What makes Fiji water so special

Drinking water from the Fiji Islands

politics

Untouched and unencumbered - this is what the "Fiji Water Company" promises to the consumers of their drink. In contrast, environmentalists describe so-called luxury water as a disaster for the environment. The value the company has for the residents of Fiji, for example, is ignored in this view.

By Judith Bomholt

18.03.2009

Photo: drinks & amp; more GmbH & amp; Co. KG

Unnecessary luxury items, environmental disasters, marketing gimmicks - the critics do not take good care of the drink Fiji Water. The water from the Fiji Islands became popular on the one hand through skilful product placement in various movies, but especially with the help of celebrities like Janet Jackson or Mariah Carey. Their public commitment to this brand was a lucrative advertising tool for the company.


"If you are wondering what really pure water tastes like, open a bottle of Fiji water and you will know," the manufacturers prophesy on their homepage. What makes their water so special and, as they claim, healthier than other waters: its origin. The Fiji Water Company's artesian well is located on the Fiji island of Viti Levu in the South Pacific, in the remote mountainous region of the Yaqara Valley. The water is extracted and bottled far away from any environmental pollution. Fiji Water promises a special filling process: "Please do not touch the water" is the top priority for its employees. In this way, the company guarantees the consumer that the water only comes into contact with the atmosphere when the bottle is opened.

The marketing strategy works: Although it can hardly be distinguished from the taste of other waters, some people are willing to dig deeper than necessary into their pockets for their refreshment. A liter of Fiji water costs around 3.50 euros in this country, but demand is still increasing.

Mountains of plastic bottles

The absurd thing about it: To get to America, for example, the Fiji water bottles have to travel thousands of miles as if there were no water suppliers in America itself. For environmentalists, Fiji water is therefore a completely unnecessary burden on the environment. On the one hand because of the CO2 emissions - caused by long transport routes - on the other hand, many of them speak out against the use of PET bottles. They can be recycled, but only if consumers bring them back. That is by no means always the case, and then the bottles end up in the garbage. In 2007, the Washington research institute Worldwatch, which is committed to the concept of sustainability, developed a study on the development of water bottle consumption. From 2000 to 2005 this rose by 60,000 million liters worldwide. This increase prompts environmentalists to appeal to stop using bottled water altogether. Your alternative: tap water, because in some cases it is even better than bottled water.

A win for the islanders

In terms of Fiji water, what would be the result of doing without it? This would of course be a major setback for the company, but also for others: Numerous islanders would lose a secure job, and Fiji-Water's investments in the island would be halted. That is the other side of the coin: The company is of great value to the residents of the island of Viti Levu. Of course, Fiji Water itself does not leave out any argument on its homepage that proves how important it is for the island and its residents.

Critics accuse the company of contradicting itself in which it presents itself as a climate protector while it itself contributes to their pollution.
However, with the award of the Award of Corporate Excellence 2004, the US Department of State also confirms the company's work on site: “Fiji Water receives this award for its positive influence on the economy and the quality of life of the people of Fiji. The company acts like an economic engine and is a pioneer in matters of environmental protection and its implementation ”, is the reason for the award of the award. The Fiji Water Company is also a main sponsor of the Rotary Club's Pacific Water for Life Foundation. The aim is to improve Fiji's infrastructure, for example by providing every community with a safe water supply. In many places the residents can only get water through outdated pumps, which often fail during the frequent dry periods. The director of Rainforest Network Action, Mike Brune, also recognizes their commitment to climate protection, for example by investing in wind power plants: He considers the company's commitment to be noteworthy, Fiji Water makes an honest effort to act more ecologically.

Two sides of the coin

There are certainly numerous different points of view about the Fiji Water Company, but they do not necessarily have to lead to a contradiction: The emission of CO2 in the course of the transport of Fiji water is a fact. Likewise the absurdity that water is shipped halfway around the world, although it could be obtained from its own company in each country. However, it is also certain that the Fiji Water Company is an important factor in Fiji's development. If Fiji Water stopped exporting, the pollution from transport would be avoided, but the islanders would pay a high price, which is an important source of income for their further development.

Source: UD