LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FIJI® Water, one of the fastest growing, leading premium bottled water brands in the world, announced a Sustainable Growth Initiative today that will make its products carbon negative beginning in 2008. To achieve this, FIJI Water will account for the carbon footprint throughout the entire lifecycle of its products and then, through a combination of meaningful reductions and carbon-reducing land use and renewable energy projects, the production and sale of each bottle of FIJI Water will actually result in a net reduction of carbon in the atmosphere. No other major beverage brand has ever made a similar commitment to help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Conservation International (CI), a leading conservation organization, has partnered with FIJI Water to counsel them on their sustainability initiative and to develop an ambitious multi-benefit carbon offset plan that, in addition to reducing CO2 in the atmosphere, will also benefit Fiji’s local communities and its biodiversity.
FIJI Water’s Sustainable Growth Initiative is a multi-pronged effort that includes several significant strategies:
Reduction of CO2 Emissions
An aggressive plan to reduce CO2 emissions, which is already underway, is the centerpiece of FIJI Water’s sustainability program. This plan will account for all product lifecycle carbon emissions from raw materials production through post-consumer handling of its products. By 2010 the company’s products, across their entire lifecycle, will deliver the following sustainability benefits (compared to a July 2006 - June 2007 baseline):
“Climate change continues to be one of the biggest, most challenging problems our planet faces, and our Sustainable Growth Initiative is a comprehensive and sustained effort for FIJI Water to do its part – and take a leadership role - in the long-term pursuit of holistic environmental solutions,” said Thomas Mooney, senior vice president, Sustainable Growth, FIJI Water.
Over the next three years, FIJI Water will reduce the amount of energy required throughout the lifecycle of its products through a number of efforts including engineering projects to increase the energy efficiency of its bottling facility in Fiji, optimization of logistics to make greater use of low carbon shipping modalities (primarily ocean freight and rail), and a reduction in packaging. Remaining energy demands will increasingly be met with renewable energy such as wind to power its bottling facility in Fiji, and bio-diesel to replace traditional diesel use in transportation and other applications.
ICF International, a global leader in analyzing emissions inventories and providing advice on climate strategy, will independently review and verify the company’s carbon footprint. To ensure transparency of its carbon negative commitment, FIJI Water will work with ICF International to publicly report its progress against the above targets on an annual basis.
A Verifiable and Permanent Carbon Offsets Program
Remaining carbon emissions that cannot be managed out of the product lifecycle will be mitigated through a portfolio of forest carbon (i.e., reforestation and forest protection) and renewable energy offset projects, developed jointly with Conservation International. These verifiable and permanent carbon offsets will exceed total company CO2 emissions by 20%, delivering one of the first consumer products that truly goes beyond carbon neutral and leaves a negative carbon footprint.
FIJI Water also appointed Thomas Mooney as senior vice president to lead the execution of its Sustainable Growth Initiative. Mooney will be responsible for company-wide efforts to reduce carbon emissions throughout the company’s internal operations and external supply chain. In addition, he will be developing strategies that substantially reduce waste from packaging and operations. Recognizing the need to increase the rates of recycling for PET bottled water containers in the U.S., Mooney will also lead FIJI Water’s efforts to boost post-consumer recycling rates by aggressively advocating for legislation that would expand curbside recycling programs as well as the use of effective consumer incentives (e.g., bottle bills that include bottled water and other non-carbonated beverages). In 2008, FIJI Water will create a dedicated section on its website to educate consumers and policymakers about this opportunity and report on progress made.
“From our very beginning, we have always conducted business in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Mooney. “We’re excited to expand our environmental leadership so that our consumers can continue to enjoy our great tasting, mineral-rich natural artesian water knowing that it comes with a commitment and promise to do something positive for the climate and our environment.”
Protecting and Preserving the Sovi Basin Rainforest
Separate from its offset partnership, the relationship with CI also includes a major program to permanently protect the Sovi Basin, Fiji’s most important land ecosystem, from logging.
The Sovi Basin, located on the Fiji island of Viti Levu, covers over 50,000 acres of land and is the largest remaining lowland rainforest in Fiji. Fiji lies within the Polynesia/Micronesia biodiversity hotspot – one of 34 such hotspots around the world -- and is home to a number of unique and diverse species.
“As consumers become more environmentally aware and active, they are looking toward leadership brands like FIJI Water that support their efforts to live a greener lifestyle and reduce their own environmental footprint,” said Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of Conservation International. “We applaud FIJI Water for offsetting the climate impact of its products, reducing the impact of its operations, and funding crucial conservation efforts that support local communities and protect some of the last remaining forests in the South Pacific.”
The FIJI Water Foundation, launched through a grant from FIJI Water owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick and supported by contributions from 700 FIJI Water employees around the world, will provide funding to endow a Sovi Basin trust fund. Stewart Resnick is also a member of the board of directors at Conservation International.
As part of this conservation effort, CI’s Global Conservation Fund will also donate funding toward the trust fund. Revenues from the fund will support the annual management costs of Sovi Basin, compensate communities for revenue that could have been generated from logging, and cover the annual lease payments to the Sovi Basin landowners. The revenues will also fund a small grants facility that will support community development activities. The National Trust of Fiji is responsible for management of the Sovi Basin, and will receive and administer revenues from the fund. This ambitious effort to preserve the Fijian rainforest will ensure that about ten million tons of CO2 stored in the forest will remain out of the atmosphere in perpetuity. According to the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, this is the equivalent of about 2 million passenger cars not being driven 12,000 miles.
“We applaud FIJI Water's leadership and corporate responsibility in committing to making their operations carbon (negative) and also contribution to protecting Fiji's natural resources,” says Fiji's Environment Minister Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau. “We hope other businesses in Fiji will be encouraged to follow FIJI Water's example.”
“The heart and soul of our brand and the integrity of our product all depend on preserving one of the last remaining virgin ecosystems on Earth,” said Mooney. “By endowing a Sovi Basin trust fund, we will be able to protect one of Fiji’s most important natural watersheds, maintain the global climate benefits associated with this rainforest, and continue to provide significant benefits to the village communities around the Sovi Basin. In addition, the FIJI Water Foundation is funding the study and protection of the Yaqara Valley watershed, home to FIJI Water source.”
About FIJI Water
FIJI® Water, a natural artesian water bottled at the source in Viti Levu (Fiji islands), is the second largest imported bottled water brand in the United States. A product of one of the last virgin ecosystems on the planet, natural pressure forces FIJI Water out of its aquifer deep below the earth’s surface and into iconic square bottles through a sealed delivery system free of human contact.
FIJI Water is available in four convenient sizes to suit any lifestyle. The 330 ml (11.16 oz) or Lil’FIJI, 500 ml (16.91 oz), 1 L (33.81 oz) and 1.5 L (50.72 oz) bottles are available in single serve and/or multi-packs at leading retail locations, and are also served at premiere hotels, restaurants and gourmet shops. FIJI Water is also available for home delivery in the continental United States at www.fijiwater.com. FIJI Water received the United States Secretary of State’s 2004 Award for Corporate Excellence. It is a leading, premium bottled water brand and has been top-rated in taste tests among bottled waters by Chicago Magazine, Cook’s Illustrated Buying Guide, Men’s Health, Every Day with Rachael Ray and others.
About Conservation International
Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems. With headquarters in Arlington, VA, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information about CI, visit www.conservation.org.