Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Masafi - Greenwash or just a spin cycle?

Jute fabricImage via WikipediaI have been a happy Masafi customer for over 20 years now. I can remember when the stuff used to come in vinyl bottles (Crumbs, vinyl! What were we all thinking back then?) even. A friend who is an analytical chemist did an analysis of the UAE's bottled waters and consequently would only ever buy or drink Masafi.

Me too. It's a brand I have incredible faith and trust in.

Reaching for the green-handled six-pack at Spinneys today, I found myself lifting a jute bag with not six but eight bottles - a green gift from Masafi! Good stuff, chaps. I'm mildly supportive of green things (although have to confess this comes with an almost irresistible urge to flick tree huggers' nipples) and thought this was a good idea.

Turns out the extra two bottles are free. Daft, really, I'd have bought the 8-pack happily. Does Masafi, easily the premium brand in this market (discounting madly expensive imports like Evian or Voss) really face competitive pressures sufficient to necessitate a 25% giveaway and a free jute bag? I'd say not, but then I'm perhaps an unusually  loyal punter.

It turns out when I get home, that they're actually a six-pack that's been shrink-wrapped in 'ordinary' plastic, rather than the normal bio-degradeable packaging. The extra two bottles have been Sellotaped to the six pack. This makes the whole lot very hard indeed to get out of the snug-fitting jute bag, which is just the right size to squeeze eight bottles into. Then you have to unpeel the two taped bottles, which leaves a big sticky band around them. Trying to lift the wrapped bottles, the shrink-wrapping burst leaving me having a wee sweary in the middle of a muddle of rolling water bottles.

It all left me thinking, rather irritably, why didn't they just put the eight damn bottles straight into the jute bag  (which, by the way isn't a 100% jute bag and appears to contain quite a bit of plastic in itself) and save all the wrapping and packaging? Because in the end, the whole bundle isn't very green at all - in fact, arguably less 'green' than the standard six pack wrapped in biodegradable plastic.

I thought it an unusual misstep from a company whose marketing has never been less than deft...
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theguff said...

I call greenwash.

Message to all CSR planners within the region: show, don't tell. Improve, don't impose.

samuraisam said...

Al Ain water is besterest.

I once asked a hydrologist in the UAE which water was best and he told me all are crap because the mineral values are very different to natural water.

(apologies for last post, it was from a misc usage account I accidentally left logged in)

alexander... said...

You'll note that Al Ain water is now 'Pure Bottled Water' or, in the words of the company itself:

"Al Ain Mineral Water Company pioneered a new purification and re-mineralisation process to produce water that conforms to..."

Errr. Purification and re-mineralisation? So we're talking tap water that's filtered and has a mineral mixture pumped into it. Sim sim Aquafina.

Sorry. BS. It's filtered 'public source' (tap) water in a plastic bottle.

Mita said...

I sometimes feel that we are squandering good money on bottled water when we can use tap water. We brush our teeth in it and haven't died. Perhaps we should instal a filter and drink it.

Grumpy Goat said...

The mpst ludicrous bottled water I've seen sold under the aegis of 'being green' is that Fiji stuff.

Bottled under natural aquifer pressure, untouched by human hand, blah blah. And then air-freighted around the planet.

Drink tap water. Filter it if you feel you must.

Sarah Walton said...

how long have you been here Alexander? And you're still complaining about this kind of thing? I have an excuse - I've only been here three years and still feel like change is possible, but the feeling is gradually ebbing...

susanthecoach said...

I've got a very hi tech Japanese filter and if you'd seen the crap in the filter after using tap for just a week you would never drink tap again - and that was just the stuff I could see!

Given that all our tap water is desalinated it has stuff all mineral content anyway. Then its loaded with chlorine and pumped through pipes which have been around for too many years and probably weren't of the best quality anyway. Actually the re-mineralised stuff is probably best in terms of mineral content.

Yes, OK I'm obsessive - I filter the stuff that comes out of the 5 gallon bottle! And yes, I also filter my shower and bath water!

sss said...

Buy a carbon filter and forget all these fake stuff.

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