Within just days of South Africa locking down, South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) members proved – once again – that they can be relied upon to step-in and step-up when communities need assistance.
In rural KwaZulu-Natal, Doctors for Life International – supported by local organisations aQuellé, Emseni Farming and Domino Servite School – gave the needy community the means to help curtail the spread of the virus.
Hundreds of households under Chief Hlongwa and Chief Ngubane received care packs filled with masks, 500ml sanitiser, 5L aQuellé natural spring water, 6-pack aQuellé flavours and information pamphlets in both English and isiZulu providing information on Covid-19 and the precautions that must be taken to save lives.
aQuellé also donated R500 000 to the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, which is focusing on combating and tracking the deadly virus, caring for the sick and supporting those whose lives are disrupted. Administered through the private sector, it will complement the work already being done by government.
Thirsti Water donated 140 000 bottles of water to the testing teams countrywide, and transported the bottles to the sites where they were most needed, regardless of the province. This donation exceeded R700 000.
Talking about his brand’s big commitment, CEO Rob Hoatson said: “The spirit of South Africa will always survive in trying times. We understand the seriousness of this pandemic, and applaud the South African Government for what they’ve done. We at Thirsti just felt that we really needed to do something, we really should do something. At a time like this, it is important that we do what we can where we can.”
AquaBella, too, donated water to keep the testing teams hydrated, some 20 000 bottles initially in the Western Cape, Clover Water donated bottles from its Nestlé Pure Life and Aquartz ranges, Chamonix donated 18 pallets of water in total to the local food scheme in Franschhoek Gift of the Givers for its distribution programmes, and Bené Spring Water partnered with its bottle supplier, Polyoak Packaging, to deliver food hampers – one and a half tons worth – to the local Meals on Wheels Community Services South Africa branch in Walkerville.
Coca-Cola, which owns the Bonaqua and Valpré range of bottled water, contributed to the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, provided product to Gift of the Givers and, through its local bottling partners Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa and Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages, distributed 2L and 1L relief water with food parcels and essential care kits across the country.
Coca-Cola’s marketing spend was redirected to a mass communications campaign to share health and safety messages and help people stop the spread of the virus. This was rolled out on television, point- of-sale, truck backs and on social media. Health and safety messages were also incorporated into packaging for 1.5L and 500ml Bonaqua bottles.
“These are just a few of the contributions SANBWA members have made during the lockdown in South Africa,” said SANBWA CEO Charlotte Metcalf. “My sincere thanks to them and other members not mentioned here who have reached out and helped make a difference whenever they can.
“From providing water to fire fighters working to hold back the dreadful runaway infernos in the Western Cape, to helping communities struck by drought throughout South Africa, and now contributing to care packs and other relief efforts during the lockdown, I never cease to be amazed by their generosity and spirit,” she said.
Formed in 1997 as a standards setting and representative body, SANBWA is committed to working with its members to continuously improve and protect the conservation of all water resources wherever possible, while promoting the image and reputation of bottled water through adherence to global benchmarked standards.
A single standard covering legal, hygiene, food safety and quality, and environmental requirements, the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard benchmarks favourably against international standards and:
• ensures legal compliance
• is fully auditable so that a single audit can ensure that all legal and food safety requirements have been met thereby protecting the bottler and enabling it to prove due diligence
• helps bottlers identify the area where they still need to improve
• assists retailers and consumers to select suppliers of safe bottled water