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Fiji Water makes suspect claims about its green credentials

CorporatePortal

Fiji Water - the bottled water of choice for many West Coast celebrities - is making suspect claims about its green credentials, Channel 4's Dispatches reveals.

As part of a wider investigation into the global conservation movement, airing tonight (Monday 20th June at 8pm on Channel 4), Dispatches reporter Oliver Steeds explores whether some leading Conservation NGOs' close links to big business compromise its ability to defend wildlife.

The programme found that Fiji Water, which imports mineral water from the Pacific island of Fiji, is working in partnership with a leading conservation organisation to improve its environmental image.

However, Fiji Water's claims to be carbon negative are misleading and based on ‘the concept of being carbon negative'.

Fiji Water is a masterpiece of American marketing, retailing at $1.69 a bottle. Owned by Californian entrepreneurs, Stewart and Linda Resnic, it cultivates an environmental image so successfully it appears to be the bottled water of choice for many West Coast celebrities.

The company has managed to convince many Americans that by drinking Fiji Water you are actually managing to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Fiji Water's promotional video promoted its pledge to plant enough trees in Fiji to absorb more carbon than it was emitting, making it "the first major beverage brand to give a carbon negative commitment".

However, Fiji Water's conservation partner Conservation International admits to Dispatches that this reforestation project covered less than 4 square miles and would only offset Fiji Water's emissions for three years. Moreover, so far, less than half of this planting has actually taken place.

In other words, Fiji Water's entire claim to be carbon negative rests on the planting of less than 1.4 square miles of forest.

In an interview with Dispatches, Conservation International's Chief Executive, Peter Seligman, explains the background to his organisation partnership with Fiji Water.

"Fiji Water is ... committed to offsetting the carbon that's emitted in their transporting and in their manufacturing by reforesting and protecting other forests outside of that area. .... So that's why we work with them because there is a real ... biodiversity and conservation benefit", says Peter Seligman.

In response to Fiji Water's carbon negative claims Mr Seligman says "They are carbon negative based upon ... you know the, you know if you, if you, you look forward they will be carbon negative, they are not carbon negative right now but the concept of being carbon negative includes that."

But when pressed Mr Seligman distanced his organisation from Fiji Water's misleading marketing: "I don't market them, I am not involved in their marketing at all, period," he says.

These findings will be broadcast in Dispatches: Conservations Dirty Secrets on Monday 20th June at 8pm on Channel 4.