20 Jul 2010

Some Answers about Fiji Water

I've been trying to talk to people at Fiji water since the start of March. I even changed my travel plans, to be able to talk to them when I was in Fiji. But that meeting was canceled at the last minute and my subsequent attempts to get written or verbal answers to my questions have been shuffled about and ignored. It's been nearly five months, and I'm tired of waiting. Tired. Tired Tired.

So I decided to post my questions, with answers from "Stuei," my made-up correspondent. Feel free to correct/elaborate on my answers -- especially if you can give URLs for sources. Enjoy!
  1. What's the carbon footprint of Fiji Water delivered to San Francisco (it comes via LA, right?) How does that compare to the footprint of Dasani -- or any other brand that is from municipal water?

    Stuei: We have a triple-negative carbon footprint! We've bought options for future forestation on the land that we are now clearcutting. Given our assumption that carbon sequestration will be 10x more valuable in 20 years, we are going to replant 30 percent of the current area in 10 years, allowing us to make money now and you to drink our water guilt-free. Dasani? Crap from the tap -- don't drink that poison!

  2. How much water does FW extract from the aquifer in Fiji per year? How many bottles is that? How much comes out of the spring (it's artesian, right) in the average year?

    Stuei: We take about 50 percent of that aquifer. 80% of our extractions go for the water slide (employee perks!); the rest goes into bottles that are handblown with the finest plastic, giving our water a fresh, new-car taste. The spring's flows go up and down, but our extractions don't. This is a business, not a nature show!

  3. How much FW is sold/donated in Fiji? What are the top five countries, with share of your total sales?

    Stuei: We donate over 400 bottles of water per year in Fiji. The President Dictator Our Friend love those little bottles. We sell water in Fiji, at the same low price that LA celebs pay. Most of our water sells in the US, where people are too worried about their health to exercise, too paranoid to believe that tap water is drinkable, and too uneducated to see through our clean crisp marketing. My favorite place to sell Fiji is in Aspen -- I love to ski on that snow, but hate to drink it.

  4. How much does FW pay the Govt of Fiji per bottle for water? If not per bottle, is there an annual license fee? Does FW pay taxes (income, property) in addition to this?

    Stuei: Nothing. Duh. We pay bribes, but only to people. Governments are NOT people. Get that straight. Our license fee of $1,000 is quite expensive, but our tax credit of $50,000 more than makes up for it. Since we employ 200 workers, that rebate allows us to pay them $250/year more. (We don't, of course. Have you seen the unemployment stats for Fiji?) We pay property taxes based on our land-footprint. It's about 500 sq feet around our pumping facilities. The rest of our facilities are on stilts, so we only pay taxes on "unimproved land." (I got that idea from the kosher pig folks; their pigs don't touch the ground, so they are "clean." Get it?)

  5. How many Fijian citizens work for FW? How many non-Fijians (in Fiji and LA...)

    Stuei: We bought passports for our foreign staff, so we are 100% Fijian on the ground. Even I celebrate on October 10th. 90 percent of our wages go to the 20 people who work in marketing in LA. The other 10 percent of our wages go to the day-laborers we have in Fiji. I understand that some of them work upto 50 days a year, so we even remember their names. (Well, we remember who gets what nametag.) Employees who pass 200 days of employment with us are "retired" -- they get a free bottle of Fiji water and a place on our shoot on sight list.

  6. What's the most-common question from anti-bottled water people? What's your answer?

    Stuei: "Why are you evil?" I kinda like its directness, but I don't tell them that. I just say Fuck You -- and the horse you rode in on. Hahhaaha

  7. What's the hardest question for FW to answer from anti-bottled water people? What's your answer?

    Stuei: "Which do you love more: money or marketing?" I still flip coins on that one, but our marketing is so bad-ass that Eskimos buy our ice! Fiji-ice, of course!

  8. Where are your plastic bottles made? Virgin or recycled plastic? Is there a bottle recycling program on Fiji? What % of bottles does it pickup? Any recycling stats for FW bottles in the US?

    Stuei: We make 'em in China, where it's easy to get 8 year olds on the lines, and we can dump our waste next to the road. Although I hate to say "Virgin" (Fucking Branson), I LOOOVE virgin costs. We take blood oil from Iran and Sudan, refine it in to bottles with slave labor from Burma, and then ship the empties to our plant on North Korean ships that just delivered missiles to Yemeni freedom fighters. How are the bottles so clear and square? We take crutches from all those one-legged Afghanis and use them to pull the bottles through a solution of butterfly wings, shark fins and rhino feet. Gotta love that quality. Recycling? Yeah, we do that. We dump the bottles in the ocean and then wait 400 million years for plate-tectonics to turn those suckers into new oil. Bam!

  9. What's the relationship between FW and the government of Fiji? Does FW have any position on political coups? Does FW have any formal or informal relationships with police, military or other security branches of the Fiji Government?

    Stuei: They're our bitches. All of them. The only crime that we don't control is that $12 mai-tai at the resorts. We tend to do quite well off the pedophiles and guys fencing stolen cameras and laptops, but we need to pull back on supply a bit. Low prices do not help the bottom line at FABS (Fiji's Ass Belongs to Stuei).

  10. What % of FW costs are for production, transportation, head office, marketing/sales, science. Do these sum to 100%?

    Stuei: Science? Damn, this is just water. There's no science! We spend 80% of our money on packaging, marketing and transport. We break-even on wages. Those costs eat into our profits, but we are able to maintain those at 75 percent of revenues. The only boys who make money than us (water! it's just water!) are Bill Gates ($200 cds!) and the US Mint ($100 for $0.01?! Awesome!).

  11. Why should people buy FW? Why FW instead of Aquafina (muni water) or Perrier (spring)

    Stuei: Because they are shallow poseurs afraid of their plumbing. Oh, and our bottles are square!

  12. Thanks Mr. Resnick Stuei!

    Stuei: No worries kid. I love the media. Have a bottle to go, 50 percent off for you, amigo.

Addendum: Truth is stranger than fiction: Bottled holy water from Israel. Also read this on Green FW.


  1. That is very funny, and probably not too far off the mark. I would lay off ad-hominem digs at Resnick though, unless you know him. It distracts from the bigger issue, and might also be unfair. I met him briefly (once) and thought he was an intelligent OK guy.

  2. At a learning fair, 150 Girl Scouts (7th and 8th grade) did a blind taste test of tap, well, Fiji, and Perrier water. (We chose Fiji water because of you, David). The well water won, closely followed by the tap water. Fiji was a distant third, and Perrier was not chosen by any of them. They were surprised, and expressed that Fiji water should have been better since it was from "the store". Middle school girls as a focus group. Who knew?

  3. Although Fiji water does cost a lot, it tastes fantastic. Why should this be a supposed crime against the environment? I drink Dewars, which costs even more, but nobody gripes that it's imported from Scotland.

    -- John Seiler

  4. @FMF -- great. Thanks!

    @John -- you got Dewers on tap at home?

  5. Hey David. I have some thoughts about this post...

    First, forget about whether it's carbon-neutral because it plants trees. I wonder if the associated carbon costs are nonetheless quite low given its shipping route. Most of the bottles are carried to the U.S. from New Zealand. That's mostly backhaul—the ships are running the circuit anyway, delivering goods to NZ, and the water is traveling when there's significant capacity.

    Second, consider that most of the transportation is from shipping, in which per-shipment emissions are low. It delivers to big ports, including L.A., Oakland, Miami, NYC, and Philadelphia; these are already quite close to significant population centers. Now, consider a single-point water source like Poland Spring, which originates in Maine. It's not going to use ships to traverse the Panama Canal to deliver to different parts of the country; instead, it's going to truck the water everywhere. There will certainly still be trucking involved with Fiji, but in principle isn't it possible that the carbon from trucks outweigh the carbon from ships + some trucks?

    Curious for your thoughts.

    1. @DW ...

      Youre right about shipping v trucks but PS (and most generic bottled waters) are bottled closer to customers. PS is a brand but it contains different spring waters

      I think the main point is that FW is the one of worst (glass bittled mineral waters are the worst) in a sector thats more about conspicuous consumption than water


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