Coca-Cola Not Disclosing Financial Liabilities in India
Communities Seek Closure of Plants in Water Scarce Areas
For Immediate Release
April 22, 2009
Atlanta (April 22, 2009): The Coca-Cola company is making a big mistake
by not acknowledging the potentially large financial liabilities it
continues to incur in India as a result of its water management practices,
Coca-Cola company shareholders were told today.
Two Coca-Cola bottling plants have already been shut down in India
and two other plants face increasing opposition for creating water
shortages and pollution.
An assessment financed by Coca-Cola and released in January 2008 has
found fault with Coca-Cola's water management and pollution practices
around some plants in India.
The assessment has recommended that Coca-Cola shut down or relocate
one of its bottling plants, in Kala Dera, because the plant's operations
"would continue to be one of the contributors to a worsening water
situation and a source of stress to the communities around," according
to the study.
Coca-Cola has ignored the recommendations of the study it paid for.
"Coca-Cola should never have located its bottling plant in Kala Dera
where people were already experiencing water shortages before Coca-Cola
showed up. The result has been even more suffering for the people.
Farmers are losing their crops and women have to walk longer to access
water. Coca-Cola should respect the findings of its own study and
shut down the plant in Kala Dera," said Mahesh Yogi of Kala Dera Sangharsh
Samiti, a local community group challenging Coca-Cola.
The assessment also warned Coca-Cola on deteriorating water conditions
in Mehdiganj, where the community has been campaigning for the plant's
In response to the campaign, Coca-Cola has announced that it has become
water neutral in Mehdiganj by the end of 2008 - suggesting that they
somehow return nearly 100 million liters of water into the groundwater
"Coca-Cola does not and cannot return all the water it uses back into
the local aquifer. Some of their rainwater harvesting structures are
too far away to have a positive impact on the local aquifer in Mehdiganj.
Add to that the lack of normal rainfall, and the fact that Coca-Cola
continues to extract water from a rapidly declining water table, and
it becomes clear that Coca-Cola's operations are in no way neutral
in the growing water crisis," said Nandlal Master of Lok Samiti, the
local group leading the campaign against Coca-Cola.
One of Coca-Cola's largest bottling plants in India, in Plachimada,
has been shut down since March 2004 because of community opposition.
"Coca-Cola is refusing to accept the facts in Plachimada. Its plant
has been shut down, it cannot reopen the plant because the government
won't allow it to and the state government of Kerala has moved to
seek compensation from Coca-Cola for the damages it has caused. Coca-Cola
must accept the facts and move on," said R. Ajayan of the Plachimada
Solidarity Committee, a key statewide campaigning group.
"Coca-Cola continues to operate with impunity in Kala Dera and Mehdiganj
even though its own study has confirmed that continued operations
bring extreme hardship to the community. It is only a matter of time
before the plants will be shut down and the company will have to pay
for the damages in has caused in India. The longer they wait to genuinely
address the crisis in India, the larger their liability," said Amit
Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international campaigning
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org
R. Ajayan, Plachimada Solidarity Committee, India +91 98471 42513
Nandlal Master, Lok Samiti, India +91 94153 00520
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center, US +1 415 336 7584
Mahesh Yogi, Kala Dera Jan Sangharsh Samiti, India +91 98295 99140
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