Fiji Water’s Tall Tales

Flickr user<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/edyson/1106733572/#/">esther dyson</a>/Creative Commons

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Yesterday, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark posted this interview he did with Fiji Water co-owner Lynda Resnick on the Huffington Post. (Picture of Newmark and Resnick at left.) Newmark wrote he was looking for some storytelling advice. He went to the right person. Resnick told him: 

We have so much competition in the marketplace that if you don’t have a real, truthful story behind your product or service, it simply won’t be sustainable… Brands that are transparent, authentic and honest rise above their competition… Consumers want to feel good about the products and services they are buying and using.

Resnick’s “authentic and honest” is a bit rich, given that Mother Jones and many other media outlets have repeatedly criticized Fiji Water for rampant greenwashing and supporting Fiji’s military junta. Just last month, the company was sued for false advertising: Though Fiji Water is touted as “carbon-negative” on billboards, it uses a “forward crediting” model to take credit now for offsets that won’t happen until 2037, if ever.

Resnick explained to Newmark that telling a story is “one of the best ways to establish a sense of trust with your consumers…but remember, you can’t make it up it has to be real.” Resnick can keep telling stories. Here at Mother Jones, we’ll keep it real. For more truthtelling on Fiji Water, see Anna Lenzer’s excellent 2009 investigative feature on the company here.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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