Ethos Water, a
Starbucks subsidiary, is a brand of bottled water with
a social mission of "helping children get clean water." Ethos began in
Peter Thum had the idea after working in communities in
South Africa that lacked access to clean water. Thum, who was working
as consultant for McKinsey & Company at the time, realized the
potential to create a bottled water brand to raise awareness and
funding for safe water programs. The idea became an obsession for
Thum, and he wrote the business plan for Ethos, left McKinsey, and
moved to New York in early 2002 to start the venture.
Thum recruited his business school classmate
Jonathan Greenblatt to
join Ethos in late 2002. They launched operations as a bottled water
company in August 2003, and also formed an organization called Ethos
International to invest funds from the business in safe water
Since only $0.05-0.10 of the retail price ($1.80) goes to charity,
the Ethos brand is primarily commercial and therefore a for-profit
organization. Nevertheless, as of at least 2009, Ethos, through the
Starbucks Foundation, had granted more than $6 million, according to
the company, to help support water, sanitation and hygiene education
programs. Unlike previous socially responsible brands, Ethos
pioneered linking cause to consumption, a model later replicated by
brands such as
Toms Shoes and Warby Parker.
Ethos water is manufactured by PepsiCo, & Safeway's Lucerne
brand, but unlike other
Pepsi products, Ethos bottles do not
contain recycled plastic.
Starbucks purchased the company for $8 million.
Starbucks was criticized in 2015 for sourcing their Ethos water from
California during the drought. In May 2015, the company moved
production to Pennsylvania.
^ Harris, Jessica (2007-11-05). "Ethics In a Bottle". Fortune Small
Business via Money.CNN.com. Archived from the original on April 8,
2012. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
^ Walker, Rob (2006-02-26). "Big Gulp". The New York Times. Retrieved
^ Terefenko, Paul (2007-03-22). "Stealing Water Day". Now. Archived
from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
Ethos Water Fund". Starbucks.com. Archived from the original on
April 8, 2012. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
^ Walker, Rob (2006-02-26). "Big Gulp". The New York Times.
^ "Ethos Bottled Water Quality Report For Safeway-Lucerne Foods
Bottling Plant Merced, CA" (PDF).
^ Allison, Melissa (2008-05-14). "
Starbucks struggles with reducing
environmental impacts". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
^ Coster, Helen (20 December 2010). "How
Ethos Water Made Starbucks
Thirsty for a Deal". Forbes. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
Ethos Water comes from drought-stricken California". New
York Post. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
^ Moyer, Justin (12 May 2015). "
Starbucks moves Ethos water from
California after droughtshaming". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6
Assets and products
Seattle's Best Coffee
Verismo by Starbucks
Tazo Tea Company
Indra Nooyi (
Chairman & CEO)
Robert Eugene Allen
Pepsi Max (North America and International versions)
Pepsi-Cola Made with Real Sugar
Mug Root Beer
7 Up (outside United States)
Ethos Water (under license)
Iced Tea) (under license)
No Fear (under license)
Ocean Spray (under license)
Frappuccino (under license)
Starbucks (under license)
Dole (under license)
Quaker Oats Company
Quaker Instant Oatmeal
Chewy Granola Bars
Scott's Porage Oats
Propel Fitness Water