bottled water, corporate watch

Poland Spring’s CSR

1 Comment 11 August 2010

Poland Spring’s CSR

America seems to have endlessly fallen in love with bottled water, spending annually more money on plastic bottles than they do on cell phones or ipods. America loves its water bottles that can be found at the gym, the local spa, the supermarket, hotels, fairs, parties or the cinema. It is paradoxically one of the most accessible good on the market, while in the same time the United States also provides free tap water that often seems to be put on the side or frowned at. World corporations own most water bottles brands and have implemented subtle and efficient marketing strategies to render water bottles the most indispensable prop to our daily lives. As early as the late 1800s, Poland Spring was already known as a “healthy-quality” water that could be home delivered.

According to the company’s official website, the Poland Spring Brand history goes back        13 000 years ago when a glacier retreated in what is today the region of Maine. Their water is collected from several spring water sources in Maine, water that has been in the homes of Americans through the great depressions, the passing of war and the hippy movement. This bottled water’s marketing strategy stands strong on its historical longevity, following the country and the passing of generations. This notion of time evolution and continuity of the bottle renders this element indispensable to the eyes of its buyers.  Citizens have even forgotten to ask themselves how truly essential is that water plastic bottle. It seems like this brand has managed to transform an essential good, water into a product, a commodity, a beverage that is to be requested with precision by costumers.  On the Poland Spring Water website, the company adopts a proactive approach with a page entitled “Please Recycle” that is a message directed to their customers. The corporation tackles the problems of plastic pollution directly by stating that: “the Container Recycling Institute estimates that 75 to 80% of plastic bottles end up in landfills or incinerators. We want to be part of the solution” (Source: They expose their concrete effort by producing bottles with less plastic and a smaller label in order to save trees.  It appears to be that their website is not only about promoting their green initiatives but they have also decided to inform readers about environmental facts like reminding us that “ it takes 6 trees to make one ton of paper” (Source: By informing customers about environmental issues and statistics, it appears that the company is trying to give us the impression that they stand on the side of environmentalist groups and green NGOs.  In addition their website has a special section entitled “Be healthy”, a section that gives general tips about being healthy and staying hydrated.

Their newest bottle, the Eco-Shape bottle is “lighter than most half-liter beverage bottles because it contains an average of 30% less plastic.” (Source:  The company also reminds us that in the last ten years they have saved about 30% for every liter produced, saving around 245 million pounds of plastic resin.  Yet, on the corporate citizenship section of their website, on the category of “Recycling” it seems that the company has a pretty scarce strategy or informative text as they simple say “we encourage you to recycle all of our products” (Source:

A few years back Poland water faced a controversy as it was accused of bottling water that did not come directly from the spring. “When Perrier took over the Poland spring site, it was drawing water not from the original spring at the top of Ricker Hill but from boreholes a couple of thousand feet away, near a pond base on the hill” (Source:  This controversy was somewhat concluded with the fact that the springs were somewhat linked to the borehole. This was the loophole that permitted Poland water to continue marketing their bottles as “spring water”.

On their website the company tells us that they believe that “the greatest impact we can have today to protect our environment is to design lighter bottles that use less plastic” (Source: This seems like a somewhat light and superficial statement considering the amount of plastic that is dumped in nature running the natural habitat of animals and human beings. The United States has the privilege of having access to free tap water, individuals are uphold at the potential privatization of water as they argue it should be a fundamental human right. Yet, paradoxically they fell to be coherent with their arguments since most citizens after arguing against water privatization, frown at tap water and go out and buy bottled water. This is something worth reflecting upon.



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  1. Alex says:

    contains 30% less plastic…! is that suppose to be enough?! i doubt it…no matter how hard corporations try to fool us with the corporate social actions…they simply don’t measure up to drinking water straight from the tap…!

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