The company was formed in 1996 by David Gilmour, one-time partner in Clairtone Sound Corporation Limited, and the first bottles were shipped to the United States in late 1997. Fiji Water later became available at more retail locations throughout North America, the United Kingdom, France (mainly at le Bon Marché in Paris), Spain (mainly at VIPS), Australia, much of the Caribbean, Mexico, as well as Germany. Roll International is the parent company.
Fiji Water is available in .33 liter, .5 liter, 1 liter and 1.5 liter bottles.
The company claims that in the case of Fiji Water, location is key, and because of the islands' remote displacement from other continents, it is protected by its isolation from pollutants and other negative artificial contaminants.
Fiji Water has been criticized for the environmental costs embedded in each bottle. The production plant runs on diesel fuel, 24 hours a day. The high-grade plastic used to make the bottles is transported from China to Fiji, and then (full of water) to the United States and other countries. A 1 liter bottle of Fiji Water contaminates 6.74 liters of water to stretch-blow mold the plastic, burns fossil fuel to transport plastics from China and full bottles to the country of sale, and produces 0.25 kg of greenhouse emissions, based on the U.S. as the country of sale.
Recently, the company has taken efforts to curtail its carbon footprint in the hopes of becoming carbon negative through reduced product emissions, increased usage of renewable energy, and the offsetting of remaining emissions by 120%, starting in 2008. In addition, the company plans to reduce the size of its packaging by at least 20% for 2010, as well as exploring opportunities to spur on recycling.
Trade with Fiji has also been criticized due to the country's military dictatorship. In 2008, Fiji's interim Prime Minister and coup leader Frank Bainimarama announced election delays and that it would pull out of the Pacific Island Forum in Niue, where Bainimarama would have met with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.