Bottled water firms unite

Three bottled water manufacturers mount lobbying offensive.

Nestle Waters, Danone and Highland Spring have joined together to launch a new association to lobby on behalf of the bottled water industry.

The Natural Hydration Council (NHC) was launched this week to research and promote the environmental, health and other sustainable benefits of natural bottled water.

The new group aims to provide information and advice for the Government, researchers, the industry, media and the public about the economic and social value and impact of bottled water. This will include lobbying politicians and the Government about the benefits of drinking bottled water. The NHC will also be looking for a PR agency to help support its 2009 activity.

'There is increasing chatter claiming bottled water is in some way bad,' said NHC director Jeremy Clarke. 'Some of that debate is misleading and much is just plain wrong. It needs to be challenged, and previously there was no authoritative industry-wide organisation dedicated to researching the science and establishing the facts.'

The bottled water industry has been hit with a series of negative stories criticising its environmental and health benefits. A campaign was launched earlier this year to encourage consumers to ask for tap water when in restaurants.

The new organisation will aim to clear up misconceptions surrounding the environmental benefits of drinking bottled water.

'Not many people realise that natural bottled water comes from fully sustainable sources and in recyclable packaging,' said Nestle Waters UK MD Paolo Sangiorgi. 'We need the council to undertake new research and communicate the facts to ensure fully informed consumer choices.'

Danone Waters UK & Ireland MD Nick Krzyzaniak said: 'The role of the NHC is to provide consumers with an informed choice on the health and sustainability aspects of naturally sourced water.'

The council is looking for other water companies to get involved. It is also open to other organisations that are involved in the health of the public.

The NHC will be guided by a scientific advisory panel to authorise and validate peer reviewed academic research and studies.

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