bottled water, corporate watch


0 Comments 31 August 2010


Sparkly water is popular all over Europe and it is slowly gaining in popularity as luxury water sold in the nicest hotels and restaurants. In Italy and all over the world, Sanpellegrino is a milestone in the mineral water bottled water industry. With a luxury positioning in most restaurants in North America, this brand represents the values and style of Italian culture and is marketed as  “fine dining water”. This luxury mineral water comes from a thermal spring at the bottom of a dolomite mountain wall in the Italian Alps. The actually town of San Pellegrino Terme is situated northeast of Milan, close to the city of Bergamo.

This particular water comes from a simple hydrogeological model that is explained on the company’s website: “water is mineralized through contact with the rocks and is heated by geothermal gradient until reaching the spring, where it has the balanced composition of S. Pellegrino mineral water” (Source: As early as the 12th century the Sanpellegrino sparkly water was used for its apparent healthy properties.  In 1842, the town decided to sell the spring to Ester Palazzolo with the condition that a part of the share would be given to the local citizens so they could have access to the water free of charge.  With thousands of bottles selling around the world, the Italian brand decided to put together mineral water and Sicilian oranges and invented a new soft drink called “Aranciata”. In 1999, the brand became the latest new addition to Nestlé’s bottled water empire. According to San Pellegrino’s latest quality report, the water that comes from the sources is always tested as it enters the plant in order to comply with international standards and with Nestlé own requisites. It appears that “quality first” is the motto of this luxury water bottle as the product is “screened for over 200 possible contaminants annually, even more than the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Italian Health Authorities require” (Source:

Stefano Agostini, the president and chief executive officer of Sanpellegrino presents environmental sustainability as one of the main objectives of the company as he declares that the company’s mission is “that of guaranteeing water a future of quality” (Source: According to the company’s statements, the firm is involved in various programs of water conservation in order to protect their water sources and to render them sustainable on the longest term possible. Sanpellegrino states the importance of protecting water sources and its surrounding ecosystems. In order to be coherent with the green values advocated by the Italian brand, the company promotes water and education programs for young children in order to raise awareness at an early age about the importance of water conservation. The brand is a promoter and partner of the WET project (Water Education for Teachers) that aims at educating the little and the old about responsible principles of water consumption. In addition, San Pellegrino says that in the last four years, they have reduced by 48% the total water volume they use in the production process. “To reduce the environmental impact, San Pellegrino is investing in rail transport  and also adheres to CONAI the National Packaging Consortium for the disposal and recycling of containers and is developing a careful reduction plan of materials for the packaging of its products” (Source: While the company’s website tells us it is working hard at diminishing its packaging waste, it fails to give additional details, concrete actions and examples to illustrate how the brand is really achieving these environmental friendly goals. While details on the company’s concrete actions in regards to green productions processes seem to be somewhat lacking, Sanpellegrino presents a much clearer picture of its involvement in Africa on a water friendly project.

Working with the AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation), the Italian brand has sponsored the construction of a well in Makueni, Kenya and its working with the local population in order to enable a water management training to “teach the local population the proper hygiene and the proper health practices to be adopted” (Source: According to its website it appears that the company is committed to a long-term partnership with AMREF in order to help bring quality water to those who need it the most. With the current controversy against the negative effects of plastic bottled water on the environment, giant companies like Sanpellegrino quickly realized that a strong corporate social responsibility is necessary to the survival of their firm and can only increase the brand’s equity.



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