University of Manchester Students' Union Campaigns Officer Responds to Innocent
Dan Lee
Campaigns Officer
University of Manchester Students' Union
April 8, 2009

Dear Innocent,

Congratulations on your new minority investment from Coca-Cola!

Just to let you know, after having somewhat enjoyed your products in the past, I'm afraid I can no longer see myself buying any of them due to your company now being compromised by your partnership with your new investor.

While I'm sure you've been quite clear, open and ethical in the way you've operated your business up until now, and maybe truly believe in promoting the healthy properties of your products, you are now in partnership with a company that is the very antithesis of this way of operating.

Coca Cola has long been responsible for depriving many communities in India of access to water for their basic needs, as well as for farming. Whilst doing this they have been polluting much of the land with their waste. They have ignored recommendation's in reports commissioned by THEMSELVES to relocate or shut down their plants in certain areas. In Colombia they have been continually accused of complicity in the repression and murder of trades unionists, and in all these countries, and others such as Turkey, of suppressing the rights of workers by employing workers at arms length, to avoid any responsibilities towards them as an employer.

These are just some of the activities of a company that apparently only wants to bring the world happiness.

On the health side, which is the mainstay of your product and the promotion of which being the apparent reason the investment was sought, your choice of investor again beggars belief. Aside from the absurdity of any claims the Coca Cola company can make that their products are good for you, they still try. Only 4 days before you broke this deal, a story of Coca Cola having to withdraw advertising in Australia surfaced as they were telling people Coke wouldn't make you 'fat' or 'rot your teeth'.

Of course, I could go on. While I'm sure the investment is very much welcomed by yourselves, it will be more welcomed by a company looking to do everything to LOOK ethical and healthy, whilst doing everything in its power to avoid actually operating in this way.

At the University of Manchester Students' Union we are proud to operate a boycott of all Coca Cola products for the reasons above. Deals such as this do nothing to help the situation, and only serve to try and legitimise the company further on the surface, whilst ignoring all their detrimental activities.

Whilst we don't currently stock Innocent Smoothies, they are certainly a product that we may have looked at to sell to our 40,000 or so members. This option is now something we cannot even consider.

I trust you will find good use for the investment, but in the eyes of those who know the truth about Coca Cola, it will forever be tainted, as will your brand,


Dan Lee
Campaigns Officer
University of Manchester Students' Union

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