Fiji Water’s Tall Tales

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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest