See more on the water-related discussions at the Global CSV Forum here.
The announcement of awarding a water project is a good occasion to invite your comments on the role of companies in society, on Corporate Social Responsibility, a concept others are using, and a more comprehensive approach that I prefer, Creating Shared Value.
Today we are meeting at our annual Global Creating Shared Value Forum in New Delhi, India. We are also announcing the winner and the two runners up of our 2012 Nestlé Prize in Creating Shared Value. Creating Shared Value means simultaneous value for the shareholders of companies and the societies where these companies operate. It is not an add-on, something company people think about in the evening after a busy day. It is a matter of how companies understand the way they do business, the way they act during the day, and the way they set up and evaluate projects initiated beyond their day-to-day business. And this is where the Nestlé Prize in Creating Shared Value fits in.
A 90-minute “documentary” on Nestlé’s water business recently went on air. It illustrated a whole spectrum of perceptions, misperceptions and allegations concerning this part of our business. Also one or two commentators on this blog have asked questions about water sold in bottles.
Now, this blog is not about bottled water, and it is neither meant as a smokescreen or an apology for the fact that we offer high-quality water to consumers – an offer they can then decide to accept or to turn down.
This blog is about the rapidly increasing overuse and, as a result, the shortage of freshwater where it is most needed, i.e., to grow food for a further increasing world population, to produce energy, and to supply households with water for all its uses. This is the most vital issue of our time, and in this big picture, bottled water is rather irrelevant. Let me illustrate this with some facts.