UK Students Urged to Vote Against Coca-Cola Contract Renewal
Group Calls Briefings "Woefully Inadequate" and Process "Extremely
For Immediate Release
March 28, 2006
London (March 28, 2006): The India Resource Center is urging delegates
to the National Union of Students in the UK to vote to end business
relationships with the Coca-Cola company.
The National Union of Students is holding its Annual General Meeting
in Blackpool from March 27-30, and the issue of whether to renew contracts
with the Coca-Cola company is expected to be debated widely at the
The Coca-Cola company is the target of a significant student movement
in the UK and the US where students have campaigned to end contracts
with the Coca-Cola company for its continued crimes in India and Colombia.
More than 15 colleges and universities have already taken steps to
end their contracts with the Coca-Cola company.
In India, communities living around Coca-Cola bottling plants are
experiencing severe water shortages, and government authorities have
confirmed that the water and soil around Coca-Cola bottling plants
have been polluted by the company. One of Coca-Cola's largest bottling
plants in India has been shut down since March 2004.
At last year's Annual General Meeting, it was resolved that NUS would
educate its members about the pertinent issues surrounding Coca-Cola
in India and also research the validity of the allegations in India.
NUS has failed to meet its obligations.
The National Union of Student Services Limited (NUSSL), the procuring
agency for the NUS, has developed a series of briefings on the allegations
in India, entering into what it terms "constructive engagement" with
the Coca-Cola company.
As part of its engagement with the Coca-Cola company, NUSSL has met
with the Coca-Cola company 10 times since December 2003, and not once
with community representatives from India.
"The briefing developed by NUSSL to educate its members is woefully
inadequate, and it is not reflective of the reality on the ground
in India," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international
campaigning organization. Mr. Srivastava is in Blackpool to bring
attention to the growing campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable.
Describing the process undertaken so far by NUSSL to look into issues
in India as extremely biased, Amit Srivastava said, "How can there
be any constructive engagement when the primary stakeholder-the communities
in India-have been completely left out of the process to resolve the
The India Resource Center is also faulting NUS with not meeting its
obligations to educate its members sufficiently to make an informed
decision on the matter. An emergency motion was passed at last year's
NUS AGM that resolved that NUS would distribute materials from the
India Resource Center to members and also work with the India Resource
Center to research the validity of the allegations in India. One year
later, not a single NUS official has contacted the India Resource
We expect much better from the NUS, an organization representing the
interests of over 5 million students in the UK," said Amit Srivastava.
"They can choose to be part of the problem or be part of the solution.
Not renewing its contracts with the Coca-Cola company is the right
The letter from India Resource Center to the National Union of Students outlining their concerns can be viewed here.
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