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California drought prompts Starbucks to source its Ethos Water elsewhere

May 08, 2015

In response to the severe multi-year drought in California that led the state's governor to impose the first-ever mandatory cuts in water use, Starbucks (sbux) said Friday it would no longer source or manufacture its Ethos Water in the Golden State.

Starting this week through the next six months, the coffee house chain will shift that production to its Pennsylvania supplier, all the while looking for a potential new source and supplier to serve its distribution needs on the West Coast for the bottled water brand.

The news comes a week after Mother Jones magazine published a report that found that Starbucks was sourcing water from private springs in central California’s Placer County, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and operated a bottling factory further south in Merced (about halfway between Monterey and Yosemite), both in areas deemed by the federal government to be experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions.

The historic drought led Governor Jerry Brown last month to order cities and towns across the state to cut water use by 25% in the first mandatory drought restrictions in California history.

“We are committed to our mission to be a globally responsible company and to support the people of the state of California as they face this unprecedented drought,” said Starbucks' Senior Vice President of Global Responsibility and Public Policy John Kelly.

Starbucks bought the Ethos Water brand in 2005 and gives a nickel of every $1.95 bottle sold to water charity projects around the world. Ethos has raised around $12.3 million for water charity projects to date.

Starbucks said its California stores have lowered their water use 26%.

For more Fortune coverage on the historic California drought, click here.

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