We were instructed as a public interest lawyer last week by Jane Azzopardi, a local land holder at Mangrove Mountain, regarding what she regards as irregularities in decision making over Coca Cola bottling plant.
By a genuine coincidence Ian Cohen MP (Green Party) has issued this today, and notwithstanding the technical glitch by way of correction, Coca Cola have some big questions to answer (see further below):
Media Release from Ian Cohen MLC
21st May 2008
NSW Government joins in Coca Cola greenwash
Please note the corrections in paragraph 2 of this release. Coca Cola
Amatil are drawing on the aquifer at Mangrove Mountain, however the
company state that the percentage of the resource they are directly
responsible for extracting is 1 – 2% of the total water allocation.
Please note also that Coca Cola’s bottling ratio for water production
is 1.3 litres of water to make 1 finished litre of bottled water. Our
initial release claimed incorrectly that Coca Cola use 2.4 litres in the
bottling process to produce 1 litre of water. The 2.4 litre figure cited
in our original release refers to an analysis of the consumption of
bottled water over the product’s life, conducted by National Campaign
Coordinator for the Boomerang Alliance, Dave West. This figure refers to
water consumed in the packaging, production and disposal of the
The Minister for Emergency Services and Water - Nathan Rees – has
taken time out of his schedule to visit Coca Cola - a major donor - and
present them with a 5-star rating for water management.
“It’s quite ironic that Coca Cola have been given recognition for
water efficiency at one of their plants in Sydney yesterday. An analysis
of the consumption of bottled water over the product’s life, reveals
that at least 2.4 litres of water is used for every litre of bottled
water consumed,” said Upper House Greens MP Ian Cohen.
“The Department of Environment and Climate Change – of which Nathan
Rees was temporarily the Minister for – banned bottled water use
within their department at the end of last year citing the environmental
costs of production, transportation, refrigeration and disposal.
“DECC calculated that about 200ml of oil is used to produce each
litre bottle of water, including in the plastic, transportation and
refrigeration. More than 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions enter
the atmosphere each year from the consumption of 250 million litres of
bottled water in Australia – equivalent to the emissions from 13,000
“Clean Up Australia claim that 2.7 million tonnes of plastic are used
to bottle water around the world annually and that Australians buy
118,000 tonnes of plastic drink bottles a year but only recycle 35 per
cent of them. Thanks in part to Coca Cola’s ongoing opposition to
Container Deposit Legislation, the remaining 76,700 tonnes either goes
to landfill or ends up as litter.
“Dave West from the Boomerang Alliance says that drinking tap water
instead of bottled for just one year, will produce 75% less waste,
consume 85% less energy and will reduce water consumption by 58%.
Ian Cohen recently called for a moratorium on all political donations
from beverage companies, particularly whilst a national review of the
viability of a container deposit scheme is underway. Coca Cola have
donated over $900,000 to the ALP over the last nine years.
“Voluntary waste management schemes have consistently failed to
achieve targets for recycling and resource recovery. It’s time for
container deposit legislation,” said Mr Cohen.
Further Information: Ian Cohen: 0409 989 466 or Nic Clyde on 0417 742 754
Minister Nathan Rees, NSW Government
Our instructions are that Gosford Council are contesting giant corporation Coca Cola's right to permanent approval of 66 Megalitres of water a year on the basis that the company has not undertaken a court ordered 2 year trial by Commissioner Tim Moore, at that level of extraction intensity. CC have instead only extracted 37 Megalitres (on average) which sort of defeats the purpose of the trial base line data and monitoring plan of the Land & Environment Court.
As we understand it CC and Gosford Council have already drafted development consent conditions for the full 66 Megalitre water extraction without having really done the trial set out by the court.
That's a bit sly to our ear. It's suggestive CC don't want a real trial at full extraction rates because they know they will never get full approval at that rate with true baseline data for that intensity. Indeed we are told by a local that after 2 months of pumping at a rate of some 66 Megalitres the water table plummeted below the 7 metre cap to 10 metres hence the company backed off, but now it's game on.
We have learned that Peter Campbell a semi retired local business man and critic of Coca Cola and the process in Gosford Council planning section side stepping the Court regime has spoken on 2GB Sydney radio yesterday for about 15 minutes about this state of affairs as a member of Mangrove Mountain District Community Group.
Especially the perceived inconsistency of Minister Rees's green friendly endorsement of CC in light of the concerns over an insufficient trial potentially impacting the livelihood of other agricultural business people in the Mangrove Mountain area.
What on earth is actually going on here Sally? Exploiting the temporary upswing in coastal rainfall before La Nino drought conditions bites again to avoid strict conditions from the Land & Environment Court? Say it isn't so Sally.
Loane ... Coke's new spin doctor in chief.
Photo: Fiona-Lee Quimby
Recent media on related topics here:
7.30 Report - 19/09/2005: Stoush brewing over spring water
23-24.2.08 Message on a bottle labelled as greenwash - Environment - smh.com.au
23.2.08 Return to sender, or many unhappy returns? Sydney Morning Herald
24.4.07 Disaster in a bottle - Environment - smh.com.au
18.4.08 www.smh.com.au - Bottle refund inquiry but no plastic bag deal
23.4.08 Everest of containers must stop, Cr Ingrid Strewe Mayor of Waverley in Wentworth Courier p36
22.3.08 Hard to swallow misleading criticism of bottled water industry ... Letters , SMH
25.3.08 Bottled water: the new social poison? Julian Lee, Marketing Reporter, p1 Sydney Morning Herald
19.8.07 The real cost of bottled water - National - theage.com.au By Jason Koutsoukis
23 Feb 2008 Water way to earn the big bucks, 2 page feature Sydney Daily Telegraph