Top bottled water companies Nestlé Waters, Danone and Highland Spring, have launched a new industry lobbying association to jointly promote their sector.

The Natural Hydration Council will begin work on 1 September to research and promote the environmental, health and other sustainable benefits of natural bottled water, the three firms said today (29 August). 

Bottled water sellers have faced repeated criticism from environmental campaigners, largely because of the amount of PET plastic they use for bottles.

The three companies said the new body would "provide authoritative information and advice for researchers, government, the industry, media and public about the economic and social value and impact of bottled water".

"Not many people realise that natural bottled water comes from fully sustainable sources and in recyclable packaging," added Paolo Sangiorgi, managing director of Nestlé Waters UK.

The Council will have an office based in London, led by Jeremy Clarke as its newly appointed director.

Between them, Nestlé Waters, Danone and Highland Spring constitute the bulk of bottled water sales in the UK, with brands such as Vittel, Evian and Highland Spring. 

A 10-year bottled water boom in the UK was curtailed last year after sales fell 4% by volume, due to poor weather, the Council said.