Business Ethics – BC’s freshwater well threatened by Nestle Waters Canada

According to an article on the Times Colonist, Nestle Waters Canada is able to annually extract over 265 million liters of water from a Fraser Valley well without any expense, due to BC’s non-existent groundwater regulations.

From an outside perspective, Nestle is not going against business ethics by gaining its resources in a law-abiding manner and marketing the product back to the public. Instead, it poses the question of whether Nestle is fulfilling its social responsibility; to extract a reasonable amount of water – given the free nature to do otherwise – from a source that the residents of Fraser Valley heavily rely on for their clean, drinking water.


Photo by Wayne Leidenfrost

Nestle’s decisions thus far correlate to Milton Friedman’s view of social responsibility which stress the value-based management approach of a business, as long as it stays within the parameters of the law. Friedman argues that in order for an executive to make decisions that will inherently benefit the public – sustainable water use in this scenario – it also poses the problem of spending the money of its customers and employees for a cause that the executive sees fit. If Nestle were to forfeit their benefits and offer to pay the government for the quantity of water extracted, it would mean a substantial cut to their annual profit thus a loss of value for their shareholders. Furthermore, Nestle has disregarded Edward Freeman’s “Stakeholder Theory,” as the public – a huge stakeholder – is being heavily undervalued.



News Article:

Milton Friedman’s view:

Edward Freeman’s “Stakeholder Theory”:



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