evian 1L Bottled Water

overall Rating:

2

planets

Sofia Barker
6/22/2021
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Single-use plastic bottles of water are one of many plastic products responsible for leaching microplastics into the ocean and harming wildlife. While many bottles are recyclable, only 23% of the billions of bottles purchased in the U.S. are recycled. The best way to avoid the environmental costs of using single-use bottles is to avoid them altogether and invest in a reusable water bottle. I use my reusable metal bottle the majority of the time, but sometimes I don’t have access to a water fountain and I have no other choice than to buy a plastic water bottle. In these situations, I always opt for Evian’s 1-liter bottle of water. Evian water may look like your average single-use plastic water bottle, but the brand’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact sets this water apart from others. Evian recognizes the countless environmental harms caused by single-use plastic and reduces these harms by funding a variety of projects like tree planting initiatives, research on the impacts of plastics in the ocean, and plastics recycling. Additionally, Evian has recently been certified carbon neutral globally, an impressive feat for a brand that supplies water to more than 100 countries. If you are ever in a situation where you have no choice but to buy a single-use bottle of water, I recommend you opt for Evian over other plastic bottled water brands. 

what it's made of:

1.5

Evian water is bottled at a spring in Évian-les-Bains, France. Rain and snow from the French Alps filter through rock layers for decades, collecting minerals (silica, chlorides, sulfates, and bicarbonates) and electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, potassium), and surface at the spring as natural mineral water. While the water is made entirely from natural sources, Evian’s 1L water bottle is made from PET, a recyclable plastic commonly used to package food and beverages. PET is made from crude oil and natural gas, two fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gas emissions and can pollute aquifers when extracted. The use of PET is certainly better than other types of plastics that are not recyclable, but Evian recognizes that it is unsustainable to continue to rely on petroleum to make a profit. In efforts to reduce the environmental impacts associated with PET, Evian makes its 1-L bottles with 25-50% rPET, or recycled PET. Recycled PET increases the circularity of Evian’s business, and Evian aims to make all its bottles from 100% rPET by 2050. Using recycled plastics rather than virgin plastics reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 71% and energy consumption by 79%, illustrating Evian’s commitment to being a low-impact brand. In addition, Evian has invested over $5 million in the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund, a fund that facilitates the recovery and recycling of plastic. This investment supports the recycling of Evian’s own bottles and hopefully will increase the amount of PET that Evian can recover to meet its goal of 100% rPET bottles. It is promising to see a brand using its profits to encourage a circular economy; however, this investment does not change the fact that the product is meant to be used only once. 

how it's made:

2.5

Evian’s water is made through the natural processes of precipitation and percolation. In order to maintain the health of the Évian-les-Bains spring, Evian established the Association for the Protection of the Impluvium of Evian Mineral Water (APIEME). APIEME brings together many stakeholders to support the long-term preservation of Evian’s spring water by protecting wetlands and encouraging locals to practice sustainable agriculture. Integrating the voices of local communities tells me that Evian actually cares about creating a positive impact. In 2020, Evian achieved the global Carbon Neutral certification from the Carbon Trust. This means that the brand releases net-zero carbon emissions across all of its operations. All carbon emissions associated with the life cycle of Evian’s products are both minimized through stringent policies and offset through investments in carbon-sequestering projects. Water bottles are typically made through the following processes: crude oil and natural gas are extracted from underground sources, compounds within the extracted fossil fuels are combined to form PET pellets, and these pellets are heated and molded into water bottles. Evian reduces carbon emissions associated with these processes by powering its bottling facilities with 100% renewable energy. Evian has also installed a methanizer that turns organic matter from nearby farms into fertilizer and biogas. Any emissions that cannot be minimized through management policies are offset by investing in initiatives like the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, a project that plants millions of mangrove trees, employs locals, and supports the ecosystem in which trees are planted. Overall, Evian’s water and packaging are made in ways that protect natural systems and uplift local communities.

who makes it:

2

Evian is a bottled water brand owned by Danone, a European-based food and beverage corporation. I first assumed that Danone would have a bad reputation in terms of environmental performance like many other large corporations, but it has actually made great efforts to become sustainable. Danone is currently working on certifying all of its branches and associated brands as a B Corporations. As a result of these efforts, Evian’s North American branch was certified as a B-Corp in 2019. If you haven’t heard of it, B Corporations are businesses that meet a high standard of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Danone’s website reflects the qualities of a B Corp - the site includes easily accessible reports and data about the corporation’s environmental impact, financials, and employee satisfaction, and it points out past unsustainable practices that it is actively working to change. In addition, Danone has set ambitious goals regarding economic circularity, gender equality in the workplace, and regenerative agriculture. These goals are based on Danone’s values rather than a greenwashing scheme because the corporation has already shown real change. I am excited to see what innovations Danone develops next in order to make all of its many brands sustainable because there is still much left to be done. Evian sets the standard compared to Danone’s other brands, which is why I am holding off from giving Danone a higher rating. Danone must continue along its journey to reduce its environmental impact before I can deem it a truly sustainable corporation.