- Nestlé is closing a water-bottling factory in Phoenix, Arizona, that was intended to use 35 million gallons of water a year.
- The factory sparked controversy when plans to open it were announced in 2016, as many questioned the decision to give Nestlé permission to source water from the drought-stricken state.
- As the maker of the largest bottled-water brand in the world, Nestlé Pure Life, Nestlé is increasingly facing bottled-water backlash.
Nestlé is closing a controversial water-bottling plant in Arizona.
The factory sparked backlash when plans for its construction were announced in 2016. At the time, Nestlé said it planned to purchase 35 million gallons of water annually from the city of Phoenix, roughly 0.035% of the city’s total water usage.
. @Nestle wants to build a massive water bottling plant in Phoenix, Arizona. In the middle of a desert. During a 17-year drought.
— artking (@RatKing) July 17, 2016
Nestle plans $35M water bottling plant in drought stricken Phoenix, AZ, one of the driest cities in the US. https://t.co/w4BsbhhVpN
— Maia (@Goingtobelka) May 30, 2016
Nestle is opening a water bottling plant in Phoenix, A CITY IN THE DESERT WITH NO WATER.
— Zach Heltzel (@zachheltzel) May 21, 2016
More than 48,000 people signed a 2016 petition calling for the deal with Nestlé to be called off. However, Nestlé moved along with the plan.
“By operating closer to local customers and consumers, Nestlé Waters North America will reduce its carbon footprint,” Nestlé said on its website. “Despite its arid location, the city of Phoenix provides renewable water supplies to municipal users, and carefully monitors withdrawals to safeguard the environment for the long term.”
In a statement, Hugues Larente, the company’s Phoenix factory manager, said that the brand is “evolving” operations in response to the currently “highly competitive” nature of the bottled-water industry.
As the maker of the largest bottled-water brand in the world, Nestlé is increasingly facing bottled-water backlash.
“The challenges, I think they are real,” Fernando Mercé, the president and CEO of Nestlé Waters North America, said of the backlash against bottled water during Beverage Digest’s Future Smarts conference in December.
“I think you have to first, make sure that as an organization, you behave in a responsible way – that you are treating both the sourcing of water and the packing in the most responsible way you can,” Mercé continued.