Fiji Water's green offensive ~ Brand Mix

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fiji Water's green offensive

My very first blog, almost one year ago, was about the challenges faced by Fiji Water as it emerged as the poster child for all that environmental activists believe to be wrong with the bottled water industry. Its super-badge status, extreme price premium and the fact that it's shipped half way around the world from a place where many locals don't have safe drinking water of their own all contributed to this unsought position.

Fast forward to now and, whatever your opinion about bottled water, you've got to be impressed with the sheer commitment and determination that the company has shown to protect its business. Treating the press and blog commentary last year as an early warning signal, the company has geared up to meet its critics head on. And rather than play defense, Fiji Water is on the counter-attack presenting itself as an eco-friendly green company that's actually carbon negative.

It's also taken a whole series of actions to reinforce its green credentials: changed its shipping routes, made commitments to further reduce emissions, supported laws that would include water bottles in deposit-driven recycling plans (which most beverage companies oppose) and, with all that, launched and a new "Every Drop is Green" campaign to get the message out.

None of this will persuade its fiercest critics--but they don't buy bottled water. What it's more likely to do is turn back or at least weaken their critical assault and protect sales (which have, so far, stayed healthy). As Rob Six, Fiji Water's vice president for corporate communications, told Rob Walker in his New York Times magazine article: "Any time you see negative stories in the press, you have to figure out how to respond." In this case, all guns blazing.

Water Proof: Rob Walker (New York Times Magazine)
Message in a Bottle: Charles Fishman (Fast Company)
Trouble in Paradise: Brand Mix
Green water: Brand Mix
More water woes: Brand Mix
And more on water too: Brand Mix

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