Monday, April 07, 2008

Brabeck concerned about water shortages

Nestle's Chief Executive Officer, Peter Brabeck-Letmathé, has raised concerns about water being used for agriculture and bio-fuels. While there is good reason to be concerned about access to what is becoming a scarce resource in parts of the world, Mr. Brabeck's concerns are self serving. He is reported on as follows:

"As we run out of water, Nestlé will also have the problem of securing raw materials," he said.

He added that the scarcity of water would make food less accessible to the world's poor.


My comment:

Mr. Brabeck's concerns are typically selfish. Nestle's interest in water is as a resource to increase its own profits. Around the world it is being criticised for its extraction of water from aquifers for bottling. In the Brazilian spa town of São Lourenço citizens raised a petition prompting legal action by the Public Prosecutor, who found breaches of federal law. Nestle eventually settled out of court, compensating the town by renovating the water park and stopped pumping in the face of daily fines if it did not do so. All the same Nestle pumped water for 10 years. Nestle claimed : "a third party audit by Bureau Veritas confirms that we have acted in accordance with Brazilian legislation, and we extract far less water than we are legally permitted... Bureau Veritas audit confirms that the test evidence and resultant regulatory approvals do not support allegations that exploitation of the Primavera Well (Sao Lourenço) negatively impacts groundwater in the region."

However, Bureau Veritas told Baby Milk Action: "our work did not constitute a legal audit as such, nor did it include a review of the on-going civil action". Documentary evidence gathered by Baby Milk Action includes official legal opinions that the law was broken. See:

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