February 28, 2019 Update
*This is part two of a two part answer*
Q: Can you address the price for water you pay, the profits you make, and the environmental impact statistics?
A: In Ontario, spring water bottlers, which includes Nestlé Waters Canada, pay $503.71 per million liters, which is the highest rate that any permit to take water holder pays in the province. Some other industries pay $3.71 per million litres. Beyond the price per million litres that we pay directly to the ministry, we also pay over $1 million in local taxes to Wellington County and our over 200 employees contribute close to one million dollars in local purchases to our community’s economy. We actively invest in local infrastructure projects in the communities where we operate, such as Erin through the Community Benefit Fund, which ensures that our communities benefit from our business as well.
Nestlé’s profits are shared on a global scale. If you’d like more information about this, please visit: https://www.nestle.com/media/mediaeventscalendar/allevents/2018-full-year-results.
February 21, 2019 Update
*This is part one of a two part answer*
Q: Can you address the price for water you pay, the profits you make, and the environmental impact statistics?
A: At Nestlé Waters Canada we care about the health and sustainability of the water resources that we all share. That’s why we monitor the aquifer on an hourly basis, and have been doing so for 19 years. In that time, our long term dataset, which includes data from over 130 monitoring points around Aberfoyle and Erin, shows that there have been no adverse impacts on the water supply. The data, along with our annual reports, are verified by third party scientists and shared with the Ontario government. And in the spirit of transparency, we post our annual reports (which include our water taking data), on our website: https://www.nestle-waters.ca/en/water-sources-n-quality. While water bottlers account for only 0.6% of the water takings in the Grand River Watershed, we remain committed to doing our part to ensure that our community continues to have access to a clean, reliable water source for generations to come.
January 31, 2019 update:
Q: Why don’t you talk or meet with the Wellington Water Watchers or other groups who are anti-Nestlé?
A: Nestlé Waters Canada is committed to engaging in constructive and transparent dialogue when it comes to sustainable water management practices. We believe that the community always comes first, and there is nothing more important to us than working with our communities to manage and protect water. We have invited the Wellington Water Watchers and Save Our Water to our technical stakeholder meetings and public information sessions, and have invited them to meet with us in a safe and open environment to discuss how we can work together to manage and protect the water resource. While they have not taken us up on our offer to meet with them, nor have invited us to meet with them to hear their concerns and address them firsthand, the invitation is always open.
January 24, 2019 update:
Q: Back in 2016 when you bought Middlebrook, you said you didn’t know that the buyer that forced you to exercise the right of first refusal was the Township of Centre Wellington. If you had known it was them, would that have changed your actions at the time? And if it would have, why not sell it back to the Township?
A: For us, community always comes first. If we had known that the Township was interested in buying the well and were the anonymous counter bidder, we would have engaged with them immediately to find a way to work together.
In response to our proposal for collaboration on the Middlebrook property, Centre Wellington stated that they would not engage with Nestlé Waters on the potential for a partnership given the moratorium. While we respect the moratorium and the position of the Township, we continue to be open to working with Centre Wellington and residents to explore opportunities for partnership.
January 10, 2019 update:
Q: Why should I buy bottled water when I have tap water?
A: At Nestlé Waters Canada, we don’t think bottled water can or should replace tap water. We absolutely support people’s choice to drink tap water where safe, clean tap water is available. Where it’s not available, bottled water can provide a safe and reliable solution. We also believe that bottled water is a convenient way to stay hydrated while on the go and that it provides a healthy alternative to sugary drinks.
December 13, 2018 update:
Q: Recently a respected environmental and engineering consultant determined that Centre Wellington will soon have a groundwater supply deficit if population growth is as projected. Consequently would Nestle not agree that if it is permitted to take 1.6 million litres per day from the Middlebrook Well, approximately the same volume of groundwater currently being extracted from three municipal wells in Centre Wellington, it will advance this deficit resulting in an untenable situation for the community? - Mike, Belwood
A: For Nestlé Waters Canada, the needs of the community always come first. We work hard to ensure that our water use has no negative impacts on the environment or our neighbours water supply.
In order for us, and the Centre Wellington community, to understand the impact of the Middlebrook Well, an aquifer pump test would be beneficial in increasing our knowledge of the groundwater resource in the region. These tests collect important data that the community, government, and industry need to contribute to overall water resource knowledge of the region and to make informed decisions that will ultimately protect the resource as the region continues to grow. Given the moratorium in place, we are unable to conduct a pump test. We look forward to working with Centre Wellington and local stakeholders to learn more about the groundwater resource in the area surrounding the Middlebrook Well.
November 29, 2018 update:
Q: We’ve had a lot of questions lately on the First Nations water supply.
A: Our top priority has always been the responsible management and conservation of our shared water resources so that everyone has access to water for generations to come. That’s why we work diligently to protect the health and sustainability of the water we share with a number of communities in the region, including local First Nations. We consult with all levels of government, local, provincial and First Nations on the work that we do and provide assistance to those who seek it. On the recommendation of Chief Ava Hill, we have met many times with the Land and Resources team at Six Nations and have participated multiple times in Community Open House events on the Six Nations Reserve. We look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the Six Nations of the Grand River.
November 22, 2018 update:
Q: Are your takings depleting the watershed? The water table has been greatly affected since you started taking water here.
A: No. We monitor the aquifer on an hourly basis and have been doing so for 18 years to ensure there are no negative impacts. We have over 80 monitoring points for Aberfoyle, and over 50 for Erin – that’s a lot of data! To put our water use in perspective, in Ontario, water bottlers account for only 0.01% of the permits to take water in the province. Locally, water bottling accounts for 0.6% of the actual takings for permit holders in the Grand River Watershed. At Nestlé, we care about our local environment and remain committed to protecting the water we all share.
November 15, 2018 update:
Q: I heard the moratorium to pump water for bottling has been extended. What does this mean for Nestlé Waters?
A: We support the Ministry’s need to let science and fact dictate its decision-making process and are confident that the outcome will support the rigorous scientific evaluations Nestlé Waters Canada has conducted over the years. In the meantime, we remain committed to working collaboratively with all levels of government and Indigenous partners. We will continue to operate according to the rules set out by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks under Regulation 463/16. This decision from the government will have no impact on our commitment to the communities in which we live and work, or our dedication to health and sustainability of our shared water resources.
November 2, 2018 update:
Q: Why should we believe Nestlé cares about the community, it’s a multinational whose head office is in Europe.
A: We care because we also live in the communities where we operate. Nestlé Waters Canada employs over 300 people across the region with over 100 workers in Wellington County alone. We make nearly $1 million in local purchases (which includes local contractors) and contribute more than $1 million in local taxes (we’re the largest taxpayer in Wellington County). Our kids attend the same schools and we drive on the same roads. We are about the health and sustainability of the water that we all share. That’s why we remain committed to protecting this valuable resource for generations to come.
October 19, 2018 update:
Q: Does your company really believe water is a human right?
A: We unequivocally believe that access to water is a human right. Everyone, everywhere in the world, has the right to clean, safe water for drinking and sanitation. We believe that the responsible management of water resources by all users is absolutely necessary. Nestlé is a founding signatory of the UN Global Company CEO Water Mandate, and we work with communities, leading experts, governments, and universities to help ensure effective water management and stewardship. Here at home, we take great pride in and remain committed to the work that we do to ensure the quality and sustainability of the water supply that we all share so that our community has access to safe, clean water for generations to come.
October 12, 2018 update:
Q: I just saw the Greenpeace environmental audit on ocean pollution. Nestlé is listed as one of the top offenders. What are you doing to address the problem?
A: We recognize that ocean plastic is a global issue. At Nestlé Waters, we take our role in environmental protection seriously. That’s why in Canada, Nestlé Pure Life bottles are 100% recyclable PET and why we’ve worked to reduce the amount of plastic in our 500ml bottles by 40%. We also collaborate with the Canadian Beverage Association to pilot recycling programs in public spaces across the country, including here at home in the Town of Erin. Over the years we’ve made a lot of progress, but know there’s more to be done. We remain committed to reducing our impact on the natural environment and protecting the valuable resources that we all share.
October 4, 2018 update:
Q. How much do you pay for water, and why is it so much less than I do at home?
A. Spring water bottlers in Ontario (which includes Nestlé Waters) pay $503.71 per million litres, which is the highest rate for permit holders in the province. Some other industries pay $3.71 per million litres. When you get water from your tap at home, you don’t pay for water, the rate you pay is based on how much you use measured by your water meter, which covers the cost of delivery, infrastructure, and treatment of the water. Similarly, for many who have their own residential wells, they don’t pay for water, they only pay for the maintenance and upkeep of their well. We operate in a community that doesn’t have a municipal water supply, therefore we are responsible for the cost of our own water infrastructure.
September 27, 2018 update:
Q. Did you really outbid Centre Wellington to purchase the Middlebrook Bottling Co well?
A. We did not outbid the Township for the Middlebrook well. We did not know the Township put in a counter-bid since their bid was anonymous. When we found out they were interested in buying the well, we offered to donate the property ensuring a guaranteed revenue source, however our donation was refused. We remain open and committed to working with the community and to protecting the water that we all share. For us, community needs always come first.
September 20, 2018 update
Q: I appreciate that one of the benefits of bottled water is for communities and countries where potable water is unavailable. What percentage of the water you bottle goes to these areas of the country/world?
A: The water we bottle in Aberfoyle is sold and distributed in Canada, however, every year Nestlé Canada also donates over one million bottles to emergency relief efforts across the country and various charitable organizations in our community. When disaster strikes, we work with the Canadian Red Cross to get water to the people who need it. Nestlé delivered two truckloads of water to New Brunswick in response to flooding earlier this year and over 750,000 bottles to fire relief efforts in BC. As a proud member of our community we support the Guelph Gators Mites, Puslinch Optimist Club, Aberfoyle Farmers Market, Puslinch Minor Soccer and a number of local public schools with donated water.
September 13, 2018 update
Q: What happens when [you] need to reduce consumption due to drought and other unforeseeable acts of nature? Will you be responsible and cut back?
A: At Nestlé, we take water management seriously. We plan for the unexpected so if there is a drought (or during a level 1 response), we cut back on our use – proactively and voluntarily setting limits on ourselves that are 10% lower than what the government allows during these weather conditions. Nestlé is a proud member of the Guelph Wellington Community and remains thoroughly committed to protecting the water resources that we all share.
September 6, 2018 Update
Q: Are you operating illegally on expired permits?
A: We have always operated legally, even during this time while we are applying for a new permit; we continue to be governed by the rules of the previous permit. Under the Government of Ontario’s Water Resources Act Section 34.1 (6) all the terms and conditions of our current permits to take water (PTTW) for Aberfoyle and Erin remain in force until the provincial regulators have made a decision on our permit renewal applications. We are committed to ensuring out PTTW applications are fully compliant with the ministry’s new technical and procedural requirements.
Have a question for Nestlé Waters Canada? Send questions to: [email protected].
Nestlé Waters is a proud member of the Wellington County community and we want to hear from you. We will use this space every week in the Wellington Advertiser to answer a new question from the community, so please share your questions with us.
Office hours are now available by appointment only. If you are interested, email: [email protected].