beaten track
and is sparsely populated
north of Maine.
The town's regulatory ordinance
allows Nestl
to pump 750 million liters
of water every year.
This village has welcomed
the new factory.
Kingfield has a population
of 1,000.
Many hope that Nestl's
presence will mean
an economic upswing
for the village.
I think it's been very positive.
Our community has lost a lot
of jobs over the years
and Poland Spring
has come to town.
Right now they're probably,
you know employing 40,
50, 60 people,
I'm not sure the exact numbers.
I think it's gonna expand,
and, um, they've been
a good neighbor.
Um, they pay taxes,
they support the schools,
they support the... excuse me...
The fire department,
the recreation programs.
Um, it's a very positive
experience, you know,
that we've had
with Poland Spring.
The First Selectman, John Dill,
supported the Nestl project
right from the start.
N the town hall, local clubs,
and societies requiring
financial support,
can fill in these Poland Spring
donation request forms.
I love having them in town.
They've been good neighbors,
they've given us
some economic stability, they've
paid a fair amount of taxes,
they've helped other area towns,
they've helped all the schools,
all five schools
in our school district,
they contribute to, um, local
and civic organizations.
We got an old 25 year-old
playground that was unsafe
for the kids and they were
a large contributor to that.
So we now have a modern
playground for the local
kids to play with.
How much does Poland Spring
pay for the water?
The water's free because
the people who own the land...
State law says, "You own the
land, you own what's
underneath the land,"
so the town didn't own
the land so we couldn't...
We couldn't lease the water.
All we can do is levy
property taxes.
They are part of the town.
They've done everything
we've asked them to do and more.
They have always been
good neighbors.
My next destination
is a wildlife preserve,
some 200 kilometers
south of Kingfield.
(truck passing)
Here, too, the hydrogeologists
have been successful
in their search,
but a small group of women
are against Nestl.
(running water)
Look over there, there's water
coming this side of...
And kind of a thins out,
that was the start
of the field and it would go
down to the brook.
The reason I'm fighting
for water preservation
is we have a very large
water aquifer here
that we care very much about
what happens to it.
Nestl moved their way
into it over three years ago
without us knowing about it.
We noticed wells were in place
on this land
and that's why we began
the fight
to maintain control of this.
Motto for Maine is the way
life should be
and life should not include
corporate trucks
going back and forth,
it is nature at its best,
that's what Maine is known for
and I'd like to see that
we keep it that way.
My passion is um, we're in
the battle of our life
with Nestl and we're trying
to not have Nestl
come into our town.
I find that water is
a necessity,
it is not a commodity,
so I've joined with, um,
some friends and neighbors
in the town here
and we were actually, uh,
trying to stop, uh,
Nestl from coming in
and extracting water
from this area in a large scale.
Watch the tree.
The State Department
of Inland Fisheries and Game
had allowed them to put
monitoring test wells in.
There are approximately 18
of them in the ground.
I have learned through
the representative,
he told them, "Just go
up North and buy a lake,
they don't want you here."
But they said they want this
because, um, it is so pure
and it won't cost them much.
So, Nestl decided
to put wells in the ground,
they go down a certain number
of feet and they let them
monitor the water levels
in this area
of the land preserve.
They have not requested a permit
to extract,
they're only testing our area.
Well, here we are!
We're still, this is three years
we've been tested.
In order to exploit commercially
the massive reserves of water,
Nestl is trying
to find private land
at the towns of Shapleigh
and Newfield.
From there, it wants to pump
water from the wildlife preserve
and at the lowest
possible price.
In the towns
around the preserve,
Nestl has now become
a political issue.
(car horns honking)
(car horns honking)
As for Fryeburg, we cannot
fight that company
on any level playing field.
They didn't feel
it was necessary to hold
a public hearing on this issue.
This is why local control
is so important.
Government exists
to serve the people.
The people do not exist
to serve the government.
We are not serfs.
- Yay!
- Yeah!
Your elected officials are there
to carry out your wishes.
Corporate America
has the large lobby firms.
They are there,
they are drowning us out.
It is time for people
to stand back up and speak
to what they need to address,
what is right for their towns.
You live in the towns,
they don't.
They live overseas.
It is a question of whether
the normal water supply
for the population
should be privatized or not.
And there are
two points of view.
One, I would call it
an extreme point of view,
is that supported by NGOs
which insist on water
being declared a public right.
In other words, as a person,
you simply should have a right
to have water.
That's an extreme solution.
The other view is
that water is a foodstuff
and just like any foodstuff,
it should have market value.
They want our water and they
want our water for profit
and what they're paying,
less than a penny a gallon,
is just outrageous
and what happens is they come...
They come in again to these
small rural areas where there's
very limited government
and they use their scare tactics
and they're a billion
dollar company
and you can never beat them.
Nestl has the power to come in
and alter a road then that says
that something is not correct
with our state government.
I went to a meeting
in Hollis, uh, just to see
how they go about to try
to change the town regulations
and after the meeting,
I was approached
by their lead attorney,
Mr. Ahearn, as if
what would I want to turn
around and to support Nestl,
and what how...
What could he do for me here
and I... and I mentioned stuff
about Route 11, how it was gonna
be their major truck route,
and he says,
"We'll get the bridges fixed.
Whatever you people need,
we will do."
And I said,
"You can't do anything.
I wanna save the river that I
live on, my game preserve,
that is not up for sale."
So, we went into this thinking,
"Okay, yes, if we can work
with them on the regulatory
ordinance that they're going
to be using, and we only
wanted a few things.
If they had thrown us a bone
and given us a couple,
we probably would have said,
"Hey, yeah, we did a great job
and we kept 'em, you know,
to only so many trucks a day,
or so many hours of,
uh, use, or we,
you know, did this and that."
But they wouldn't give an inch.
Nestl might be a wonderful
company, but I have not seen it.
We've tried to work with Nestl,
but when you find out
that Nestl weaves their way
into our community
and the person that wrote our
regulatory ordinance
was recommended by Nestl.
Well, the people
should be writing
the regulatory ordinance,
it's our town,
we're the taxpayers.
So, what we did was we met
with the elected officials
and, um, under the regulatory
approach in the United States,
the regulatory approach,
we have ordinances in each town
and what those ordinances do,
the regulatory ordinance,
pretty much tells companies
or a small company
or a large company,
what they can do
and their limits and so forth.
But it only regulates them,
it... we cannot say,
"No, we don't want you in."
Then I found out
this thing called
"future lost profits"
so I found that,
what's going on in Fryeburg
is they were trying to control
water extraction
with a regulatory ordinance
and it doesn't work,
because now you're limiting
how much profit
a company can make
and they are allowed
to make profits.
So, pretty much, we tried
to work the regulatory approach
with the elected officials.
The elected officials,
every single time
we met with them, and there were
probably 40 or 50 of us,
that met with them,
just would not listen
to any of our demands
and finally we were like,
"This is gonna go through
just like these test wells have,
so what do we do next?"
Of course,
we know them very well
and we have intensive
discussions with them.
The situation varies
from country to country,
from city to city, or,
as in the USA,
from state to state.
In several countries, there are
people who are very happy.
In others, there's discussion
about whether or not
we're interfering
with the natural water-flow.
Will the fleet of green tankers
soon be transporting water
from this wildlife preserve?
Nestl's battle with
the determined women
of Shapleigh and Newfield
has not yet been decided.
Uh, we're from DokLab,
this is a Swiss
production company.
Can you give me your opinion
about some people are opposed
to the trucking of water and...
I have... I have no comment.
You have no comment on that?
No, I do not.
Okay, but for you, it's good
to have a job with Poland Spring
as I imagine?
Oh, I think so.
You're not allowed
to speak to us?
No, I'm not.
Not even on that?
Nope, nah, man.
What about you, sir?
When we drill a well,
here's one thing
you shouldn't forget,
it's in our inherent interest
that the well
can be sustained long term.
Nothing could be worse for us
than building up a brand
and then discovering there's no
water to fill it up.
We are interested
in sustainable source areas
and not in short-term
I've followed the big water
tankers to Hollis, Maine,
to the largest water bottling
factory in the world.
Half the water is pumped
by Nestl from the area
directly behind the factory.
The other half is transported
in tankers from pumping stations
in the hinterland.
For one tanker load,
Nestl pays $10 or even nothing.
Once bottled,
the same water costs $50,000
when sold across the counter
as Poland Spring
Natural Spring Water.
In Maine, Nestl pumps
about as much water as that used
by the entire agricultural
sector throughout the state.
That's around three billion
liters a year
and the figure is rising.
Back in Switzerland,
we're at Nestl's
annual press conference.
For us, the opportunity
to film inside the company.
I'm interested in Nestl's
new brand of water,
aimed at winning over consumers
in developing countries.
At the press conference,
we are offered San Pellegrino
and Vittel Water.
The new product carries
the promising name: "Pure Life."
Pure Life brand, for those
who don't know,
ten years ago did not exist
and it's an incredible, uh,
story to go from zero
to where we are today,
one of the top brands
that Nestl has
and one of the reasons we've
been able to grow,
is we've been able to offer
the consumer a value,
good quality water in different
parts of the world
and it's been
very well accepted.
We're looking to take that asset
and expand it to more geography,
more parts of the world,
we think the growth will,
in fact, continue.
Uh, it's a profitable
brand for us too
and it's a jewel that we have
in our portfolio and our plans
are to continue to leverage it.
So, I'm very optimistic
about that brand.
One water for the whole world.
That's the idea
behind Pure Life.
Pure Life is purified
ground water,
enriched by an artificial
blend of minerals.
It's a secret Nestl recipe.
It's produced locally
in 27 countries
on five continents.
It tastes the same everywhere.
Nestl Pure Life
is now the top selling
bottled water in the world,
growing in double-digits.
The test market for the product
was Pakistan.
The population of Pakistan
totals 180 million
and it's still growing.
In Lahore alone,
there are 10 million people.
Clean drinking water
is in short supply.
Before Nestl introduced
Pure Life, bottled water
was a rare sight in Pakistan.
Now, Nestl dominates a vast
market that it created itself.
I grew up in a city where you
could go just about anywhere
and ask for a glass of water
and you would get a glass
of water for free,
without any fear
of its quality or its standards
and what's happened
over the last 10 to 15 years,
I mean, in my own consciousness,
is that I have seen
and witnessed a replacement
of drinking water,
a commodification
of drinking water.
Uh... I won't say
that it's Nestl that's done it,
it's been a confluence
of factors.
Nestl appeared on the scene,
it started providing Pure Life
drinking water and all
of a sudden Coca-Cola shows up,
then Pepsi shows up,
and then a whole bunch
of private, local manufactured
waters shows up as well,
all producing clean water,
clean water,
because of the terribly old
and creaky infrastructure
of the sanitation authority.
And then before you know it,
everywhere you go,
if you ask for a glass of water,
I have to pay 15 rupees for it.
Our water table is falling.
We don't have
a replenished water table
for a variety of reasons
and as a result, we continue
to sink wells lower and lower,
deeper and deeper
to get drinking water for Lahore
and at some point in the future,
this resource will run out
and I'm also concerned
about water,
drinking water in Lahore
because the infrastructure
of sewage an sanitation
and water pipes in Lahore
is at least 30 years old
and in many places
through the city,
these pipes break
and drinking water,
and perhaps sewage, mix
and we have all sorts of cases
of gastroenteritis
and water poisoning
in the city through the year.
This water is not consumable,
but it's the only one available.
Once we drink this water,
we get different diseases,
stomach diseases.
New water pipes
should be placed in this area.
Carbon is coming
through the pipes.
How do you see
that the water is dirty?
How do you recognize it?
Straight away it is visible,
big particles
are present in the water.
The water is too dirty.
You have to boil it, filter it,
and then drink it.
If you drink it,
you have to rush to the toilet
because the water causes
digestive troubles.
There are long
water worms inside.
They are moving inside.
We do not show this water
to the children,
they will not drink it.
They will be too much disturbed.
Nestl Pure Life
is the safe alternative
delivered direct to homes.
A service for the well-to-do.
We film at the home
distribution station
in the upmarket area of Gulberg.
I introduced myself
to the station manager
and asked
for permission to film.
Uh, what-what is the problem?
(speaking foreign language)
But you said it's okay
that we film from the outside?
When Nestl sent its first
managing director to Pakistan,
he wanted to know
what would be the product
that I would immediately launch
and he wanted an answer
without thinking
and I immediately said, "Water."
Becau... and then he asked me why
and then I explained.
I explained to him how many
people travel from rural areas
to urban areas every day
for various tasks and, uh...
in this heat, people want
to have clean water
more than juices or cold drinks
because they do not quench
the thirst like water does
and there's nowhere
you can find water.
The University of Management
Sciences in Lahore.
In this elite institution,
hardly anyone drinks tap water
and Pure Life
is a success story.
I think that part of
the success of Pure Life
is Nestl's marketing,
their positioning
of the brand was good,
it was targeted towards
upper income people because,
assuming that you can always get
water free, who would pay
a premium for it?
Uh, so most probably
the poor people will not.
Uh, in any case,
they can't afford the prices,
uh, so it is, uh, you know,
the upper class of Pakistan
or upper middle class.
And Nestl brought skill
and the skill was because
of their marketing muscle,
their distribution muscle,
you know, their ads
were very interesting.
A lot of emphasis
on the quality of water
and water that you can trust.
For a lot of youth, uh,
it was fashionable
to be walking around
with Pure Life in hand.
Uh, you know, it was making
a statement about themselves
also, so it was not just
functional benefits,
it was position on that,
um, that if you are...
you know, a modern person,
if you are a, um, you know...
person who's health conscious.
They are, in some sense,
the jet setters of Pakistan.
I think Nestl
and bottled water companies
have been able to effectively
appeal to a part
of the Pakistani psyche
that likes things like this.
They've appealed to a lifestyle.
I read somewhere recently that
a lot of the Cola manufacturers
decided to go into
making bottled water
because they knew
that the market
for Cola was limited,
because it's so clearly
unhealthy for you.
But the market
for drinking water is unlimited,
it's-it's a constant supply.
So, it's just a question
of being able to effectively
commodify drinking water and,
I mean, I've seen it happen
before my eyes
in the last 20 years
and it's not necessarily with...
Not necessarily within the realm
of pure conspiracy theory,
I'm sure at some level
this is part of a business plan
put forward by a company.
That, look, here's a market
that, where there's nobody
drinking bottled water.
If we go in
and do this, this, this,
all of a sudden,
we have 10 million consumers.
How's that?
It's brilliant.
About 40 kilometers from Lahore,
there's Nestl's
Sheikhupura factory.
When the company introduced
Pure Life to Pakistan
some 10 years ago,
it was launched from here.
The water that was tested there
turned out to be
the best quality
that we had tested.
So, it was the best quality
water we were getting,
so, obviously we chose that.
Right next to the factory,
the dwellings
of Bhati Dilwan village.
Most of the village population
work in agriculture.
The arrival of Nestl
brought extra employment,
but the factory is also blamed
for the biggest problem
in the village.
There's a lack
of clean drinking water.
In our opinion, Nestl has taken
our water from us.
Nestl put its own tube well
in the factory.
Now, the water
has become very dirty.
The water level used
to be at 1,000 feet,
now the level is down
to 300 to 400 feet.
We worry a lot.
The old wells
used by the population,
no longer reach deep enough.
Around the factory,
several wells have run dry.
In order to ensure good water,
the deeper you go,
the better it is
and also consistent quality
because, um, if the water,
if you take out water
from a shal... shallow surface,
it'll be very polluted
and it will be very adulterated.
So, it is advisable
to go very deep.
A lot of the law relating
to groundwater is unclear.
It's unclear
who owns groundwater,
who has a right to it,
whether the state has a right
to regulate groundwater,
whether people who own land
over the groundwater
have a right to the resource,
or whether a company
can come in and pay
for the rights of groundwater.
These issues haven't been
thrashed through, legally,
economically, or on any sort
of policy forum yet
and it remains to be done.
Because of Nestl's booming
business with Pure Life,
the company has been pumping
more and more water
out of the ground.
But what effect is this having
on the groundwater level?
And on the quality
of water drunk
by the people of the village?
I asked Nestl Pakistan
about a study they carried out,
but got no reply.
Medical people tell us
the reason is bad water.
Kids should not drink it,
this girl is continuously sick.
If you keep on giving this water
to the kids,
they keep going to the toilet.
They cannot digest the water.
They tell us to boil
the water first
and kill the germs.
But we cannot afford
to boil it all the time.
We are poor people.
This water is not consumable.
Neither for kids,
nor for adults.
With this water, different
diseases like Hepatitis occur.
There is the danger
of many diseases spreading.
If the people of this village
and area can get better water,
there will be better health
and the diseases will stop.
Here in Bhati Dilwan,
there are no donation
request forms.
But the villages have sent
a petition to the company.
They too, would like to have
access to the clean water
lying deep down
under their village.
Nestl has turned down
their request.
We asked them for a tube well.
At least they should provide us
with a small pipe
with an outlet of water
though the wall.
With such a solution,
we the villagers
could fetch the water
this way with cans.
They would show us
a little gesture.
Nestl, in the end, is-is really
stealing the local water sources
from people and that's
their life, their livelihood,
and the livelihoods
and lives of their children.
Don't forget that bottled water
is relatively a small business,
it's a drop in the ocean.
As a matter of fact,
all the water
that Nestl's selling
accounts for 0.0009 percent
of the fresh water that is being
used by the humankind,
so, I mean, it's not,
not even a drop in the ocean,
it's even less.
There's certainly irony
in the situation
that clean drinking water
is being extracted,
groundwater is being extracted
and then being sold
as a commodity, essentially
to the urban upper class,
when people in, uh, a secondary
city like Sheikhupura
don't get clean
drinking water themselves.
The river Ravi
is a floating cesspit.
Where the environment
is at its most polluted,
that's where clean water
is at its most precious.
From Pakistan, Nestl even
exports its Pure Life
to Afghanistan.
According to the United Nations,
some 900 million people
throughout the world
have no access to clean water.
Water from the bottle
has a promising future.
So, shouldn't we be grateful
to Nestl for supplying
such a safe product?
Is it the company's fault
that many people
cannot afford it?
The Sixth International
Human Rights Forum
opened this morning in Lucerne.
The event is usually
a peaceful affair.
But this year is different.
Because of the participation
of Nestl's chairman,
Peter Brabeck.
Members of the Swiss workers
union say that Nestl itself
violates human rights
and has no place
at such a forum.
(speaking foreign language)
To say simply, that water
is a human right
is perhaps not enough
In reality, it is not
a matter of whether water
is a human right,
because quite clearly, it is.
It's more a question of how can
we implement this human right.
We shouldn't reflect so much on
whether water is a human right.
But rather reflect how to ensure
permanent access
to water in daily life.
There are also a few other basic
problems which need solving.
The most important point,
without question,
is that more must be invested
in water infrastructure.
And secondly,
there should be no subsidies
for the owners of swimming pools
and golf courses
and for biofuels
produced from plants
cultivated specifically
for this purpose.
But there should be subsidies
for water for the poorest
and nature.
Peter Brabeck is proudly
presenting his biography.
Top-shots of Swiss big business
have turned up in his honor.
(speaking foreign language)
(speaking foreign language)
In his book, Peter Brabeck again
stresses the importance of water
as a human right,
but also as a source of profit
for his company.
I have often wondered
what is the most
important single factor
that could ensure
a company continuing
for another 140 years.
And I always come
to the same conclusion-water.
We need water.
Our consumers need water
in order to live.
We need water
to grow raw materials.
We need water
in our manufacturing operations,
and we need water
to prepare our products.
For Nestl
water is the most critical
and most important factor
for sustainability.
I can see now
a higher level of recognition
of, uh, water being the issue
that we have to tackle,
than perhaps, climate change,
which I think
is absolutely right.
I have said before,
we will be running out of water
long before we are running
out of oil.
we can influence,
we can alter,
we can protect and preserve
the vital resource of water
for future generations.
We want the world to prosper
for at least
another 4,500 years,
and that's what
global corporate citizenship
is all about.
Lagos is the largest city
in Nigeria,
and probably in Africa.
Some 15 million people
live here.
The vast majority
of the population
is dependent
on packaged drinking water.
Most popular is sachet water,
so called, pure water.
A half a liter costs 5 naira,
that's about 2 US-cents.
The water is well packed,
but it's not always pure.
Sachet water
is frequently the cause
of bacterial infection,
especially among children.
The same goes for locally
produced bottled water.
Nestl Pure Life
has been available
in Nigeria since 2005.
Clean, safe drinking water
in the upper price sector.
We have various
multinationals in Nigeria
that invest in the water.
Like Nestl,
the same thing happens
to Coca-Cola,
that is producing Eva water,
and many others,
as a matter of fact.
So you see, um, these are, uh,
multinationals that understand
importance of water.
They know that in Nigeria
water supply is still at its,
you know, infantile stage.
So that the government
hasn't really taken
proper hold
of providing enough water
for the nationals
and for the citizens.
So the industry
is indeed profiting
and exploiting
the weakness of government,
and in doing this,
the person who is holding
the wrong end of the stick
is the ordinary citizen,
who is helpless.
He doesn't know how safe
the water he is drinking is.
Nestl Pure Life,
a bottle of it,
is more expensive
than the daily income
of many Nigerians.
That Pure Life bottle
is even more expensive
than a liter of Patrn.
A liter of Patrn in Nigeria
is 65 naira,
and there you have one bottle
of that Nestl water
costing above 100 naira.
In Lagos,
corruption and mismanagement
have brought
the public water supply system
almost to a standstill.
Even in the upper class
water is delivered to homes
on pushcarts
instead of through the pipe.
You can be sure
of a permanent supply
of running water
only if you drill your own well
and operate a diesel generator
to pump the water
into the tank on your roof.
Only the rich
can afford safe, clean water
because our income, per capita,
is decreasing,
even in middle class,
some of them
can no longer afford it
because what they have
at their income
may not be able to take care
of their basic needs.
So that already is encroaching
into the economy,
and that also
is opening up more people
to the hazards
of drinking bad water.
Located in the lagoon of Lagos
is Makoko.
It's a slum neighborhood
built on stilts.
(speaking foreign language)
I was told that Makoko lives
from fishing,
but in the Lagos lagoon, too,
fish are rarely to be seen.
(speaking foreign language)
The residents of Makoko
also have to buy
their drinking water
from businessmen
who have set up water stations
in the slums.
The water is
of doubtful quality.
It's piped here
from the mainland
from a private well.
(speaking foreign language)
It is not easy to fetch water.
It is a long way
to the water stations.
Sometimes the pumps don't work
because there is no petrol.
Then you have to go
to another station
that is even further away.
And there are only four stations
For our family,
the daily budget is six dollars.
Half of that we use
to buy water.
This money has to suffice
for a family of 12.
Buying sachet water
for her baby son
is almost a luxury
for 16-year old Mary Setondji.
The family makes kulikuli,
little yam balls,
which it sells
in the neighborhood.
In the marketplace,
empty PET bottles are sold.
Pure Life, Makoko style.
(speaking Nigerian)
Cholera and typhus
are rampant in Makoko,
even the slum dwellers
know that.
But here,
there's simply no alternative.
(flies buzzing)
The slum continues to grow
on its own rotting garbage.
The reality in the global south
is so powerful now.
It is such
a life-and-death issue.
I mean, more children die
everyday from dirty water
than from HIV/AIDS,
war, traffic accidents
and malaria put together,
it's the number one killer.
And so, when you have that kind
of life-and-death situation,
and then a company
like Nestl comes in and says,
"We've got the answer,
Pure Life is the answer."
We're going to sell you water
that we're gonna take
from your very own aquifers
when there are no public taps,
and when you turn the water on
half the time nothing comes out,
and the other half,
when it does,
it's polluted
and you wouldn't use it,
then there... there, you know,
then I...
I have to go beyond saying
that it's irresponsible,
to say that...
This is almost a criminal act.
In the Third World today...
in the Third World in general,
more than 96 percent
of drinking water supplies
are in the hands of the state.
And it doesn't work.
And that has nothing to do
with privatization.
Why don't you want to get
away from this ideology?
The problem is not privatization
or non-privatization.
The problem is
that there is no investment
to ensure a reliable
water supply system.
The problem is
that in the Third World...
in Europe there is a loss
of 30 to 35 percent
of infrastructural defects.
In the Third World the loss is
60 to 70 percent of piped water.
That's the problem.
Who now deals with this problem
doesn't matter.
If the state wants
to deal with it, let it.
There's no easy
short-term solution to that,
but I do say, however,
that the answer is not a, uh,
or corrupt government combined
with a transnational corporation
that's in there
for their own profit.
That's the deadliest combination
of all.
And our argument
to the World Bank is
if you've got money
to provide water services
for these... in these communities
where there isn't
good government,
then lets set
up an arm's-length, um, agency
that runs
on those efficiency principles,
but is not for profit.
In a backyard in Lagos,
this company called Golden Dip
is producing sachet water.
The brand is Akuro,
and it's considered
to be clean and trustworthy.
I believe
that this will make me rich.
We produce like 2,000 bags.
Inside one bag
you have 200 half-liter pieces,
or 120 pieces with the 75
centileters content.
The procedure for bottled water
is a little bit hard
because we are using
manual production.
First we fill the bottle,
then comes the wrapper topper
and the mould.
All that takes a lot of time.
So our production of bottles
is just minimal.
Let me say 50 cartons
of bottled water a day.
This entrepreneur
has invested a lot of money
in a filter system.
He wants to expand further
into the bottled water business.
For all of us who just started,
I can say Nestl has been heard
all over the world,
while our business
is just Lagosian now.
So, you know,
there is a great difference
between the two.
But we are praying
to grow like them.
All right, runners,
Z100 and Poland Spring
bring actual spring water
right here
to keep you moving, let's go!
It is mile 17.
Kate and Jen,
we've got your water.
Come on up here, guys.
It's the 2009 ING
New York City Marathon
you've been training
for and you know
we are here with Poland Spring
Natural Spring Water...
It is the official water
of the 2009
ING New York City Marathon,
keeping all
our runners hydrated,
like Ben,
Ben is staying hydrated.
We got Louise,
come on, mama, you can do it.
Let's go, let's go, let's go!
At the New York Marathon,
nearly a quarter
of a million liters
of Poland Spring water
are given away, free.
It's all part of Nestl's
aggressive marketing strategy,
and it's successful.
More and more people have
Poland Spring drinking water
from Maine delivered
to their homes.
From untouched nature
direct into the refrigerator,
Poland Spring has become
the top-selling spring water
in New York.
With its population
of eight million,
New York is the biggest
beverage market
on the American east coast.
Wherever I drive,
I see the green delivery trucks.
Every year, in the USA alone,
the beverage industry uses
up more than 800,000 tons
of plastic.
Four out of five PET bottles
in the US end up as garbage,
along roadsides, or in the sea.
The shelves
in the shopping centers of today
are piled high
with the garbage of tomorrow.
New Yorkers drink bottled water
when they have access
to the cleanest,
best water in the world
that comes from the Catskills.
It is the cleanest, safest water
you could possibly drink.
It's just marketing.
It suddenly became cool
and they connected it to health,
and they even told us
we needed eight glasses a day,
which by the way, is not true,
and they... and they told us
that we had
to always have it on...
Our little hydrating tool
that we had to have it on us
at all times.
So I talk to kids now
and they'll say,
"Okay, I'm trying to understand
what you're saying
but how would I get
from my house to my school
without water?"
I mean,
this is brilliant marketing.
And, uh, you know,
they've made tons of money
telling us basically a lie.
From New York,
I head off again to Maine,
some 600-kilometers
to the north.
I need to know the latest
on the legal wrangling
about the pumping stations.
Welcome to a special edition
of RadioActive:
A Grassroots Environmental
and Social Justice News Journal.
Today's call-in topic is
on large-scale corporate
water extraction
and community control.
Nestl, the world's largest food
and beverage company,
owns the bottled water label
Poland Springs in Maine,
currently extracting
from eight wells in the state,
with intentions to expand.
Town residents objecting
to the sale of their water
find themselves in positions
of limited recourse
within current
regulatory processes.
In the town of Fryeburg,
the bulldozers are in action.
The battle around the second
pumping station
went up to the highest court
in the state of Maine.
The town of Fryeburg lost.
Nestl is allowed to go ahead.
Soon, the company will be
loading up its tankers
with even more local
spring water, legally.
Fryeburg was granted
only the right
to limit
the number of tanker trips.
It has since set this limit
at 36,000 per year.
It's a sad,
sad tragic commentary
on what's legal
and what's theft.
You know, is it legal to steal?
Is it ethically and morally...
It... what's legal
and what's ethical and moral
are two different things.
You don't betray people.
You know, it's like the courts
that are supposed to defend you
betrayed you.
And you feel,
you feel betrayed.
(traffic sounds)
But here in Fryeburg,
Nestl doesn't
only have enemies.
Some of the local residents
are pleased
with the court's decision.
Fryeburg needs a tax base.
They need jobs,
they need some things
that would come into town,
even though it's been
a little bit rocky for them,
in terms of number
of folks in town
that didn't want them here,
or that don't like
the whole idea of bottled water.
They've made major contributions
to the town.
They've funded a couple
of temporary classrooms,
they've helped the local academy
build a gym,
they've supported the Tin
Mountain Conservation Center,
and they've done a number...
Well, they've... they've supported
a ski... a ski team
at the academy,
so they are really trying
to be good neighbors.
I'm one of the ones
that was trying to put the stop
to the pump station
in east Fryeburg,
which is a quarter mile
from my house,
and I've been helping
battle this
for almost four-and-a-half
at the cost of $60,000
in legal fees
that a bunch of us
have put together.
So, you know,
it's changed my whole life now.
I live in a rural,
residential-zoned area,
nice and quiet with four kids,
and now I've gotta listen
to who knows how many trucks
going by my house,
24 hours a day,
seven days a week.
I don't want anything
to do with them,
and I refuse to buy
anything that's made by Nestls.
If I have to go hungry, I will.
That's my feeling.
So you can tell,
I'm pretty angry about it,
and I'm not the only one.
They are corrupting the process
in my community,
a community that...
Three generations graduated
from the high school...
That have been here
for centuries,
and they're... they're
orchestrating the process
so that they
will eventually win.
Whether they'll win
because people are beat down
and they're...
They're tired of the fight,
or they don't even
have the money
to pay for the lawyers.
Nestl has
unlimited legal funds.
You know, we don't have
the legal funds,
we don't have the PR machines
behind us,
but if you look
at their message in Fryeburg,
their good neighbor policy,
and you look at their message
throughout the country,
they're all very self-serving.
They have a project called
Project Wet
for water education
in the community school systems.
Well, oh gee, they did
a pilot program in Fryeburg.
Isn't that interesting?
And then they can say,
"Look we did a pilot program
for Project Wet
for water education.
Look, we're helping
the community."
Well, you're helping
the community conserve water
while you're taking 150 million
gallons out of the community.
(trucks idling)
In the Wildlife Preserve,
the story had another ending.
Here, Nestl has been defeated.
The company must remove
its test wells
from the protected area.
The towns
of Shapleigh and Newfield
have declared all water
in their territories
to be a fundamental right.
Water belongs to nature
and may be used only
by the local residents.
Large-scale pumping
and commercialization
of the water
is no longer permitted.
Both Shapleigh and Newfield
have cited the right
to local self-determination,
a right which is anchored
in the Constitution of the USA.
All of us have the same passion,
and once we found out
that we couldn't, you know, work
under the regulatory approach,
we had to find something
in order to keep them out,
and that's how we found
that... the rights space,
and we went around again
to educate the people
about the rights space,
and we pretty much said,
"If you want Nestl
into your community,
then go the regulatory approach.
That will regulate them."
If they come in,
fill out the permit,
cross their Ts, dot their Is,
you cannot say no
to this large company."
And God forbid if you ever
wanna regulate anything stricter
with them once they're in,
because you will never win
in court.
Ask Fryeburg.
Now you have chosen
an instrument
which is quite new,
this rights-based ordinance.
It's something that...
It's brand new
in the state of Maine.
It's brand new in the state,
you were the first,
and even in the States.
- Yes.
- It hasn't been tested in court.
With the rights space,
we go to court
with the Constitution
on our side.
You know, the Constitution,
protect the people.
So, I would rather have
the rights space on my side,
and the community,
than the regulatory
because we've seen
the regulatory not work.
We've seen Nestl go to court
and win several times,
and not just in Maine,
all around the country.
So, if I had a choice
of either having
the rights space
or the... or the regulatory
on my side
going to court,
it would be the rights space.
This is where Shapleigh's
Board of Selectmen
holds its meetings.
In fact, the board had opposed
the local women's demand
to carry their fight
to constitutional level.
So, we wanted to get
the rights space ordinance
on the town warrant
where everybody would vote it.
Well, the selectmen again said,
"No, we're not gonna do it."
And you know,
this is a majority of citizens
they... who elected these people.
So they said, "Nope, we're not
gonna do it," so...
So they refused
the citizen's petition.
They refused to allow
the citizens to vote
on a petition that they gave
to their own selectmen.
So there's a little loophole
in the law...
Which Gloria found.
...where we could call
our own town meeting.
All right, the votes were dubbed
The Shapleigh Water Rights
of Local Government
being active
in the town of Shapleigh.
At this time, all those in favor
of adopting that ordinance,
please so indicate
by raising your ballot.
With 114 votes to 66,
the women won the day
for water
as a fundamental right,
and against Nestl.
Shortly after Shapleigh,
neighboring Newfield
voted likewise.
The Wildlife Preserve
will remain untouched.
Well, hello, everybody.
The reason why we're here today
is to celebrate our victory,
our awesome victory,
in Newfield and Shapleigh.
(cheering and clapping)
I think one
of the major accomplishments
that we've all made
in Shapleigh and Newfield is
all of us coming together
and working for one issue.
And every single person here
had played
an enormous role in it,
and we could not have done it
without each and every one
of you, so again...
(cheering and clapping)
So it really was
a whole grassroots effort
and if it's... I think
it's just unbelievable
because many of us
were never activists
and it's all thanks to you,
and I just wanna say
that I'm very humble
having that experience,
and I think of all of you
as friends,
and again, thank you very much.
(cheering and clapping)
God bless America
Land that we love
Stand beside her
And guide her
Through the night
with the light from above
From the mountains
to the prairies
To the oceans
white with foam
It's a small victory
achieved by two small towns
in the hinterland of Maine.
But who can resist
in countries
where there is little democracy,
and even less water?
In Pakistan, or in Nigeria.
Clean drinking water
is becoming
increasingly precious.
Some can afford the luxury
of bottled water,
but the others...
To whom does the water
on our planet belong?