PRODS Dodo Hunziker, Urs Schnell
SCR Res Gehriger, Urs Schnell
CAM Laurent Stoop
ED Sylvia Seuboth-Radke
MUS Ivo Ubezio
PROD CO DokLab GmbH
Why is it that the Swiss company Nestlé—the biggest name in bottled water worldwide—doesn’t want to talk about its success (it’s "the wrong film at the wrong time," said a company spokesman)? When faced with this defensive stonewalling, journalist Res Gehriger and documentarian Urs Schnell went on a journey of exploration, researching the story in the US, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Nestlé currently controls more than 70 of the world’s bottled-water brands, among them Perrier, San Pellegrino and Vittel, and has annual sales of 10 billion Swiss francs. To sell water, you must own water. In the US, Gehriger and Schnell focus on the state of Maine where Nestlé has bought up the water rights to vast swathes of land and has fought to stifle protest from local activists. In Pakistan, Nestlé’s need to continue getting bottled water to market has resulted in drastically reduced groundwater levels—the result is village fountains oozing nothing but sludge. In Nigeria, the cost of a bottle of water for the poor residents of Lagos is almost too much to bear… For Gehriger and Schnell, the company’s suspect business practices and unsubstantiated claims of social responsibility soon turn a trickle of unsettling information into a flood.
"Nestlé is a water hunter, a predator. They are looking for the last pure water in the world. The water crisis is perhaps the most urgent ecological and human threat of our time. And more children die every year of lack of water than HIV, traffic accidents and war combined."—Maude Barlow, former Senior Adviser on Water, United Nations