Coca-Cola Booted from the University of Guelph
For Immediate Release
April 5, 2007
Becky Wallace, Central Student Association T: +1 519 824 4120 ext
56742 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center T: +1 415 336 7584 E: info@IndiaResource.org
San Francisco: Students at the University of Guelph in Canada have
voted to remove Coca-Cola products from campus because of the company's
unethical practices in India and Colombia.
A referendum calling for replacing Coca-Cola products with "an alternate
beverage supplier" received 65% of the votes last week. Coca-Cola's
10-year contract with the University of Guelph is set to expire in
August 2007, and it seems very unlikely that it will be renewed given
the student mandate.
"Students have voiced their opinions loudly and clearly. We want ethical
choices on this campus," said Becky Wallace of the Central Student
Association at the University of Guelph. "We are breaking our brand
loyalty to Coca-Cola and standing up for human rights and the environment
in India and Colombia," she said.
The Coca-Cola company's operations in India have led to severe water
shortages for thousands of people living in the vicinity of its bottling
plants, and government studies have confirmed illegal dumping of toxic
waste around its plants. One of Coca-Cola's largest bottling plants
in India has been shut down since March 2004 because of community
Students in the US, UK and Canada have played a key role in applying
pressure on the Coca-Cola company to end its abuses in India, and
over 20 colleges and universities have taken actions against the Coca-Cola
company as a result of the campaign.
"This is yet another victory for communities in India who are challenging
the Coca-Cola company for creating water shortages and pollution across
India," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international
campaigning organization that worked with students at the University
of Guelph to support the campaign.
The University of Guelph joins the increasing ranks of colleges and
universities around the world that have ceased doing business with
the Coca-Cola company as a result of the International Campaign to
Hold Coca-Cola Accountable.
Most recently, students at the University of Manchester in England
voted to remove Coca-Cola products from campus as a result of the
In response to the growing international campaign against the Coca-Cola
company, the company has initiated a so called "independent" investigation
into its operations in India by an Indian group, the Energy and Resources
Institute (TERI). TERI is funded by the Coca-Cola company itself,
and the group has named Coca-Cola as one of the most responsible companies
in India in 2001.
"We are tired of whitewash attempts by the Coca-Cola company, such
as hiring a group it funds in India to investigate its operations.
What we need are genuine initiatives to seriously address the very
grave issues in India that are destroying lives and livelihoods of
thousands of people," said Amit Srivastava.
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org
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