A new documentary film investigates how Nestlé turned ordinary water into a billion-dollar business. The film examines how the Swiss food and beverage corporation feeds their industry dominance in bottled water, and how their commoditization of the vital resource devastates impoverished communities.
In the film Bottled Life, Swiss journalist Res Gehringer explores Nestlé’s practices in rural Maine, Nigeria, and Pakistan, showing the impacts on communities when Nestlé takes control of the water supply. The $65 billion company drains groundwater, forcing local residents to dig far deeper for any non-polluted water that remains or pay Nestlé’s high price to get their water back.
Since acquiring Perrier, Poland Spring, San Pellegrino and numerous other bottled water brands, Nestle has consolidated global power over the bottled water industry. The company’s Pure Life brand is the top-selling bottled water brand internationally. Nestlé refused to cooperate with the film, though CEO Peter Brabeck was filmed in a previous documentary describing the notion of access to water as a basic human right as “extreme” and arguing that water ought to have a market value.
Nestlé, Coke, and Pepsi enter regions with strong political ties to regulators that allow them to control both community water supplies and bottled water markets, according to Corporate Accountability International’s campaign against bottled water. They damage public infrastructure, the environment, and the health of communities without consequence, ignoring widespread local dissent. Nestlé is also historically known for controversy over endangering babies and undermining breast feeding mothers by pushing its infant formula in developing countries.
Watch the Bottled Life trailer: