Ethos is indirectly the origin of the modern English word ethics and the definition of ethics (from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary is:
a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values
The New Internationalist Magazine (NI) June 2008 issue brought to light “Bullshit in a Bottle”. Just so happens, Ethos has a new definition. It’s the name of a bottled water company with a slick website and “is a profit-making enterprise disguised as humanitarian relief”.
There is a long list of what is wrong with the bottled water industry in general: Energy consumption, pollution concerns, health hazards, wasteful, expensive and unnecessary. And now add to the list “exploiting the plight of Africans to sell more bottled water.”
Ethos Water is a company currently owned by Starbucks which uses PepsiCo to distribute its water to wholesalers and retailers across the country. According to their website,
five cents from each bottle purchased is donated to a foundation the gives grant commitments to humanitarian water programs that alleviate the world water crisis.
Ethos seems to really be in the “cause-related marketing” business who’s goal is to ultimately bring more profits to Starbucks. I agree with the NI’s analysis:
Given that the water retails at $1.80 per bottle and five cents represents just a three per cent donation, it would seem that ‘helping children get clean water’ may not be quite as important as boosting company coffers… Critics say it is a profit-making enterprise disguised as humanitarian relief, that Ethos is exploiting the plight of Africans to sell more bottled water, and that donating directly to a reputable charity dedicated to water projects in Africa is a better way to address this serious problem.
Why don’t you just purchase a reusable home water filtration device and donate the $1.80-a-day to that reputable charity.