MCWC Press Release: Nestle Completes Sale of North America Bottled Water Assets

Press Release – April 1, 2021

Nestle Completes Sale of North America Bottled Water Assets to One Rock
Capital Partners, LLC and Metropoulos & Co.

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, along with groups around the country and in
Canada has been warning the public and government officials that this event was in the
works. Why would we be concerned? After all, many of us have been hoping to rid our
communities of Nestle water grabs for years. Perhaps the fact that they are baling out is
a sign of our success. As Nestle has admitted, it is becoming more and more difficult to
maximize its profits with the brands it is now throwing into the private equity market.
Nestle is turning its attention to more profitable products. It sold its assets to a private
equity firm with no experience in bottled water.

We ask what will become of the rather limited agreements Nestle has made with
communities to at least appear to sustain the environment in which they operate and
give something back to those communities. What assets do they think they have sold to
a private equity firm with no ties to these communities. Certainly, they have not sold the
water, for, at least in Michigan and states east of the Mississippi, that water is held in the
public trust and is not for sale. It is also not a commodity, but a natural resource
necessary for all life. Are they selling the permits they have acquired, some of which are
being contested? Are they selling the plants that put the water of our ecosystems in
toxic little plastic bottles? None of this is acceptable.

We have asked state government to investigate this sale because we see it as one
more step in the direction of privatizing water, turning it into a commodity traded on the
stock and futures markets, and manufacturing scarcity to increase corporate profit.
These two companies making the purchase have made it clear that their goal is to
maximize their profit by growing their investments in a natural resource essential to life.
They promise to “develop a comprehensive business plan focused on growing the
enterprise and its profitability to enhance long-term value.” (News release from One
Rock Capital) This is not a road to making access to clean water available to all
regardless of income.

These firms not only intend to contribute to increasing the manufactured market for
bottled water which Nestle so successfully created, they intend to streamline the
operations to increase the profit. What does this mean for our already damaged
ecosystems like Twin and Chippewa Creeks in Osceola County? Nestle already
expanded the bottling plant in Stanwood and has been purchasing more land. We
encourage the public to beware of new permit applications for further water grabs from
the Muskegon River Watershed. We will certainly be watching and will be holding State
officials accountable for opening the permitting processes to public scrutiny.

Peggy Case, President
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

Also published on Medium.

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