Drought prompts Starbucks to move bottled water production out of California


Starbucks Corp. said Friday it would move its bottled water production out of drought-stricken California to Pennsylvania.

(Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images for Starbucks)

Starbucks Corp. said Thursday it would move the sourcing and production of its bottled water brand Ethos Water out of drought-stricken California to its Pennsylvania supplier over the next six months.

The move comes one week after Mother Jones published a story about the Seattle coffee company’s bottling plant in Merced, a city the U.S. Drought Monitor deemed to be in “exceptional drought.” The magazine also reported that the water bottled at the Merced plant was sourced from private springs in Baxter, an unincorporated community in Placer County that was also in “exceptional drought.”

“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 said it would explore new sources of water, as well as a supplier, to serve West Coast distribution.


Starbucks bought Ethos Water in 2005, and the brand was touted by the company as a way to “address the global humanitarian water crisis.”

The company donates five cents to the Ethos Water Fund for each bottle purchased. In total, Starbucks said it has donated more than $12 million to water, sanitation and hygiene programs in Africa, Indonesia and Latin America.

Shares of Starbucks were up $0.60, or 1.21%, to $49.94 in early trading.

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