Pepsi's partnerships promote water privatization
Good morning, my name is Julia Gabbert, and I’m an organizer with Corporate Accountability International.
Pepsi’s efforts to address the global water crisis equate to a coordinated effort to promote profit-driven privatization schemes that act to undermine both the human right to water and local, democratic control of global water resources.
For instance, Pepsi’s involvement with the 2030 Water Resources Group, Water.org, Safe Water Network and WaterHealth International demonstrate how the corporation is colluding with water intensive industries, water profiteers and powerful institutions like the World Bank to make democratic control of water obsolete and private, “control for profit” models the future. In each of these Pepsi-funded projects, water rates are tied to repaying private investment from transnational corporations based far away from these programs.
The Water Resources Group focuses on directing water policy in favor of claims of economic activity and private use over individual need. This directly contradicts the UN human right to water.
Pepsi worked through the Water Resources Group to finance and influence Mexico’s 2030 Water Agenda. The agenda recommends “modifying state laws” to prioritize repayment to private companies for their investments in water systems.
Through the Safe Water Network, Pepsi supports WaterHealth International which introduces an even more profit-focused model of water provision. This program seeks to install water “kiosks” in areas lacking access to public water. These stations offer chemically treated water to community members at rates that can reach triple what public water systems can provide in similar areas. These water rates are set by the need to repay private investment, not by the ability of community members to pay.
An original funder of WaterHealth even described how they had to teach people that drinking water was unsafe unless it was provided to them at a price.
One staff member at the Africa Water Network called the program, “a new Trojan horse used for the purposes of introducing ‘market solutions’ as the panacea for the current water crisis in developing countries.”
Pepsi claims to respect the human right to water but at the same time promotes privatization of water.
Ms. Nooyi, in the interest of full transparency, can you provide a detailed account of the financial gains Pepsi receives from these water initiatives as well as the expenditures to fund these projects?