The Council of Canadians is challenging bottled water giant Nestlé for its plans to certify sites as sustainable in Canada and around the world.
Yesterday, Nestlé announced it was planning to certify 20 factories with the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.
"It's outrageous and laughable that Nestlé is claiming that its water bottling is sustainable," says Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "Nestlé is not only a member but also a founding partner of the Alliance for Water Stewardship, which Nestlé is seeking 'certification' from. Certifying Nestle makes the whole AWS scheme essentially meaningless. I think communities around the world will see right through Nestlé's blue-washing."
Nestlé has been bottling and selling millions of litres of water every day on two expired permits in Ontario. One permit expired more than one year ago and another permit expired at the end of the summer. Nestlé bottles and sells roughly 265 million litres every year from its Hope plant in B.C. The Hope facility is already registered as seeking certification.
Groundwater resources will not be sufficient for future needs due to drought, climate change and over-extraction. A report prepared by the City of Guelph warned that Nestlé's Aberfoyle plant could conflict with Guelph's future water needs. In Centre Wellington, Nestlé's expansionary drive has already begun to interfere with community access to water for a growing population.
The Council of Canadians warns that bottled water poses a dangerous threat to groundwater resources at a time of growing scarcity. While tap water is consumed locally and returned to the watershed, bottled water ships large amounts of water out of the watershed. The Council is calling for a phase out of bottled water takings to protect the human right to water.
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