Do you know how to turn ordinary water into a billion-dollar business? In Switzerland there’s a company which has developed the art to perfection – Nestlé. This company dominates the global business in bottled water. Swiss journalist Res Gehringer has investigated this money-making phenomena. Nestlé refused to cooperate, on the pretext that it was “the wrong film at the wrong time”. So Gehringer went on a journey of exploration, researching the story in the USA, Nigeria and Pakistan. His journey into the world of bottled water reveals the schemes and strategies of the most powerful food and beverage company on our planet.

Also Known As: Bottled Life, Bottled Life - Das Geschäft mit dem Wasser, Bottled Life: The Truth about Nestlé's Business with, Bottled Life: Nestle's Business with Water, Nestlé et le business de l'eau en bouteille, Bottled Life - Nestlés Geschäfte mit Wasser, A víz mint áru: A Nestlé üzlete a vízzel, Жизнь в бутылке

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  • dawn-white
    dawn white

    I would not be surprised if Nestlé engages in shady business practices or environmental damage, but this “exposé” actually substantiates nothing. Rather than interview hydrologists, lawyers, economists, and whistle-blowers, activists and random people are interviewed. Most just present NIMBY blabbering or rants against “corporate exploitation”. Nestlé invested enormous labor into building an organization that produces profits, and that is “unfair”. 3rd world countries lack clean water, and it’s “unfair” that Nestlé’s excellent product costs money. A weak effort to appear unbiased is made by mentioning the jobs and taxes Nestlé generates, though any benefit is dismissed as a capitalist trick. Certainly there are questions raised about water access and corporate taxation, but those are not Nestlé’s problems to solve. There are hints in the documentary that Nestlé might be depleting water supplies, undermining the democratic process, etc., but nothing more than hints, because the documentary lacks any reason for being made other than to obstruct business, apparently so that the water can peacefully live underground. Technically, the documentary is mediocre at best, and the director’s repeated attempts to get a statement from Nestle are amateurish. Nestle doesn’t owe anyone its time, just like it doesn’t owe anyone water.

  • jacek-broncel
    jacek broncel

    I’ve seen a number of documentaries on this issue and it underlines how little these large worldwide corporations care about the lives they affect. This is an important documentary about an issue that is life and death for many people.It actually deserves a slightly higher rating but there are no subtitles and even when an individual is not speaking English, no subtitles are provided. So quite a number of sections of the film are useless unless you happen to speak all the languages spoken in the film. Even many statements from the Nestles CEO are wasted in the film.Nestles says its concerns are humanitarian, but as evidenced in the film, its only concern is money and making a profit. Once an area is dry, they move on to another area.

  • therese-larsson
    therese larsson

    And as with pretty much every other huge company, it doesn’t come even remotely as a surprise that their actions are not only the exact opposite of sustainable, but downright ruthless to the point they could almost be considered illegal. What I liked most about the film is that it also scrutinized the positive efforts of the company such as supplying water to fugitives in Ethiopia or investing into the infrastructure of areas where they target the water supplies.Apart from depicting how Nestlé operates exactly (obtaining private property and using it to get a hand on the water), the most interesting part was the depiction of how Nestlé changed society in Pakistan and how “Pure Life” has basically become a crucial part of how to define one’s lifestyle. It’s a truly sad state of affairs when water is considered no longer a basic good, but a commodity and what’s even worse is that we’ve probably reached a point where greed and the desire for profit are so much advanced that it may very well be too late to change things for the better. In any case, the makers of this film succeeded mostly in their endeavor and props to them for being brave enough to go up against a Goliath like this company. And of course, the lack of response from Nestlé speaks more than a thousand words, just like every questionable organization who has a lot to hide. “Bottled Life” is a documentary worth watching.

  • anssi-jokinen
    anssi jokinen

    I don’t have much to say about the documentary itself but quite a lot about the business.Here in India we had a big controversy about Coca Cola corporation’s water bottling business. In Kerala they extracted so much ground water for their purpose that it created almost drought conditions in the surrounding areas on Kerala.City of Chennai has had perpetual shortage of potable water. A little while ago a million liters per day desalination plant was installed on the outskirts. The total cost of the process amounted to to a mere US$ 1.00 for 100 liters. What is being sold in the market costs around US$0.20 per 1 liter bottle.I would most certainly blame the politicians too for granting industrial licenses to big time companies, multinationals and local variety, for this catastrophe. If I had it my way I would grant licenses for setting plants only for bottling desalinated purified water at least located at least 100 miles away from any populated area!