Water in most parts of the world has become a scarce resource with an increasing population. In this scenario, some companies have taken the initiative not only to generate profit but also to provide the affected community with clean water or people who need clean water for beverages and other uses to set up their businesses (Corbaci et al 13). However, other businesses have taken this opportunity to benefit immensely at the cost of such a business’s health and ethics problems. Nestle Water is one of these enterprises. In the United States of America the company has a booming water market. They have purchased large tracks of land for water harvesting where they du several wells to get large volumes of water that they are selling to most parts of the country(Thorne et al.19). They took advantage of the law that says whoever owns a land has a right to its resources and to pump as much water as they may get. This is the law that the company has been found to abuse. The investigations have shown that the firm purchases large tracks of land in some countries like Pakistan and digs several wells to get water that they are producing and selling to the market. One effects of such act is that the ground water around that the farms around where they have such kind of business have reduced drastically (Thorne et al.19). It means the firm is causing drought to several people where their firms are in order to make billions of dollars in water business. In Pakistan, the villages neighboring their industries no longer enjoy the fountain water, the groundwater level was reduced and because the wells have taken much of this water. Then they take the water, bottled it and sell to parts of the country where the water has failed. They termed it a healthy enhancing alternative. But looking at their action well, the company is killing in cycles, they kill one today to make the other alive and the cycle continues. When you kill water sources of a particular region and supply it to another region, it is not an alternative source but unethical way of doing business. The firm simply does not care about the future of the regions they get water from, and once such water will have dried, they will move to some other place and the business continues(Thorne et al.19). A firm that is intended to solve water crisis in the water should not cause the same problem to one side of the water pretending to help the other side that does not have water. In the near future, if the same business continues, the firm will have caused drought to larger part of these countries that they are getting their water supplies. There are several occasions where the firm refused to give journalists information about where they are getting these large volumes of water. This is because they know it is questionable and unethical that will kill several areas in future. The code of conduct in water business concerning its sources might not be clear; firms should be led by ethical ways of business in the process of supplying such product to customers. Now law enforcing authorities should move with speed to help save the world from being deprived one of its most valuable resource.
Ethical issue involved
Nestle Company is not conducting its business accordance with the ethical standards required by any business firm. The company takes water from large tracks of land they bought and sells it to other regions as a health-promoting product. Now, first is the irony of their trading slogan. If it is such an important product that promotes health, then why take it from other people. You cannot save the world by a taken drug from one patient’s mouth and give it to another. The other one would automatically die. The firm has taken advantage of owning full rights of doing such kind of business on land. They are making other places dry as they mint millions in the course of their business. This is unethical. When they do this, they are reducing groundwater, and the people around them will also start buying water from them not knowing that they are purchasing their water (Crane and Dirk13). Ethically, a business should not make a profit from harming the health of other people or climate. Nestle Company is fully involved in a business that is going to harm lives of many people and animals just because they want to make billions from the business. Worse still, they are pretending to be the solution of the water crisis in other dry regions. They are taking water in large trucks and from a distance, one would feel that they are committed to solving the most pressing human problem, water, not knowing, soon they will turn back and start supplying the areas they have rendered dry and infertile. It is not right to intentionally harm others in the course of the business, and what Nestle is doing they are well aware of it(Thorne et al.19). Also, the public has the right to know some information about the business such as the source of their water and how it is treated before they reach the market. Apparently, Nestle does not want to reveal this (Shaw 18). It is not right, and the customers should stop using their products. Also, the water that the people of Pakistan where the firm gets its water claimed that they are being left with dirty water that causes various diseases to them because of the fallen level of water. This shows that the firm is determined even to kill part of the population indirectly but gain the highest profit in billions of dollars. This is unethical and should be stopped. Various development projects will soon be stalled when this firm has taken all the groundwater.
Also, the firm is not practicing the utilitarianism. This ethical issue states that the firm should maximize the happiness of stakeholders in the end since they are affected by the business. Nestle instead, in the long run, will cause suffering to part of its stakeholders, the people of Pakistan. Lastly, the firm does not care about the way ordinary people around their industry in Pakistan are struggling to buy their water while it is ethically required of a business firm to engage in social responsibilities. They should have helped these people to get piped water at affordable rates since it is their product that is giving the company large amount of profit. Ethically, they are wrong and should be stopped.
Offering suggestion for action
In this situation, there is a need for various stakeholders to be involved. The government, the people, and the customers, as well as the international community, must be involved to get the situation solved. The government, especially the Pakistan administration should revisit the contract and land lease they offered the Nestle Company. They need to have a meeting with the company to get more information on how they are using the land they bought and the danger they are posing to the locals. This would help in solving the situation amicably. Also, all land use, especially for digging wells, should be a project supervised by the government to ensure that it is in the interest of local ordinary citizens. At times when government issue license to firms in the form of foreign investors, they fail to look at the bigger picture of the whole issue but rather are interested in job creation and taxes being remitted by these organization. Some of these firms take advantage of the situation and loopholes in the law and policies to inflict long-term future pain and suffering to the people. Now that it has been established that digging well especially large and many in close areas cause drought and other water crisis, the government should then immediately withdraw their license and fine them. Also, they should be made to pay for the damages they are causing people of the area. The government should also revoke the law that gives a person rights to dig out water as much as they can get when they own land. Any water related project by any company should only be carried out jointly with the government and supervised properly rather than being left under the control of these firms. This will end such cases in future.
Further, customers who have heard of the controversy should forthwith stop using products from Nestle. They have a moral obligation not to buy these bottled water as it is endangering lives of other people from another region. Buying it, therefore, is promoting death and suffering of other people. When they lack where to sell their products, they will adhere to an ethical code of conduct and do business respectfully (De George 15). The consumer protection authorities should sensitize the marker about the story of the water controversy and help stop Nestle from destroying other countries resources and cause suffering to innocent citizens. Boycotting Nestle products should not target water alone but also other products that the firm is producing. It should go full force as it is the only way to discipline a rogue company and make them do what is right for the benefit of the entire society. No firm should be allowed to operate in the dark as Nestle did on its sources of water. It can even further danger the lives of customers if the experts do not approve the water. Further, certification of such products should only be granted after they have shown and gave information on where and how they are getting their water supplies. This should be done in the interest of poor people who may not know the dangers the company is imposing then into. The local government should be in the forefront fighting for the benefit of their people not selling to rogue companies like Nestle. They ought to have forced the company to give them full details on what they will be doing and how they will do it. In addition to this, they ought to have asked for the full feasibility study for all the benefit and dangers that the firm will engage the people in. It is the only way to ensure that the lives of people and animals, as well as the plant that are source of livelihood to communities, are protected. Also, experts should only do the study from the company and from the government to prevent any bias of information.
The international community particularly, the ones dealing with climate change and protection of the environment should also come to action. They should assess the claims and take action that would see selfish companies do not misuse the people and environment that focuses only on getting huge profits. They should prosecute them if found guilty and forced to help the community where they are getting the water supplies. They need to compensate the local people, give them piped water and then stopped from operating such kind of business anywhere in the world. Moreover, companies that sell water should be required to give full information where they get their water and thus only be given license to market bottled water when the sources have been verified and assessed to be clean and with no danger to the regions where they are found. There is also an urgent need to draft a policy on land use worldwide that is aimed at protecting water reserves. There should be a minimum number of wells per square meter, and no one should be allowed to surpass it on whatever ground.
In sum, the water source controversy of Nestle Company shows the dirty deals of most business organizations. They do not carry out business with the ethical code of conduct, and the authorities also do little to protect consumers against such activities. There is a need for a proper assessment to be done on various companies who have questionable business deals. Nestle Company behaved unethically, it destroys underground water sources of the community of Pakistan and selling them water again. They should be stopped by the Pakistan government and demand full compensation for the destruction they have done to the environment and the people of Pakistan. Business organizations should not get huge profits from harming or carrying out activities that would most likely harm certain part of the population. In this regard, the consumers should boycott their products. The international environmental bodies should also ban them from operating. Several stakeholders should take action to save the possible damage to the environment that the Nestle Company. That will not only help stop them but also serve as a warning to the other firms who might also be engaged in the same kind of business. Lastly, the water projects and digging of wells should be left in the hands of the local and national governments, and it must be done only to benefit the locals and not for commercial purposes.
Corbaci, Levent, et al. “Corporate Social Responsibility in International Business.” (2014).
Crane, Andrew, and Dirk Matten. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press, 2016.
De George, Richard T. Business ethics. Pearson Education India, 2011.
Shaw, William H. Business ethics: A textbook with cases. Nelson Education, 2016.
Thorne, Debbie M., Odies Collins Ferrell, and Linda Ferrell. Business and society: A strategic approach to social responsibility and ethics. South-Western Cengage Learning, 2011.