What Is Water Worth? Nestlé Walks a Fine Line

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: February 27, 2015
Length: 12 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-415

Core Disciplines: International Business, Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Operations Management/Supply Chain, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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Description

Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestlé S.A., is confronted with an Internet firestorm after a comment made by his predecessor, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, in a 2005 interview resurfaces. In the interview Brabeck-Letmathe calls the human right to water an “extreme solution.” Bulcke must make recommendations to lay the foundation for the company’s future direction relevant to water use at its shareholder meeting the next day. The main questions facing him are: How should Nestlé frame its approach to water resource management? And, what type of public relations campaign should Nestlé engage in to counter the negative perception of its water rights policy? In their reading and discussion of the case, students are asked to outline the implications of water being deemed a human right as well as develop and defend a corporate water strategy.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Develop and defend a corporate water strategy.
  • Explain why water stress is a material concern for a growing number of companies around the world.
  • Contrast different approaches to dealing with water-related concerns.
  • Outline the implications of water being deemed a human right.