California is experiencing its most severe drought in recorded history. Lakes and rivers are drying up, and cities are instituting water rationing. Meanwhile, Nestlé Waters’ bottling plants are operating at full volume, taking water from cities and National Forests alike.
Nestlé’s unethical actions are part of a trend – for years Nestlé has been working around the world to privatize community water resources, selling it back to people at significant markup and trashing our planet with plastic. It’s clear that Nestlé won’t change its practices without significant public pressure. But if enough people – and businesses – stand together to say “enough is enough,” we can start to change things around.
Sprouts is a grocery chain that operates 212 stores around the U.S., many of them in California. Sprouts says it cares about our environment – so why is it selling Nestlé’s unethically sourced Arrowhead Springs water? We’re organizing green retailers, starting with “sustainable” grocery chain Sprouts, to let Nestlé know that its refusal to conserve water is unacceptable.
In one particularly egregious example, Nestlé is pumping water from the San Bernardino National Forest in California for their Arrowhead Springs brand using a U.S. Forest Service special use permit that expired over 25 years ago. The company pays only $524 each year to profit off of this public land. Legal pressure from The Story of Stuff Project and our partners at the Courage Campaign and Center for Biological Diversity has convinced the Forest Service they should begin to review the expired permit, but there is no reason public citizens should stand idly by in the meantime.
Nestlé is giving the people – and ecosystems – of California short shrift. It’s time to send a message to Nestlé that exploiting California’s National Forests for water is unacceptable.
Sprouts Farmers Market is a large company that cares about sustainability, stating “Responsible retailing for Sprouts is… partnering with suppliers and vendors to ensure that the products we sell are responsibly sourced; reducing waste and our environmental footprint.” Yet Sprouts carries bottles of Nestle’s Arrowhead Springs, the same water being taken unsustainably from the National Forest in San Bernardino!
Selling Nestlé’s Arrowhead Springs water contradicts Sprouts’ principles of sustainable sourcing and minimizing waste. This is a product that is draining a unique ecosystem dry AND trashing our planet with plastic! If retailers like Sprouts refuse to continue supporting Nestlé’s bad practices, it will grab Nestlé’s attention and force the company to change.
Story of Stuff Community members who recently attended an organized hike with our Campaigns Director in San Bernardino, California want to launch a campaign calling on Sprouts to stop selling Nestlé’s Arrowhead Springs water immediately. In doing so they plan to impact Nestlé’s sales directly while also educating fellow public citizens who shop at Sprouts about Nestlé’s actions. You can help their great idea sprout by signing our petition today.
The truth is that Nestlé’s operations in California have worldwide ramifications, as does our response. While Nestlé makes millions of dollars exporting water from a federal drought disaster area, our waterways fill with plastic, and our ecosystems pay the price. If we’re going to live sustainably on this planet, we all need to pitch in and do our part.
Thank you for all you do!
Emma Cape, on behalf of The Story of Stuff team
Sprouts Farmers Market, Responsible Retailing