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Environmental impact Nestlé suffers palm oil setback but wins water battle

Arrowhead water bottling plants

Nestlé owned Arrowhead water bottling plant uses water obtained from the San Bernardino National Forest northeast of Los Angeles.


The Swiss food giant can no longer claim to use certified sustainable palm oil due to failure to meet reporting obligations. However, it was allowed to continue extracting water from a national forest in Southern California. 

On Wednesday, Nestlé’s membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was suspended for failing to hand in the annual progress report for 2016 and for not including a time-bound plan towards 100% sustainable palm oil in its 2017 report. The company was also accused of non-payment of €2,000 (CHF2,311) in membership fees. RSPO has ruledexternal link that the suspension means Nestlé can no longer claim use of certified sustainable palm oil. The company has until July 20 to comply with the rules or risk its membership being terminated. 

The Swiss multinational had better news in the US where the Forest Service granted Nestlé Waters North America a three-year permit to continue piping water from the Strawberry Creek watershed in Southern California. Environment groups had taken the Forest Service to court for allowing Nestlé access to the water under an expired permit. The court ruled that the company could continue using water until its permit was renewed. The three-year permit issued on Wednesday places restrictions such as use only when enough water is available to protect natural resources. Worsening of California’s drought would also place limitations on extraction. Nestlé has 60 days to accept the terms of the new permit.



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