As Toronto City Council gathered yesterday to consider passing a city-wide ban on bottled water, a new coalition challenged advertising claims made by Nestlé Waters that “bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world.” The group, which includes Friends of the Earth Canada, the Polaris Institute, the Council of Canadians, Wellington Water Watchers, and Ecojustice, has filed a complaint under Canadian Code of Advertising Standards against Nestlé Waters North America. The groups argue that Nestlé is attempting to mislead the public on the true impacts of bottled water. Copies of the coalition’s complaint against Nestlé Waters are available upon request.
The complaint relates to a full-page advertisement that appeared in the Globe and Mail in October and made a series of statements, including that: “most water bottles avoid landfill sites and are recycled”; “bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world”; and, “Nestlé Pure Life is a Healthy, Eco-Friendly Choice.” The groups argue that Nestlé Waters’ ad contravened the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards by making false and misleading statements regarding the environmental impacts of its product. The complaint also alleges that some of the statements in the ad are contrary to guidelines that have been set by Canada’s Competition Bureau and the Canadian Standards Association to ensure environmental claims are specific and verifiable.