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Report by David Myers
April 30th, 2006
HIST 416 “Pacific Dreams, Pacific Empires”
Professor Del Testa Bucknell University In today’s age of nutrition obsession health fanatics are driving down the demand for sugar-loaded drinks and bottled water is quickly taking its place as a popular commodity and beverage. According to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), in 2005 the total bottled water volume reached an all time high of over 7.5 billion gallons, which is a 10.7 percent increase over 2004.1 Investors are flocking to this market, but to distinguish oneself as a prominent company specializing in bottled water, carving out a niche in the industry is critical. That is why FIJI Water, when entering the game in 1995, realized that the answer would be found in an “Iconic Square Bottle,” separating themselves from the rest of the pack.2 This distinctive square-shaped bottle feels unordinary in the hand of the consumer, invigorating an instinctive imprint on the consumer’s mind. FIJI Water’s success is largely derived from the impressionable shape and label of the bottle, as well as its association with the island nation it borrows its name from. With a unique back panel graphic of an energized waterfall and idyllic scenery set behind a front panel graphic of tropical flowers, the product’s design is aimed to transplant the consumer to the romantic, heavenly and tranquil Fiji Islands. The label implies a sense of status and an association with what is natural, illustrated in the gold borders and nature-inspired artwork, consequently appealing to a wide array of patrons from the Hollywood elite to the granola-munching outdoorsmen. FIJI Water is proudly imported from the Republic of the Fiji Islands, and the back of the bottle is not shy in boasting this fact, as well as the fact that FIJI Water is PR Newswire US, “Bottled Water: More Than Just a Story About Sales Growth,” 13 April 2006. 2 Los Angeles Times, 5 October 2005.
it does not have contact with the “outside world”.4 As this water is encapsulated within the rock.” FIJI Water. real estate and hospitality. Internet. July 2003.com/artesian_water. with an initial investment of $15 million. 200 years before the Industrial Revolution. unlike spring or glacier water. B1. as it is literally “untouched by man. 16 August 2004.html.” Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management 9. who before bottling this artesian water earned a fortune in gold mining. accessed 3 May 1999. “What Is Artesian Water?” FIJI Water Online [home page on-line]. is classified as “artesian” water.5 In 1995. a heavy weight contender in the bottled water industry. FIJI Water was established under the name Natural Waters of Viti Limited and in the Republic of Fiji it still operates under this name. available from http://fijiwater. it is brought directly from the source to the bottle having never touching the hands of man.” Wall Street Journal.7 It was his hotel investments that FIJI Water.” Pacific Magazine. “What Is Artesian Water?”. the water is free from “environmental pollutants and other contamination” that plague alternative water sources. 5 FIJI Water. “Natural Waters of Viti Limited—Pioneering a New Industry in the Fiji Islands.com/artesian_water.”3 This water within the massive aquifer is said to be rich with mineral deposits of rainfall from over 450 years ago.6 The product concept is described as being the “brain-child” of Canadian-born David Harrison Gilmour.supposedly one of the most natural waters. 2 (2003): 37. no. 4 Matelita Ragogo. Much like the unspoiled environment of an isolated island. which is a chamber of water confined within impermeable rock walls of a primordial volcanic crater. http://fijiwater. “Fiji Water Making Waves: Pristine Taste and Savvy Marketing Are Driving Fiji’s Biggest Export. “Water Works: How Fiji Brand Got Hip to Sip. 3 3 . in this case it is nestled at the “edge of a primitive rainforest. 7 Besty McKay and Cynthia Cho. is extracted from an artesian aquifer. Artesian water.html 6 Jim McMaster and Jan Nowak.
described as “adaptable.” is incredibly favorable to foreign investment. “Fiji 2006 Investment Climate. which Viti Limited has profited from.ftib. 10 U. “Good Reasons to Invest.” U. 80% of the workforce has had at least a secondary school education.org.S. productive.8 The high-quality water that Gilmour sought was located with the help of geologists from another one of Gilmour’s ventures.11 The Government of Fiji has established several incentives encouraging economic development within Fiji. The Reserve Bank of Fiji offers incentives to those investing in Fiji as well as exporting products from Fiji. The Fiji labor force. Department of State Online [home page on-line]. 8 9 4 . Gilmour established Natural Waters of Viti Limited with the concept to bottle natural artesian water in Fiji and market it globally as a “unique and exotic product”.gov/e/eb/ifd/2006/63533.fj/invest-fiji-reasons. For instance pre-shipment or post-shipment McMaster and Nowak. industrially disciplined and English speaking…with competitive wage rates. Internet. Having had prior investments in the islands.” Fiji Islands Trade & Investment Bureau Online [home page on-line]. available from http://www.S.state. available from http://www.10 The U.cfm. Barrick Gold Company.htm. 11 Ibid. Gilmour certainly was attracted to Fiji for the many advantageous reasons for investing within the country. Fiji Islands Trade & Investment Bureau. as well as geologists provided by the Fijian Government. Internet. Department of State recognizes the efforts taken by the Fijian Government to attract foreign investment and attributes much of this to the need for new industries within Fiji due to the current decline in reliance of the previously celebrated staple products: sugar and textiles. Department of State. accessed 27 April 2006.brought him to the Fiji Islands when he founded the celebrated and picturesque Wakaya Island Resort on Gilmour’s personal island.9 Due to the strong educational system within Fiji.. 37. accessed 27 April 2006.S.
coconut oil.15 At the outset of acquiring the land Viti Limited paid $14.”12 The staple of this product would certainly be its home in the Pacific Island nation of Fiji.gov. The Native Land consists of 83% of the land in Fiji and the indigenous Fijians reserve the right to this land. molasses. is subleased from the Yaqara Pastoral Company.fj/cgibin/cms/exec/view.14 The land. 13 Ibid. Internet. garments. 14 U. “Fiji 2006 Investment Climate. Press Releases. which may not be sold. “Export Incentives. timber. textiles. which is Crown Land. processed fish and tuna fish. which is separated from the ocean by 1. in the Fijian archipelago that makes up 322 islands. Crown Lands are the 10% owned by the government and the remaining land. Land in Fiji is split up amongst three categories: Native Land.org. would be far from the sandy beach resort setting of the founders other investment in Fiji. The Yaqara Range of the Nakauvadra Mountains. and Freehold Land. but the traditional landowners are split up amongst five Fijian villages within the Yaqara basin.ftib.cgi/48/4074. gold.fj/fijiexport-incentives. hosts the “virgin ecosystem” that lends to the pristine taste of the water. But the heart of the product. is open to private purchase.financing are offered to approved and eligible borrowers.fiji. available from http://www. (Janurary 25.800 to Fiji’s Director of Lands.” 15 Fiji Government Online.500 km. Viti Levu. 2005) http://www.cfm. Freehold Land. Government Ministers and French Ambassador Visit Yaqara. Department of State. a government-owned cattle ranch.S. which comprise of “sugar.” Fiji Islands Trade & Investment Bureau Online [home page on-line]. Crown Land. 12 5 . Exporters who are ineligible are those producing traditional exports. and Fiji Islands Trade & Investment Bureau. accessed 27 April 2006. the water.13 The first bottling plant was built here in 1996 at the location of the artesian water source. The source of the water is high up in the mountains on the northeast part of the largest island.
2003. FIJI Water employs 35 staff that manages the business aspect of the product—marketing and logistics. As if the product were an actor. 2005:Questions and Replies.pays an annual rate of $6. 2005).aspx?hansardID=333&viewtype=full 17 Ragogo. Colorado. effective distribution. which appears on the front of the bottles. 45.000. 21 Ibid. 9th March. 2.16 The long-term lease of the 20-acres of Native Land that the plant sits on was highly endorsed by the Government of Fiji. 9th Parliament. 18 McKay and Cho. landing it key rolls in movies and television shows. 20 Ibid. Gilmour invested $48 million more of his own money “to get every detail right. Parliament of Fiji Islands.19 The sole expatriate at Natural Waters of Viti Limited is bottling plant general manager Ian Lincolne.17 After the 99-year lease was signed. and image-creating publicity. which actively supports international investment within Fiji.”18 Natural Waters of Viti Ltd. implied fashion. The name FIJI Water. 19 McMaster and Nowak.parliament. Daily Hansard. premium product pricing. has 93 employees of which 84 come from the five villages and the plant only employs one expatriate.gov. FIJI Water’s own agent works hard to find placement for the identifiable bottle. innovative packaging.fj/hansard/viewhansard. 42. is a sister company of Natural Waters of Viti Limited and was established for marketing purposes within the US market.”21 There are no FIJI Water television commercials or other explicit advertising campaigns in major cities. however FIJI Water has marketed its product in a less conventional. 45. (Suva. Fiji.20 The CEO of FIJI Water is Doug Carlson who has brought FIJI Water to the forefront of the US bottled water market through “unique product positioning. FIJI Water is based in Denver. http://www. 16 6 . Meeting of the Senate.
the choice to remove the trademark waterfall imagery from the inside back panel was because the company did not wish to mislead the consumers by implying that the water had come from an above-ground source that would take away from the CNN “Market Call” Transcript “David Haffenreffer Interviews Doug Carlson. “2004 Ace Award Presentation to Fiji Water. accessed 19 April 2006. FIJI Water appeals to those concerned with organic.S. Viti Limited was able to effectively make the ‘Pacific Leap’. creating a gratifying. 23 McKay and Cho.costarring alongside some of the finest actors in Hollywood. Mr.” claimed that “the enhancements to the bottle will emphasize FIJI Water’s unique artesian source”. Department of State. FIJI Water LLC have allowed for this leap to be sustained. available from http://www. environmentally sound products. A Los Angeles Times article unveiling the “new look for iconic square bottle. Gilmour has described the product as Fiji’s “little square ambassadors”. living up to its reputation as a company concerned with larger social issues instead of just financial interests. practical bridge that simultaneously benefits the two countries. Innovative Use of Back Panel and New Graphics Showcase Water’s Purity and Fijian Origin.” Los Angeles Times.gov/secretary/former/powell/37731. In the fall of 2005 FIJI Water showcased a new design for its water bottles.” U.24 By giving the consumer the realization of the beauty of artesian water. 22 7 . and the achievements made by the U.25 In fact. 25 “FIJI Water Unveils New Look for Iconic Square Bottle.S. B1. 5 October.S. FIJI Water. 2005.23 FIJI Water can attribute much of its success to the country that hosts its water source. health-oriented.” 19 August 2004.22 FIJI Water has also marketed its product while simultaneously humanizing its image through sponsoring charity events. Internet. LLC.htm. 2 24 U. Department of State Online [home page on-line].state. CEO. By linking itself to the Pacific.
Once the water is brought into the factory through pipes the three different sizes of bottles— 0.com/FAQ/Water_Labeling_Classifications. 28 The Jenkins Group.5 liters—are filled directly from the pipes with the water. The procedure of bottling this water is fairly straightforward. allowing the title and design to be at the core of the advertising campaign. Internet. The company is also fortunate in that bottling water is a fairly simple process involving limited machinery.co. available from http://www. Shipped to you”. all of which attempt to inform the consumer of the distinct qualities of the artesian water FIJI Water prides itself in bottling as well as the exclusivity of its origin.0 and 1.26 The new imagery.asp#answer1. “Water Labeling Classifications: Artesian Water. “Our Company Awards. accessed 30 April 2006. The water is easy to extract. is meant to convey the untapped.27 The novel label has won several awards and is highly praised within the international label industry.” Fine Waters Online [home page on-line].5.” The Jenkins Group Online [home page on-line].purity associated with the artesian source. the layer of rock around the water pressurizes the water so that mechanical pumps are not necessary.finewaters. 26 27 8 .html. 29 Fine Waters. Until you drink it”.jenkinsgroup. “What is artesian water?” and “Bottled in Fiji.29 Unlike many other bottled water manufacturers there is no filtration process involved at the production plant of Natural Waters of Viti Ibid. There are four versions of the outside back panel. “Untouched by man. Ibid. accessed 30 April 2006. Internet. 1. available from http://www. the water is extracted from the ‘bore-hole’ and brought through a pipe to the factory.nz/our_company_awards. which contains groundplants. These labels are titled: “What ecosystem is your water from?”. below-surface feature of this artesian water.28 FIJI Water has not only been blessed with the product’s gift of being able to sell itself.
Internet. “Natural Waters of Viti Limited—Pioneering a New Industry in the Fiji Islands. commonly preferred over PVC when molding bottles in the bottled water industry. 33 WWF. Internet.34 The only available information found on Golden Manufacturers is in an article from Fiji Times that states the Centre for Development of Enterprise (CDE).net/petplanet/petplanet/insider/2002/09/articles/bottlemaking1.” Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management 9. with the water filtering through layers of basalt. this is due to its lightweight. The PET resin as well as the bottle caps are imported from Australia.shtml.35 McMaster & Nowak. “Private Sector Benefits from CDE.” 28 March 2006.pdf. which has been very influential to Fiji’s private sector. accessed 29 April 2006. PET resin. 2 (2003): 38. “Bottled Water: Understanding a Social Phenomenon. 37 Fine Waters. available from http://www.” PETplanet Insider Online [home page on-line]. “Bottled in Fiji Designed in Canada.” WWF Online [home page on-line]. no.30 It is said that engineers designing water treatment plants for municipal water systems have begun to attempt to imitate the natural filtration process of FIJI Water’s artesian aquifer. available from http://assets. has provided this company with substantial aid. sandstone and silica. available from http://hbmedia.32 PET is a type of plastic. “FIJI Water.Limited in Yaqara as the artesian source allows “Mother Nature” to takeover this process.panda.31 While the bottles are produced in-house. accessed 28 April 2006. 35 Fiji Times.asp. the caps. transparency and malleable properties. accessed 30 April 2006. 32 PETplanet Insider.” Fine Waters Online [home page on-line]. 34 Jim McMaster and Jan Nowak.finewaters. Internet.org/downloads/bottled_water. it is environmentally a better choice as it can easily be recycled.33 The bottles are ready for transportation after they have been packed in cartons that are also produced in Fiji by Golden Manufacturers.com/Bottled_Water/Fiji/Index. 30 31 9 . while the labels are supplied by a New Zealand company: Jenkins Labels. and labels all are imported.
Husky also did this. 39 Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. “On An Island Paradise. “Husky Factory Planning Unit Seeks Customers Worldwide..”36 The help of a factory-planning group within Husky allowed Viti Limited was able to manufacture the plastic plant in Yaqare without harming the “virgin ecosystem”. 17 November 2003. 38 Heather Todd..ca/abouthusky/index. Because of the environment.pdf. and the need for continued purity. it was no easy task to build such a plant: “The challenge was building a water-bottling plant with in-house bottle production.” Bolton. 15 January 2005. Husky is “the world’s largest brand name supplier of injection molding equipment and services to the plastics industry. Ian Lincolne applauded Husky in their design concept that has “allowed us [Fiji Water] to seamlessly integrate additional production capabilities without disrupting current operations.”39 And Viti Limited Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. Gilmour. Internet. 37 Bill Bregar.” Husky Online [home page on-line].” Beverage World.” Husky Online [home page online]. 36 10 . “2002 Annual Report.Instrumental to the production and manufacturing success of Viti Limited is a Canadian company. accessed 29 April 2006. a proponent of environmental protection within the corporate world.”37 The remoteness of the location meant that a diesel power generator would need to be installed since there was no power grid. Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. Luxembourg and China. Internet. in an environmentally sensitive area atop an aquifer. Ontario. available from http://cache.husky. is the ability for the factory to expand without limiting production. accessed 29 April 2006.html. also designed by Husky. Canada. “About Husky. 13. available from http://www.husky. did everything from: “soundproofing to using renewable energy sources” in the construction of the plant. Fiji Water Sets a Standard of Social Responsibility. with manufacturing sites in the United States.38 Another innovative feature of the factory. 10.ca/pdf/2002_annual_reportv2_en.
” Hoover’s. In 1999 the 17. not advertisement. ft and this enormous endeavor required over 90% of the materials and equipment necessary to be imported from four continents. On December 2nd.COM.” Hoover’s Online Report Builder [home page on-line]. 43. in 1985. “Bottled in Fiji Designed in Canada. ft.000 sq. has not heavily focused its efforts on advertisement. Within Roll. which was acquired by Roll’s current CEO Stewart Resnick and his wife. 2004 Roll International Corporation.certainly took advantage of this capability. Lynda. in a 2000 interview. Martha Stewart Living. PETplanet Insider. POM Wonderful. 40 41 11 . Roll International is a very prominent company. distribution strategy has been key to the success of this company. FIJI Water would continue its operation with its existing management team. Viti Limited’s sister company.40 This is evidence of FIJI Water’s almost immediate power to penetrate the global bottled water industry and create rapid demand. a privately held company based in Los Angeles.com/subscribe/co/factsheet.000 sq. Mr. “Roll International Corporation. although not terribly ingenious. Hallmark.41 While FIJI Water. Teleflora. 42 Ibid. available from http://premium. Internet. with some of its holdings being Paramount Farms. is maximizing shelf-space. At the time that Roll bought FIJI Water it was the second largest selling imported water brand in the United States. and 1-800FLOWERS. AgraQuest. Distribution. In regards to this. is what has been paramount to FIJI Water’s rapidly increasing revenues. Inc. The “centerpiece” of Roll International was once The Franklin Mint a large collectibles firm.42 One strategy FIJI Water has implemented. accessed 3 March 2006. announced that it acquired FIJI Water.hoovers. facility expanded an extra 90.xhtml?ID=40398.
fijiwater. South Korea and Indonesia. The water is also available for home delivery within the United States through its website at http://www.44 Coca-Cola Amatil “is the principal Coca-Cola licensee in Australia.” Coca-Cola Amatil Online [home page on-line]. Canada.asp.Carlson noted that.jsp? supplier_id=247&destination_url=. located in Suva.43 When the cartons of water are loaded onto boats in the outdated ports of Suva and Lautoka on Viti Levu.46 In July 2002.47 Since its first appearance on the US and P.7 million came from exporting Fijian mineral water. accessed 28 April 2006.S. Internet. including Australia. accessed 4 April 2006. Ibid. available from http://www. New Jersey and Miami. Viti Limited uses Coca-Cola Amatil.007 milion. you create perception in the minds of the consumers that your brand of water is a solid brand”. “Fiji Water Creating Waves in the United States. distribution centers: Los Angeles. and specialty stores as well as restaurants and other venues throughout the United States and in particular international markets. “Fiji Water Travels. Fiji’s main exports earned F$1. Shipments to Canada arrive in Vancouver and are mainly distributed within that region of Canada.” Pacific 43 44 12 . Mexico.net/catalog/jsp/buyer_registration.jsp? _fnet_catalog_id=81%26_section_id=261 .. 45 Coca-Cola Amatil. Internet. grocery. “Home Delivery” FIJI Water Online [home page on-line]. of which F$24. Yavala. 46 FIJI Water. 47 Robert Keith-Reid.com/. available from https://www. 43.” Fiji Times Weekend. Papua New Guinea. they are either destined to one of three major U. Business 5. 18 November 2000.ccamatil. Fiji. the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.com/about_cca. “when you have more space.45 FIJI Water can be found in a number of retail. For the water that is sold within Fiji.” producing and distributing carbonated and non-carbonated beverages in Australia as well as New Zealand./products/index. “About CCA. convenience. to distribute cartons of FIJI Water.fijiwater. with a popular “perks” club for frequent customers.
as Ratu Lalabalavu explained. However. It is part of their being. Ratu Naiqama Tawake Lalabalavu” WINNE Online [home page on-line].48 What is important is whether or not Viti Limited and FIJI Water are taking in the concerns and wellbeing of those whose land they are leasing and whether or not native tradition and custom is being respected.htm. available from http://www.Canadian market. presumably those not employed by Viti Limited or directly benefiting from the company. 13 . Internet. the native Fijian’s deep seeded cultural connection to the land has also proved troublesome for the company. with the square bottles popping up in stores and venues across the continental U. In the wake of the 2000 coup. “Fijians do not see land as a commodity or something that can be traded. In October of 2004 Colin Powell presented FIJI Water with the Secretary of State’s 2004 Award for Corporate Excellence. July 2002. consumption of FIJI Water has skyrocketed. It is a part of their family. 49 World Investment News. The following month one of the largest freighters ever to land in Fiji arrived with new equipment to meet the rapidly rising demand of FIJI Water.com/topinterviews/naiqama.”49 Because of this FIJI Water and Viti Limited have given the locals the respect they deserve and has offered financial and social incentives to the local villagers. 25 November 2004. it is an important part of their life and is part of their heritage. the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources of the Republic of the Fiji Islands.” Fiji Times. “Interview with Hon. some local villagers. This new 88-ton machine was expected to boost the production of FIJI Water by nearly 100 percent allowing the factory to produce 12 bottles per second. accessed 2 April 2006.winne. In a 2002 interview with Ratu Lalabalavu. 48 “’Huge Demand’ Sees Fiji Water Bottler Boost Output. claimed.S. attempted to takeover the plant. This takeover was Magazine.
“Hospital Thanks Water Supplier. 2003).” 9 April 2005. particularly the Indo-Fijians. 50 14 .not justified legally. along with respect local custom through many meetings with local chiefs.”50 British Colonial Officials asserting the native Fijians natural right to the land. Viti Limited taken great strides to hire locally. set up The Native Lands Commission and Native Lands Trust Board when Fiji was first colonized. and subsequently denying foreigners. Law and Empire in the Pacific Fiji and Hawaii (Santa Fe. The fickle land issues have forced Viti Limited and other foreign investors to be careful with how the approach issues regarding the land. but Viti Limited and FIJI Water have also poured money back into the community through establishing schools and achieving other humanitarian goals. Viti Limited has not only worked with the local villagers. the Fijian Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources spoke of economic goals: “There is a need for us to develop our economic base so there is a need for us to explore other possible areas that have the potential to take off economically and Sally Engle Merry and Donald Brenneis. 51 Fiji Times. In 2005 Natural Waters of Viti Limited donated “essential assistance” through its quadrilateral bottles to a Fijian hospital facing water shortages.. NM: Oxford. eds. adhering to Fijian custom. has been a motivator in Fijian policy making. but to an “innate relationship with the land that transcends any alienation of the land consequent upon vesting it in the Native Land Trust Board.51 The respective companies. of the entitlement to the land. have respected the heritage and importance of family in Fijian culture. In the same 2002 interview. with other companies like Aqua Fiji investing in Fijian bottled water. but has also carefully complied with the national government. and inspired a gold rush like atmosphere in the craze to strike it rich in the mineral water industry. provide environmental safety and preservation.
54 Bruce Mohl. receiving two thumbs up. 2005. 2005 press release.53 However. According to an October.55 It can be speculated that the Fijian Government. We have to shift away from the sugar.800 colony-forming units. the lab results did not get the same praise.” Los Angeles Times. A test was conducted to check whether conditions were present within the waters that would lead to bacteria growth. FIJI Water has become a feisty and successful company within the international bottled water industry. there is possibility that it denotes a sanitation problem at the plant in Yaqara.these are areas that we are looking at: underground water business and mining. The recommended maximum is 500 colony-forming units per milliliter. Men’s Health Magazine. 55 Ibid 52 53 15 .54 While these alarming levels do not necessarily indicate a health risk. B1.”52 The success of mineral water sales. Innovative Use of Back Panel and New Graphics Showcase Water’s Purity and Fijian Origin. 1. and while FIJI Water was favorable in the taste test. mineral water brings modernity and shows development in Fiji’s export industry. Breaking away from the stereotypical colonial export products of sugar and coconuts. “Water Wars. have allowed for the Republic of Fiji to gain revenue in markets previously unknown to the small island nation. Fiji Water “is the fastest-growing super-premium bottled water” and has received premier ratings amongst bottled water taste tests conducted by the likes of Cook’s Illustrated Buying Magazine. particularly those of Viti Limited. developing better plant sanitation regulations and legislation relevant to the emerging bottled water Ibid “FIJI Water Unveils New Look for Iconic Square Bottle. The Boston Globe did a taste test along with a lab analysis of several bottled waters. 5 October. 18 September 2005.” Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. FIJI Water had an estimated 1. and Boca Raton Magazine.
net/pina/pinadefault2. Ratu Naiqama Tawake Lalabalavu.” Pacific Magazine Online [home page on-line].” The feasibility of such a project was not recognized by many trying to make it rich in bottled water and similar sectors. Ratu Naiqama Tawake Lalabalvu. “this is a fairly new development for us here in Fiji and we are still drawing up legislation.winne. in 2005. it “was like a gold rush.” WINNE Online [home page on-line]. but was unable to offer further information because the “matter is subject to potential litigation involving one of its overseas suppliers. “Interview with Hon.pacificmagazine.htm. Internet. “Fiji Water Consignment Fails Quality Test. 57 World Investment News. Natural Waters of Viti Limited recognized this problem in a routine test. it was reported that container loads of FIJI Water were declared unfit for consumption and take to a waste recycling plant. and guidelines. In a 2005 brief in the Pacific Magazine. can lower these high amounts of colony-forming units through inspections and guidelines. the success of Viti Limited was not shared by most of its predecessors. However. However this could also be the fault of third parties involved in the process.industry in Fiji.php?urlpinaid=15361.57 However. As Hon. available from http://www. due to the success of FIJI Water and an expected 10 million cases of water to be exported that Pacific Magazine. available from http://www. accessed 17 April 2006. accessed 17 April 2006.58 The Minister also said that the concept of water quality and extraction of water is new to Fiji and the government will have to develop this area in the future. Ratu Lalabalvu explained.com/topinterviews/naiqama. Internet. After the success of Natural Waters of Viti Limited everyone hopped on the bottled-water-bandwagon in Fiji. Hon. 58 Ibid. 56 16 .56 This illustrates the difficulty of production when various aspects of the product are being pooled from a variety of countries.” explained Fiji’s Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources.
26. “Government Moves to Protect Multi-Million-Dollar Water Entity.legislation.ilo. where all objections must be heard by the Minister.ilo. The garment industry.year. in accordance with the Wages Councils Act.35 (May 2002). Department of State Online [home page on-line].” [home page on-line]. however there is a wages council for the garment industry. on of Fiji’s larger industries. Currently there is no wages council for the bottled water industry.state.S.61 The International Labor Organization said that the government. accessed 19 April 2006. “Minimum Wages: Fiji.” U. as of 2002 had an average hourly wage of $1. 62 International Labor Organization. 63 McMaster & Nowak.62 These wages councils can suggest a fixed rage and propose this to the Minister of Labor who may deem this proposal as an Order at which point it enters a 30day objection period.web. accessed 17 April 2006. available from http://www.35 is especially attractive considering the fact that Yaqara is remote.htm.” 10 February 2005. thus Global News Wire.org/travaildatabase/servlet/minimumwages? pageClass=org. there is no national minimum wage in Fiji.63 The $3. the Fijian Government helped to protect FIJI Water’s prime resource by creating an 80 km buffer zone around the artesian aquifer. 46 59 17 .work. The average wage per hour for the factory workers at Viti Limited is $3. 45 61 U.59 The protection of this artesian aquifer promises stability and protection against possible environmental encroachments. has the ability to establish wages councils if there is no collective bargaining mechanism within a particular sector or industry’s workforce.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61608. Department of State. 60 McMaster & Nowak.60 According to the US Department of State’s 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Internet. which is quite good and considered “attractive” for Fiji’s workforce.S. or anything remotely similar. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2005: Fiji. Internet.ReferencePage&LinkId=1529. available from http://www. produced by the Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor. in a rural location.
bringing wealth and aid to the economy in a location that would otherwise not see such improvement in its typical subsistence economy.65 Natural Waters of Viti Limited’s plant is surely under these same jurisdictions and given these governmental protections.htm. so far as respects a factory and any persons employed in a factory.org/esid/psis/population/database/poplaws/law_fiji/fiji_006_1.unescap.” UNESCAP Online [home page on-line]. 56 of 1971.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/16905/64820/E71FJI01. available from http://www.htm. accessed 19 April 2006. it is presumed that the plant is a very alluring for employees. 65 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. “Fiji Employment Ordinance. Act No. One of the major problems for Natural Waters of Viti Limited is poor government transportation routes and other rocky infrastructures within Fiji. “an act to provide for the control of conditions of employment. leading to the plant is virtually untraceable in Fiji’s season of torrential International Labor Organization. Kings Highway.” extensively protects the workers in Fijian factories with globally accepted standards of labor. much of this due to Yaqara being distanced from major towns. as well as the high hourly wage. Factories within Fiji are heavily regulated and the wellbeing of the factory workers is pivotal to the success of Fiji’s praised labor force. coupled with the Employment Ordinance.”64 The Act. 64 18 . accessed 19 April 2006. The government-run public access road. “Fiji Factories Act.” ILO Online [home page on-line]. Internet. The powers of the inspectors are almost limitless and is allowed to “make such examination and inquiry as may be necessary to ascertain whether the provisions of this Act are complied with. In the Fiji Factories Act it states that if the Minister of Labor is informed of poor conditions within factories that do not meet the guidelines laid out in the Act then he will send inspectors to the given factory. Internet. available from http://www.
67 The government is attempting to reach solutions to such problems. 38. 66 67 19 . While there is little to be concerned about with FIJI Water and Natural Waters of Viti Limited’s practices in the present. According to a 2003 report on drinkable water supplies conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). its systems have not yet worked out the kinks.68 Much of this is “due to higher pollution levels and habitat degradation.” awaiting improvements. “Water Facts and Figures. “the average supply of water worldwide per person is expected to drop by a third” as the demand significantly grows. and inadequate telecommunication services.pdf. available from http://assets. but these issues will not be solved immediately and FIJI Water will inevitably be placed on “Fiji Time.panda.” WWF Online [home page on-line]. such as Ibid. environmental and health issues could arise in the near future as research and control progress.66 Viti Limited is also confronted by a faulty supply of electricity. 38.” but fortunately for FIJI Water. Since Fiji has just begun to recognize environmental concerns stemming from development. Having not developed sufficient regulatory processes. accessed 28 April 2006.” commonly known as “Island Time. the future leads to trepidation.rain. leaving potential room for error when attempting to solve environmental issues. an insufficient port. as several popular bottled water companies. the source of extraction is concealed and thus impermeable to pollution and wastewater.org/downloads/worldwaterforumwaterfacts. the future could also prove beneficial to FIJI Water. However. Ibid. Internet. This could put FIJI Water in a position of heightened dominancy within the worldwide bottled water industry. 68 WWF. typical in a developing nation.
it pleads for this to be done in an environmentally conscious manner.71 Fiji is entrenched in a long history of racial tension between the native Fijians and the Indo-Fijians. No. while Indo- Bottled Water Web. 1998).com/bottlersdetail. Internet.Alhambra. Fiji has begun to take the necessary steps to ensure protection of the natural. 1 prepared by Malakai Tadulala (Suva. integrating and updating” the various pieces. Viti Limited is fortunate in that the Republic of Fiji is committed to sustainable development and protection of the environment. Legislation in the Sustainable Development Bill of 1998 improved the existing environmental and resource management legislation by “consolidating.do?k=2. Human Development Department. 69 20 . This declaration provides “essential requirements for achieving sustainable human development. attractive environment of Fiji while simultaneously developing the country. “Bottlers Profile: Alhambra.70 While it calls for improvement of access to lands and provide opportunities to rural and subsistence sectors. In 2005 native Fijians comprised 54% of the population of Fiji. brought from India in the 19th Century as contract laborers during British colonial rule.” while committing such development to concern for the environment. Sustainable Development Vol 3.bottledwaterweb. 71 Ibid. 70 Parliament of Fiji. In May of 1994 fourteen other Pacifc Island Governments signed the Suva Declaration on Sustainable Human Development for the Pacific. Fiji. which was drafted by Fijian Government Officials. or alternatively could abuse the surrounding environment.69 While a company similar to Viti Limited would have many environmental concerns in a developing country like Fiji. acquire their water from springs and other unprotected sources. available from http://www. Fiji leads the Pacific Islands in concern for sustainable human development.” Bottled Water Web [home page online]. accessed 27 April 2006. In fact.
72 21 .gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1834.” U.S. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2005: Fiji” 74 U. Internet.74 The impending fold of the sugar industry would be the result of the European Union phasing out “preferential price agreement. Department of State.” along with poor administration acting as somewhat of a lesson for future exports.” illustrating the perplexing land dilemma within Fiji. Internet. Fiji’s two largest exports are sugar and garments. 75 Ibid. future. 73 U.” Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics [home page on-line]. this could lead to concern within Viti Limited’s labor practices.state. available from http://www.73 While it is unclear whether or not Indo-Fijians live within the Yaqara region. accessed 27 April 2006.fj/Social/popn_summary. both sharing an unpredictable. Department of State declare. Department of State. cultural values. Department of State Online [home page on-line].htm.S.Fijians made up 37% of the population. accessed 27 April 2006. If Viti Limited wants to support Fiji in achieving economic modernity then it will have to speak out against racial discrimination within Fiji. The U. “Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs: Fiji. available from http://www. “Population and Demography.gov. there can be speculation that only native Fijians receive jobs at the Viti Limited plants since they are essentially entitled to the land and thus somehow bargained to limit Indo-Fijians from working in the factory. “ethnic Fijians' traditional beliefs. perhaps unfavorable.75 The Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics.htm.statsfiji.S. Much of this power is derived from their entitlement to the Native Lands and other customary laws present in the nation’s politics developing from the era of Indirect Rule.S. particularly bottled water that desperately needs to form better regulations in the developing industry.72 The native Fijians have held the majority of power throughout Fiji’s history post-independence. and self-identity are intimately linked to the land.
David Gilmour.”76 The award recognized the company’s ability to create a “sustainable.S. which is given to American companies to prove that they “can do best while doing good in the global marketplace. “it is our hope that companies in Fiji and around the world will take not of. but it was chosen for this award because it can act as a model across the globe. accessed 19 April 2006. “it is in the heart and soul of Fijian people that has led to FIJI Water’s success. reliable industries with companies resembling those of Viti Limited. Fiji will need to quickly increase contemporary.S. exclaimed. and strive to emulate. new industry” within Fiji. 77 Ibid. but he also takes pride in the fact that his products’ success is acclaimed by the native Fijians who work for the company. chairman and founder of FIJI Water. As David Lyon. Natural Waters’ ability to make money while also contributing in so many ways U.gov/secretary/former/powell/37731.htm. one that dealt with a very precious commodity. Department of State. “2004 Ace Award Presentation to Fiji Water. abundance of laborers. and sufficient infrastructure has taken many of the jobs in the garment industry out of smaller countries like Fiji and into China. Natural Waters of Viti Limited has been exemplary in establishing new industry and growth within the Republic of the Fiji Islands.” U. In 2004 FIJI Water won the Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence.77 In his acceptance speech. available from http://www.state. faithful exports stemming from supportive.” Not only does he reaffirm the linkage of this product to Fiji.cheap labor. Department of State Online [home page on-line]. 76 22 . US Ambassador to Fiji said. Internet. In this case Natural Waters of Viti Limited has not only acted as a model for future businesses throughout Fiji. Because of a potential loss of reliance on these two exports. and the utmost importance of the water hailing from Fiji.
It has lead others within the business sector of Pacific Islands Nations to realize that products that are marketed as a “quality” good will sell better. but also as a model company within our own country. Retzlaff said “for our products in the Australian/New Zealand market. but they have also acted as an important model for future businesses in Fiji. hopefully reaping the same success as the water bottled in Yaqara. July 2003. Samoan Minister of Finance.” Pacific Magazine. we’ve had a hard time competing with countries like Phillippines and Thailand on price. yet Fiji has learned from witnessing FIJI Water’s success how developing natural resources and marketing them globally can bring change. You can buy it on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles because it’s perceived now as the water of all waters. If there’s ever been an example of successful marketing. “Misa Telefoni Big on Bridging Wealth Gap: He’s a Big Supporter of the Disadvantaged. Ibid.to the people of the Yaqara region and to Fiji as a whole. it’s that.”79 FIJI Water and Viti Limited LLC have brought their South Pacific wonder product literally out of a hole in the ground to mainstream American consumer culture. So we’ve decided we’ll just compete on quality…I mean it’s a bit like FIJI Water. 78 79 23 . and the Republic of The Fiji Islands has attempted to emerge onto the world-stage as well. Samisoni Pareti.”78 It is incredibly difficult for island nations to enter the global economy and reap the same benefits as a larger country with a greater diversity of resources. FIJI Water/Viti Limited not only serve as an inspiring representation of foreign investors working to improve developed nations. FIJI Water has certainly aided the country of Fiji in this process not only financially. In a Pacific Magazine interview with Misa Telefoni Retzlaff.