Bottled Water Twitter Chat

Pile of Nestle Waters North America Poland Spring Half-Pint Empty Water BottlesYesterday, I participated in a Twitter chat about bottled water with @NestleWatersNA, co-moderated by @CSRWire and @triplepundit, using hash tag #SharedValue.

On Monday, I saw a tweet that CSRwire’s Editorial Director, Aman Singh, and Triple Pundit’s Publisher, Nick Aster, would be hosting a live twitter chat on Tuesday with Heidi Paul, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs for Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) about their 2012 Creating Shared Value Report. It sounded interesting and educational so I decided to join.

The Twitter Chat

It was my first Twitter chat so I was curious how it would work.

  • @AmanSinghCSR and @nickaster tweeted 10 questions prefacing each one with “Q” and a number. The last 9 questions were pulled from participant tweets.
  • @NestleWatersNA tweeted replies prefaced with “A” and included links to web pages, videos, and blog posts.
  • In between “official” questions and answers, one could read tweets by participants stating opinions, asking questions, promoting their organization, and one spammer.
  • After wrapping up @AmanSinghCSR posted a link to her post Decoding Nestlé Waters North America’s Sustainability Journey: Environmental Villain or Facts vs. Emotions? which was also posted on Triple Pundit.

During the chat, I scanned the report, web pages, and videos. I looked up Twitter profiles of other participants and found some new people to follow and converse with. My first tweet was retweeted a few times and the second did not receive a response.

  • Linda ‏@unlikelyenviro: If tap water is unavailable/unhygienic let’s solve that problem vs. trying to make bottled water sustainable. #sharedvalue
  • Linda ‏@unlikelyenviro: #SharedValue Report says “We support long-term, sustainable investments in public water infrastructure improvements…” What are U doing?

I did learn a few things from NWNA’s 2012 Creating Shared Value Report, a well written glossy public relations piece. A photo showing a small child drinking from a plastic bottle of water gave me the creeps, and videos of teens and college students advocating drinking bottled water was disturbing.

The Bottom Line

NWNA is just one of many bottled water companies around the world whose entire business is threatened by the climate crisis.

I am anti-bottled water. Odd as it sounds, I would rather a bottled water company contribute to solving a problem they have played a role in creating, than do nothing.

Hopefully, more people will stop buying bottled water and thus encourage bottled water companies to put their not inconsiderable knowledge and phenomenal marketing skills to better use.

Resources:

Related Posts:

Twitter Chart Q & A with Nestlé Waters North America

Interested in reading the twitter chat Q & A with Nestlé Waters North America? Sign on to Twitter, or sign up, and check out hash tag #SharedValue. Or read below (my notes are in red):

Q1: Why don’t we start by sharing some of the Creating #SharedValue Report’s key highlights you’d want all of us to take note of?

A1a: Thanks. We’re excited to be speaking with you today. Let’s start by explaining how we think about creating #SharedValue.

A1b: We focus on specific areas of business activity where value can be created for both stakeholders and society. #SharedValue

A1c: Our 2012 report details our progress in 4 key areas. #SharedValue http://ow.ly/m7tyj ( link to report)

A1d: 1st is water as healthy hydration. We advocate for water as essential to human health and wellness http://ow.ly/m2S #SharedValue (Link to “healthy hydration” page, which included: a video showing two kids drinking, one drinking soda and wracking up calories, the other drinking bottled water; a photo of a little kid drinking out of plastic water bottle; a video showing kids at college selecting sugared drinks because the water vending machine was out of order.)

A1e: 2nd is water responsibility and our commitment to leading in sustainable water stewardship practices http ://ow.ly/m2TvL (Link to “water responsibility” page with photo of young couple crossing a pristine creek, infographic showing it takes 1.35 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of bottled water vs. 2.0 for soda and 4.0 for beer.)

A1f: 3rd is community responsibility in the communities where we have plants, offices, and spring sites http://ow.ly/m2TIF #SharedValue (Link to “community responsibility” page.)

A1g: 4th is operational responsibility and use of packaging innovation to lessen our environmental impact http://ow.ly/m2Uqk #SharedValue (Link to “packaging responsibility” page.)

Q2: #NWNA is the largest bottled #water company in NA by volume. What does that mean re: use of #plastic + #recycling?

A2a: We have led the industry in lightweighting our bottles and innovate continuously to help reduce our footprint. #SharedValue

A2b: Over the last 18 yrs, we’ve reduced PET plastic in our .5L Eco-Shape bottles by 60% saving over 3 billion lbs of plastic

A2c: We use 50% rPET in our .5L Arrowhead ReBorn bottles & hope to incorporate more of it across r brands http://ow.ly/lSMHw #SharedValue (Link to Facebook page showing ReBorn™ Bottle.)

A2d: To achieve this, we need more recycled content to become available. That means we must help increase U.S. recycling rates #SharedValue

Q3: Your report states current #recycling infrastructure fails to support ur needs for #packaging. What are the top roadblocks?

A3a: Today, only 34% of municipal solid waste is recycled in the U.S. – recycling systems are outdated and inefficient #SharedValue

A3b: Currently, we don’t have access to enough recycled plastic to create all of our packaging from recycled material. #SharedValue

A3c: Currently, not enough people have access to recycling – whether they’re in a city or in a rural area http://ow.ly/m7tO3 #SharedValue (Link to Facebook page with recycling videos.)

A3d: Too many plastic bottles and other valuable resources are being sent to landfills. #SharedValue

Q4: So then what is @nestlewatersNA doing to drive a significant increase in US #recycling rates? #SharedValue

A4: We educate re: the importance of recycling & r building a coalition 2 reinvent recycling in N.America http://ow.ly/m7ufv #SharedValue (Link to “extending packaging responsibility” page.)

Q5: I know u speak about Extended Producer Responsibility [http://bit.ly/14gKyzX ]. What’s @nestlewatersNA trying 2 do w/ #EPR?

A5a: EPR is a model that would bring the financial responsibility of recycling back onto the industry http://ow.ly/m2VHs #SharedValue (Link to blog post about extended packaging responsibility.)

A5b: We work closely with @RecyclingRnvntd, a U.S. nonprofit committed to advancing recycling rates through an EPR model

Q6: One of your 2018 goals is to reach 60% recycling rate for PET bottles. Is that ambitious enough given climate challenges?

A6a: To make a goal that doubles the current recycling rate, we knew it would take a coalition to start the journey #SharedValue

A6b: We want to find the next generation of recyclable bottles with a lighter footprint made from recycled materials #SharedValue

Q7: One of your report’s aspirations is to “promote collaborative problem solving.” How are you initiating this? #sharedvalue

A7a: At the start of this report, we convened a stakeholder forum to gather feedback and inputs and inform our materiality #SharedValue

A7b: Our siting framework published in 2010 was a collaborative process with stakeholders led by @BSRnews http://ow.ly/m7vEB (Link to “community engagement” page.)

A7c: #EPR also requires collaboration across industry, government, municipalities, NGOs and nonprofits #SharedValue

A7d: We also made a commitment to hold open houses in our communities, like the one we held in Hollis, ME http://ow.ly/m7YD3 (Link to video of Poland Spring plant tour in Hollis, Maine which employs 400 people.)

Q8: One of NWNA’s priorities is water mgmt. What are the challenges you’re facing in building a resilient chain of resources?

A8a: We start with water education for youth and community. We take this seriously as one of the most important ways we create

A8b: We work w/ several orgs to prepare future generations to help manage Earth’s most precious resource http://ow.ly/m2XWz #SharedValue (Link to case studies on water stewardship and advocating the importance of water.)

A8c: We also select and engage in two watershed improvement projects each year. #SharedValue

Q9: What role is/can the consumer play in collaborating with you on your sustainability goals? #sharedvalue

A9a: Be an avid recycler. Don’t think of bottles as trash. Think of them as resources for the future http://ow.ly/m7w5j #SharedValue (Link to a video about an empty water bottle being a resource to encourage recycling.)

A9b: Also, be actively involved in your local watershed.

Q10: How do you respond to critics who think your business model is unsustainable and call for boycotting bottled water? #sharedvalue

A10a: Bottled water is 1 of the healthiest packaged beverages. W/O it, people may turn 2 sugary beverages http://ow.ly/lSPHP #SharedValue (Link to same video about bottled water as a choice at school.)

A10b: Bottled water has the lightest environmental footprint of any packaged beverage. http://ow.ly/m7weu #SharedValue (Link to Environmental Life Cycle study.)

A10c: Bottled water is a reliable source of drinking water when disaster strikes. http://ow.ly/m2ZTA #SharedValue (Link to “vital backup to community drinking water supplies” video about Superstorm Sandy.)

Participant Questions

Q11: is from @johnfriedman: Has @nestlewatersNA considered refillable/resusable bottles in an effort to encourage #reuse?

A11a: Lowest impact bottle we’ve found is lightweight PET made with rpET #SharedValue

A11b: We serve 1 million US customers with 5g refillable and reusable bottles through home and office delivery #SharedValue

Q12: is from @hanslak: It is true that bottled #water is just an example of successful #marketing? #SharedValue

A12: Actually, most bottled water growth is from people turning away from sweetened drinks. See http://tinyurl.com/lm4krhh #SharedValue (Link to USA Today article about water becoming more popular than other drinks.)

Q13: From @angryafrican: Re: introducing Sweet Leaf Sweet Tea & Poland Spring Nature’s Blend. Was that #sharedvalue / shareholders value?

A13: We believe all food/bev should be consumed in moderation and offer product variety to meet health and flavor preferences

Q14: From @timmohinAMD: After hearing @NestleWatersNA chairman speak on packaging how is ur position different from competitors? #sharedvalue

A14: NWNA is unique in translating recycling talk in2 action, leading industry in advocating 4 changes in state laws 4 recycling

Q15: comes from @chadbolick: Curious about how you quantify ROI from #sustainable #packaging to bolster the case for #SharedValue?

A15: The ROI is to the company and society, lower cost materials for us, lower cost recycling 4 everyone #SharedValue

Q16: comes from @EnvtlDebt Does @NestleWatersNA lobby for recycle bins on every corner? Otherwise people don’t recycle.

A16: Our goal is to build a coalition for better policy. Bins would result #SharedValue

Q17: comes from @projectwet: What is the role of #education in promoting #water awareness and #recycling? #sharedvalue

A17: Everyone impacts water use & recycling. Education is key to the solution #SharedValue

Q18: from @LemonadebyLaura How do u justify removal of water during drought? How does it reflect #sharedvalue -“shared” w/shareholders only?

A18a: We regularly monitor environmental and climatic conditions & monitor our sources for long-term sustainability #SharedValue

A18b: Our geologists use that data to determine when/if it’s necessary to modify water collection activities at any of our sites #SharedValue

Q19: from @Stuartkudos: Forget #bottledwater for a sec, as #consumers we need to challenge co’s to give us what we need, right? #sharedvalue

A19: ppl are drinking water instead of sugary bevs – 51% water consumed comes from bottles http://tinyurl.com/6ujjayl#ShardValue … (Link to Nestlé Pure Life Facebook page.)

Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information, spark conversation, and convince people to take action to keep earth habitable for all. She believes our individual actions do matter—it all adds up.

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