Starbucks to Move Ethos Water Bottling Out of Drought-Stricken California

With the California drought now reaching critical levels, everyone is being asked to do their part in using water wisely. While exceptions exist for industries—particularly farming and fracking—one industry just got a huge wakeup call. Starbucks announced that it will move its sourcing and production of its bottled water brand Ethos Water out of California and to Pennsylvania.

“The decision to move our Ethos water sourcing from California and reduce our in-store water reductions by more than 25 percent are steps we are taking in partnership with state and local governments to accelerate water conservation,” John Kelly, Starbucks senior vice president of global responsibility and public policy, said in a statement. 

The company made the announcement just a week after Mother Jones called out the company’s Merced, Calif., bottling facility. Merced is considered to be in a state of “exceptional drought,” more afflicted than many other cities across the state. The water is being sourced from private springs located in Baxter, an unincorporated community in Placer County that was also in "exceptional drought," reports the Los Angeles Times

A report commissioned by the International Bottled Water Association found that it takes on average 1.32 liters of water to make a liter of bottled water, though critics argue that it can take several times more than that once all the packaging is accounted for,” reports Mother Jones.

Somewhat ironically, Ethos Water, which was purchased by Starbucks in 2005, is committed to addressing the world’s water crisis. Five cents from every bottle water purchased goes to the Ethos Water Fund. Starbucks reports donations of more than $12 million from sales of the water have been distributed to water programs in Africa, Indonesia and Latin America.

Now in its fourth year, the California drought is showing few signs of letting up anytime soon. Water use restrictions by as much 35 percent have been enforced in some parts of the state.

Image: Global X

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