The Truth About Fiji Water

Fiji Water is one of the most popular brands of bottled water in the United States — and it's also one of the more expensive. Among imported brands, it is the most popular (via Mother Jones). However, there is a darker side to the consumption of Fiji Water. During the production and distribution process, Fiji Water leaves a large negative environmental footprint, as well as negative economic consequences for the people of Fiji.

In 1995, Fiji Water built a facility to extract the water from underground springs that was entirely run on diesel. In 2008, the Fijian government wanted to raise taxes on Fiji Water, which until that point had enjoyed tax-exempt status, and in response, Fiji Water laid off workers. In 2010, the Fijian government tried to raise taxes again, and Fiji shut down its plant for a short period of time. They eventually came to an agreement, but it left a bad impression. "As usual, Fiji Water has adopted tactics that demonstrate that Fiji Water does not care about Fiji or Fijians," Frank Bainimarama, the military leader of Fiji, said.

In addition to the less-than-positive relationship between Fiji Water and the island of Fiji, the company has also cultivated a reputation of lack of follow-through at best (and dishonesty at worst) in regard to their environmental policy. In 2008, the company announced it would cut its carbon footprint by reducing carbon emissions and plant natural forests, though years later the Fiji Water company has only planted half the promised forests (via Vox).

Environmental impact of Fiji Water

Fiji Water advertises their green practices on the company web site, but in reality, the "carbon negative" plan they advertise will not be met until 2037. As a result, the company shut down a section of their web site devoted to tracking their progress in carbon reduction.

Also, the company uses a particular square bottle that makes the product stand out from the rest for marketing purposes. The production of that bottle, to make the plastic, transport the bottle to stores, and address the waste is the equivalent of filling up every bottle a quarter of the way with oil.

And here's the worst part: Fiji Water works in Fiji to produce this beautifully packaged bottled water shipped all over the world. Meanwhile, 12 percent of Fiji residents do not have access to clean, safe drinking water, according to the Water Authority of Fiji (via Xinhuanet). While Fiji Water has access to underground springs, the Fijian people have to deal with rusty pipes and an only sometimes functional water system. Access to clean, safe drinking water was defined as a basic human right by the United Nations in 2010 (via United Nations).