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Ethos Water

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Starbucks faced criticism in 2015 for sourcing Ethos water from California during a drought.
– Production was moved to Pennsylvania in May 2015, with water sourced from Naturalle Springs in Greeneville, Tennessee.
– Currently, Premium Waters, Inc. bottles Ethos Water from the Lafayette Spring in Lafayette Township.

– Jessica Harris wrote “Ethics In a Bottle” for Fortune Small Business via in 2007.
– Rob Walker’s article “Big Gulp” was published in The New York Times in 2006.
– Paul Terefenko’s “Stealing Water Day” was featured in Now in 2007. provides information on the Ethos Water Fund.
– Melissa Allison’s article on Starbucks’ environmental impacts was published in the Seattle Times in 2008.

Company Background:
– Ethos Water is an American brand of bottled water founded in 2001 by Peter Thum.
– Thum’s experience in South Africa led to the idea of creating a brand to support safe water programs.
– Jonathan Greenblatt joined Ethos in 2002, and operations began in August 2003.
– The brand, now owned by Starbucks, has granted over $6 million through the Starbucks Foundation for water programs.
– Ethos Water is produced by PepsiCo and Safeways Lucerne brand.

Ownership and Expansion:
Starbucks acquired Ethos Water in 2005 for $8 million.
– The brand remains primarily commercial, with a portion of sales going to charity.
– Ethos bottles are manufactured by PepsiCo but do not contain recycled plastic.
– Ethos Water has inspired other companies like Dynamo Foundation.
– Ethos International was formed to invest funds from the business in safe water programs.

Production and Distribution:
– Ethos Water is currently bottled by Premium Waters, Inc. from the Lafayette Spring in Lafayette Township.
– Production was shifted from California to Pennsylvania in 2015.
– The brand is distributed through various channels, including Starbucks outlets.
– Ethos Water is available in different sizes, with 23.7 oz. being one of the options.
– The brand has partnerships with organizations like Ekaterra for production outside the U.S.

Ethos Water (Wikipedia)

Ethos Water is an American brand of bottled water with a social mission of "helping children get clean water." A Starbucks subsidiary, Ethos began in 2001 when Peter Thum had the idea after working in communities in South Africa that lacked access to clean water. Thum, who was working as consultant for McKinsey & Company at the time, realized the potential to create a bottled water brand to raise awareness and funding for safe water programs. The idea became an obsession for Thum, and he wrote the business plan for Ethos, left McKinsey, and moved to New York in early 2002 to start the venture.

Ethos Water
Company typeSubsidiary
Industryfood industry
Founded2001; 23 years ago (2001)
FounderPeter Thum
Area served
ProductsBottled water
ParentStarbucks (2005-present)
A display of Ethos water

Thum recruited his business school classmate Jonathan Greenblatt to join Ethos in late 2002. They launched operations as a bottled water company in August 2003, and also formed an organization called "Ethos International" to invest funds from the business in safe water programs.

Since only $0.05-0.10 of the retail price ($1.80) goes to charity, the Ethos brand is primarily commercial and therefore a for-profit organization. Nevertheless, as of at least 2009, Ethos, through the Starbucks Foundation, had granted more than $6 million, according to the company, to help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs.

Ethos water is manufactured by PepsiCo and Safeway's Lucerne brand, but unlike other Pepsi products, Ethos bottles do not contain recycled plastic.

In 2005, Starbucks purchased the company for $8 million. Ethos Water has also inspired other companies such as Dynamo Foundation.

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