I guess the main reason that the self centered money makers attempt such things here is because that here in India the if proved guilty they can generally go away free. Had it been US they probably had to pay a very high amount. Probably the way McDonald's did. This happened when they where earlier found selling pesticide contained water through their Aquafina and Kinley brand. All companies who made a fortune by knowing deliberately that their actions may cause serious harm should be liable to pay, for their wrongdoings. Follow these links 1. Pepsi, Coke contain pesticides: CSE 2. India: Top bottled water brands (including Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle) loaded with pesticides [ August 05, 2003: Message edited by: Anupam Sinha ]
From the link: "Johnson said the basic inference drawn from the tests is that groundwater used for making soft drinks is infested with pesticides. She said PML tested the cold drink samples for 16 organochlorine pesticides, 12 organophosphorous and four synthetic pyrethroids -- all of which are commonly used in India as insecticides." If the groundwater is polluted, why blame Coke and Pepsi? I don't think our policies would let them import water from elsewhere, and sell it in India!
Compared to that, imported brands such as the prohibitively expensive 'Evian' contained no pesticides, while Indian brands that genuinely tapped water from environmentally clean springs such as 'Himalayan' and 'Catch' had minimal pesticide residue.
So it appears that yes, it's legal to import bottled water from elsewhere, but it's quite expensive. But it's also possible to find acceptably clean water sources in India. The question I would have is - how expensive are these clean Indian brands? Are the clean water sources significantly more expensive? Is there enough clean water to satisfy the potential demand? I suspect that the cleaner sources are more expensive - or if not, they're going to become more expensive in the wake of these studies. As long as the ground water problem exists, I think the best you can hope for is truth in advertising and a divided market, with a choice between cheap bad water and expensive good water. From the article it sounds like many in india can't afford to drink just bottled products anyway, so the more serious problem has little to do with Coke and Pespi. Did Coke and Pepsi do something wrong? It sounds like legally the answer is no. Morally? Probably. That is to say yes, but I'm not sure how much. In particular, did they avertise themselves as being safer than alternatives? Did they suppress past studies of water safety? Or did they merely take advantage of a popular assumption that bottled products would be safer? What would have happened if they'd said "hey, we're raising our prices so we can bring you cleaner water, even though the government doesn't require it (and by the way our cheaper cometitors are still using that nasty bad water we used to use)"? I don't know much about the market and cultural expectations in India - do you think they could do this without losing significant money? Is it reasonable to expect a corporation to do something like this without stiff laws to enforce the behavior? Or good public awareness of the health situation, which in turn would affect sales? Unfortunately I don't think you can expect corporations to act "morally" - you have to use either laws or increased public awareness to make it so the "moral" behavior is also what's in their own best economic self-interest.
"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Joined: Apr 13, 2003
Hi Ashok and Jim In India untill recently we didn't had a system to check for cleaniness of water or say the system was using methods through which the contamination could not be detected. After the CSE's findings the rules were made strictier but probably still haven't been immplemented. Implementation date is Jan 01 2004. The Catch and Himalayan are according to me Rs. 20/- (40 cents approx) and Evian is Rs. 50/- (1$ approx). While Aquafina(Pepsi) and Kinley(Coke) were around Rs. 10 or Rs. 12. Jim : In particular, did they avertise themselves as being safer than alternatives? Well yes they surely did say that there water is quite clean but I don't really remember if they included some comparitive analysis. On the top of it rather than feeling sorry all packaged water brands that were tested and failed just as study was released, said that there water is quite safe and they conduct strict tests and the sentence later changed to we follow the Indian standards. This time its the same old story, they again say their cold drinks doesn't contains any posionous stuff. Add to that Pepsi is saying "Pepsi products were the same that were sold everywhere and were cleared by top grade testing." and same for Coke "Coca Cola products were repeatedly tested for safety norms." Taken from here. Now this is the most absurd part. They should say sorry and improve the quality. Why do they have to lie. The same happened for the packaged water thing. I am eagerly waiting for the results of an independent inquiry(if at all set up). As Jim pointed out, I guess that generally corporates are not morally inclined to do something if they have to spend serious money. I guess that's it's more to do with the investment that they will have to make in purifying the water. This case makes me remember Erin Brokowich though probably the companies would'nt have to face much leagal troubles.