UK Students Move Towards Coca-Cola Boycott
Students, on Wednesday, at the National Union of Students (NUS) Annual
Conference in Blackpool, overwhelmingly voted to take what could be
the first steps to boycott Coca-Cola products from Students' Unions
bars and shops. This move, echoing the steps of UNISON, follows strong
calls from SOAS, Middlesex, Leeds and Bristol Students' Unions who
already have policy to boycott the company from their campuses.
The passing of an emergency motion brought by Sussex and Middlesex
Students' Unions means that NUS has a clear mandate to engage in the
allegations that are being made against Coca-Cola regarding the assassination,
imprisonment, displacement, kidnapping and dismissal of trade unionists
in Colombia, and drought inducing illegal groundwater extraction in
India. NUS must also ensure that the allegations against Coca-Cola
are publicised throughout its membership. Further to this, it must
research the validity of the claims being made and if it as a result
has any doubt as to the behaviour of the Coca-Cola Company in India
and Colombia it must use its 25% shareholding in NUS Services Limited
(NUSSL) to ensure that the multi-million pound Coca-Cola contracts
it has are not renewed.
Vice President Services of Edinburgh University Students' Association
David Smith said:
"As consumers we have a right to demand that the concerns that we
have are taken seriously. Coca-Cola is acting immorally and irresponsibly
in Colombia and India and it is vitally important that NUS now outlines
this behaviour to its members."
Bertie Russell, Leeds University delegate said:
"Today was a monumental victory for British Universities, in support
with Colombia Solidarity and the India Resource Centre, who are ashamed
to carry the moral burdens of companies with appalling environmental
and humanitarian records on their campuses."
The Coca-Cola Company stands accused of making profits on the back
of assassinations, imprisonment, displacement, kidnapping, death threats
and dismissals of trade unionists in Colombia. In a report by human
rights activist and New York City Councillor Hiram Monserrate, 179
major human rights violations against Coca-Cola in Colombia were outlined.
In India, communities living around Coca-Cola's bottling plants are
experiencing severe water shortages and crop yields have started to
decline as a result of Coca-Cola's massive extraction of water.
NUSSL's Ethical and Environmental committee is currently "constructively
engaging" with Coca-Cola, however nearly two years on since this process
was started, Coca-Cola have not responded satisfactorily to the allegations
made. NUSSL and the Coca-Cola Company now have a year until next years
NUSSL convention in which to demonstrate that their constructive engagement
is working or face the very real threat that Coca-Cola will be boycotted
by 5.2 million students UK wide.
The boycott Coca-Cola movement can be encouraged by previous highly
successful boycotts such as those of Nestlé and Pepsi in Burma and
growing broad ethical consumerism which has seen the explosion of
Fair Trade products.
Dan Glass, Sussex University delegate said:
"I am delighted that students have voted in favour of this empowering
step and I encourage every student to seize this opportunity and inform
themselves on the Coca-Cola issue. I am in no doubt that more institutions
will follow the moves made by SOAS, Middlesex, Leeds and Bristol Students'
Unions and boycott Coca-Cola from their campuses over the coming year.
Due to this victory, students at the NUS conference created the Federation
of Progressive Student Unions, to work and advance such topics as
ethical investment, setting the benchmark for future related issues.
For more information contact:
David Smith on 0131 650 2649, 07815 043 574 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bertie Russell on 07793282357 or email@example.com
Dan Glass on 07717811747 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosa Wilson-Garwood at email@example.com
More Information at:
FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. India Resource Center is making this article available in our efforts to advance the understanding of corporate accountability, human rights, labor rights, social and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.