Students Campaign to Ban Coca-Cola Products on Campuses
For Immediate Release
April 19, 2005
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +1 415 336 7584
Jake Brunkard, Swarthmore College +1 570-406-2440
Kristin Purdy, University of Michigan +1 517-980-6374
Ray Rogers, Campaign to Stop Killer Coke +1 917-318-9712
Wilmington, Delaware, US: Students in the United States and the United Kingdom have made significant gains in the international campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable. Student coalitions on college and university campuses have been focusing efforts to ban the sale of Coca-Cola products on campuses because of Coca-Cola's adverse human rights, labor and environmental practices in Colombia and India.
Thirteen schools have already severed ties with the Coca-Cola company and more are expected to follow in 2005.
The most recent campus to ban the sale of Coca-Cola products is the Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan, New York, a graduate school of theology which trains students to be ministers in the Christian faith.
In India, Coca-Cola is guilty of creating severe water shortages and polluting the groundwater and soil, affecting tens of thousands of farmers. Coca-Cola was also distributing toxic waste to farmers as fertilizer and selling drinks in the Indian market with extremely high levels of pesticides. In Colombia, Coca-Cola is charged with complicity in the murder, torture and intimidation of trade union organizers in Coca-Cola bottling plants.
"The University of Michigan has said it is committed to working only with companies that have ethical and responsible practices, yet the Coca-Cola Company is in obvious violation of these standards. Coca-Cola needs to be accountable for their actions, and until they are, we demand that they are taken off our campus. We refuse to support businesses that are unable to promote basic human rights amongst their employees and the public," said Kristin Purdy of the Coke Coalition at the University of Michigan. The Coke Coalition has launched a formidable campaign on campus which has included a public debate between Coca-Cola officials and activists representing the campaigns in India and Colombia, and a decision is expected by June 2005.
Coca-Cola campaigners have just completed a speaking tour of college and university campuses, including Rutgers University, Hofstra University, Georgian Court University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Smith College, Haverford College, Holyoke Community College and Swarthmore College. The majority of these campuses have strong student campaigns to ban Coca-Cola products.
"We at Swarthmore must use the power we have as an institution of higher education to extend the rights we protect for our own staff to those who are threatened in Colombia. The rights of the citizens of our global world also include the right to control indigenous land and the clean water contained in it. For these reasons, we work against Coca-Cola and for the people of India and Colombia," said Alix Gould-Werth of Swarthmore College. Two students from Swarthmore College, which owns Coca-Cola shares, are attending the Coca-Cola shareholders meeting to make a statement in support of Colombian and Indian campaigns.
In the UK, an active student campaign has just secured a significant victory that could mean banning Coca-Cola products from over 750 student unions - virtually every college and university in the country. The National Union of Students has passed a motion to verify the allegations being made in India and Colombia. A confirmation of the allegations - which is very likely - can result in the ban of Coca-Cola. The National Union of Students holds a 25% stake in the procurement agency which contracts with Coca-Cola, and as such, wields significant influence.
The campaign to ban Coca-Cola from campuses is being led by students and is actively supported in the US by the United Students Against Sweatshops, the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke and the India Resource Center, among others.
For more information, visit
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.