||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (June 2013)|
|All values in milligrams per liter (mg/l)|
FIJI Water is a brand of bottled water derived, bottled, and shipped from Fiji. It is available in 330ml, 500ml, 1 liter and 1.5 liter bottles. According to marketing materials, the water comes from an artesian aquifer in Viti Levu. FIJI Water is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
FIJI Water was started in 1996 by a Canadian businessman named David Gilmour, the company originally called Nature's Best. In 1995, the company's name was changed to Natural Waters of Viti Ltd. It is one-time partner in Clairtone Sound Corporation Limited. Stewart and Lynda Rae Resnick (also affiliated with Teleflora, POM Wonderful, Suterra, and Paramount Agribusiness) are the current owners.
In late 2010, FIJI Water acquired Justin Vineyards & Winery of Paso Robles, California, in an effort to spread their brand over a wider variety of products. It is best known for producing California style Bordeaux and Syrah wines distributed throughout the world.
FIJI Water bottles water from Fiji and ships it overseas.
In 2007–2008, disputes with the Fiji government over export duties led to legal cases, impounded shipments and a self-imposed industry-wide shutdown of Fijian water bottlers. The government eventually dropped its proposed 20-cent per liter tax. In December 2008, FIJI Water laid off 40 percent of its staff due to weakening sales.
In November 2010, Fiji deported FIJI Water director of external affairs, David Roth, for "interfering in Fiji's domestic affairs," leading to the resignation of interim defence and immigration minister, Ratu Epeli Ganilau. Shortly afterwards, an increase in the tax from one-third of a Fiji cent per liter to 15 cents per liter for producers over 15 million liters/month which at that point in time applied only to FIJI Water, led the company to shut down its Fiji Island offices on 29 November 2010. This raise was to raise FIJI Water's tax contribution on to the Fiji Government on the F$150 million (AUD 82 million) they exported each year from F$500,000 to F$22.6 million. The next step for the brand was thought to be a move to New Zealand. However, after threats from the government to give the well to another company, FIJI Water announced its intent to resume operations and accept the new tax levy.
In December 2010, FIJI Water's Fiji plant had 400 employees. FIJI Water has also established a foundation to provide water filters to rural Fiji communities, many of which lack access to clean water.
Controversy with Cleveland
In 2006, FIJI Water ran an advertisement stating, "The label says Fiji because it's not bottled in Cleveland". This was taken as an insult by the city's water department. The Cleveland Water Department ran tests comparing a bottle of FIJI Water to Cleveland tap water and some other national bottled brands. FIJI Water reportedly contained 6.31 micrograms of arsenic per litre, whereas the tap water of Cleveland contained none.
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- [dead link]
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- Cleveland Takes Offense at Fiji Water Ad, The Washington Post, July 20, 2006
- FIJI Water
- Mother Jones exposé of the Fiji Water fraud
- Ask Pablo – "Cost of Fiji Water" – an article which triggered controversy