Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Update June 5, 2007
More Campaign Victories & More Coke Crimes
Contents of This Newsletter
- Major Victories as Smith & Aquinas Colleges Dump Coke
- University of Chicago's Campaign Escalates
- Stony Brook University UUP Chapter Dumps Coke
- Prison Labor and Coke in China
- Coca-Cola Continues Environmental Abuses in India
- Sudan's Ambassador to the United States Threatens to Cut off World's Supply of Coca-Cola
- Sudan and Darfur: Additional Perspectives
- Coke's 'unlawful deceptive advertising for Enviga'
- Coke fined $1 million for Anti-Competitive practices
- Coke's Animal Testing Exposed: Company Pressured to End Practice
- Major reports from the campaign that are useful in organizing
- Do you need a customized Campaign leaflet?
- Campaign's 'Student Activism' Section
- Take Actions Against Coke!
Smith College, Massachusetts Dumps Coke
A great victory was won by students at Smith College after a three-year campaign during which students from Smith attended Coke's annual shareholders meetings where they voiced their concerns.
Smith College students demonstrating at the 2005 Coke Shareholders' Meeting
Daily Hampshire Gazette, "Convinced of abuses, Smith College severs ties with Coca-Cola," By Kristin Palpini and Andrew Horton, June 1, 2007
"After a two-year study into Coca-Cola's alleged environmental and labor rights violations, Smith joins 40 colleges and universities nationwide that have barred Coca-Cola from campus. The list of colleges banning Coke includes Hampshire College (which booted Coke in 2006), Simons Rock College in Great Barrington, New York University and Rutgers University. In the letter, Christ cites poor business practices in Colombia and India as reasons why the college has decided not to renew Coca-Cola's contract.
"The Soft Drink Advisory Committee 'looked at the prevailing concerns over the corporation, their environmental practices in India and their labor practices in Colombia, and we decided that what's being said about Coke is right and true,' said Kristen A. Cole, media relations director at Smith."
TheBostonChannel.com, "College Banning Coca-Cola: School President Prohibits Soft Drink Sales, May 30, 2007
"BOSTON — Smith College students looking for a Coke and a smile will now have to go off campus to get it.
"The Northampton, Mass., school announced Coca-Cola will no longer be allowed to sell its products on campus.
"The school's president said the move is based on Coke's business practices in Colombia and India. (Read Pres. Carol T. Christ's letter.)
"She said Smith College takes the issues of human rights and environmental sustainability very seriously."
Smith College News Office News Release, "Smith College Discontinues Contract with Coca-Cola: Smith College President Carol T. Christ sent the following letter [linked below] to Coca-Cola notifying the corporation that it will not be permitted to participate in the college's upcoming soft drink bidding process."
Read News Release
"As a private college with a public conscience, Smith College takes issues of human rights and environmental sustainability very seriously. Social responsibility is a core value of the college, one we aspire to reflect in our educational mission and in our campus operations. In severing our ties with the Coca-Cola Corporation, Smith joins other institutions and organizations around the world in urging Coca-Cola to take significant steps toward more responsible business practices across all realms of its operations."
Aquinas College, Michigan, Dumps Coke
Aquinas College has a student body of 2,300 and is "rooted in the Catholic Dominican tradition." Claire O'Neill of the Social Action Committee sent us the following report:
"I just wanted to say that after a two and a half year fight, the students at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have successfully kicked Coke off our campus. Unfortunately, the replacement is another big corporation, Pepsi, but it has been decades since anything but Coke has graced our campus. Thanks for your informative website.
"Part of our campaign to Kick Out Coke was putting "Out of Order" signs on Coke machines around campus, as well as to distribute fliers with information and pictures of the atrocities that the company perpetrates in countries such as Colombia and India.
"We also tabled in our cafeteria and in the hallways of the campus, handing out leaflets and literature, and collecting signatures on postcards to send to Coke executives.
"Members of our club met twice with the man in charge of finance of the school, who had the responsibility of choosing contracts. Five members of the Social Action Committee met with him and he was ultimately willing to listen to our requests.
"The coordinator of the club worked on a committee of staff and students formed to choose the beverage contract for upcoming years. The coordinator was very vocal about why to oppose a renewed contract with Coke because of the Company's human rights abuses in Colombia.
"The school administration sent out an email survey to the students asking what drinks they preferred — interestingly enough, the students did not choose Coke. The administration informed the coordinator right before the end of the year that Aquinas College would not renew the contract with Coke. The students at the school were very pleased."
Congratulations, Aquinas College! A job well done!
Posted on "the moose" "Campus Changes in Soft Drink Vending
"Please note that as the campus changes beverage suppliers, Coca-Cola Bottling will be emptying and removing their vending machines within the next week. Pepsi Bottling Group will be installing new machines on campus during the second week of June."
"Take Action! Tell the University of Chicago to Kick Coke Off Campus!" USAS Petition
Please Sign this Petition
"Make the right decision and remove Coca-Cola from campus dining halls. Students at the University of Chicago have demonstrated that they do not want their school doing business with such a socially unjust company."
Chicago Maroon (University of Chicago), "Why I'm voting to get rid of Coke," By Ryan Kaminski, May 25, 2007
"I find the latest SG Assembly vote symptomatic of the problem that has been plaguing SG all year: Many representatives forgot time after time that they were representing their constituents and not their own political, social, or ideological interests. Some representatives voted negatively without attending the town hall meeting, quoted their economics textbooks for guidance, ignored tens of emails from concerned constituents..."
"Anyone who actually attended the meeting itself - including Coke supporters - would probably admit that representatives from Coca-Cola left a lot to be desired compared to Ray Rogers from the Killer Coke Campaign. While Rogers was at times a little too passionate and jumpy with his arguments, he presented independent evidence from a variety of sources including the LA Times, Business Week, CNN, The New York Times, and others to verify his claims. Conversely, the Coke representatives patronized and, as far as I am concerned, belittled the audience..."
Chicago Maroon, CDAB to decide Coke's fate," By Mischa Fierer, May 25, 2007
"SG's decision disappointed fourth-year Miranda Nelson, a leader of Kick Coke Off Campus. She said that anti-Coke activists had done everything CDAB (Campus Dining Advisory Board) had requested by procuring the petition and by educating students about the issue. Nelson noted that none of the SG members at the forum took notes while students spoke. Alex Moore, another anti-Coke leader, said that he was disappointed 'to hear that people who are going to make decisions for students aren't going to listen to students.' "
Chicago Maroon, "If Coke can't be humane to workers, it has to go," By Shira Tevah, May 22, 2007
"But kicking Coke off campus is not about individuals personally not drinking an 'evil' soft drink: It is about forcing one corporation with a poor human-rights record to change its ways. The Maroon cites Pepsi as another 'evil' because it sourced from Burma in the 1990s. What the Maroon might not realize is that it took a national campaign to get Pepsi to change its sourcing practices. We are part of an international campaign to make Coca-Cola fix its own practices."
Response to Pro-Coke Student Barney Keller at University of Chicago
University of Chicago student Barney Keller personally attacked Director Ray Rogers in his poorly-researched article below. The article was widely-distributed on campus in preparation for Tuesday's meeting that would have Ray and Coke address students and answer their questions. Students asked the Campaign to respond to Keller and the response, also widely distributed on campus, follows Keller's article:
Chicago Maroon, "Don't buy into the Killer Coke craze," By Barney Keller, May 18, 2007
Chicago Maroon "Coke's future on campus hinges on vote," By Mimi Yang, May 11, 2007
"By the end of spring quarter, students will know whether University-run dining and food facilities will continue to provide Coca-Cola brand products in the upcoming year. Both Coca-Cola supporters and members of the Campaign to Kick Coke Off Campus anxiously await the decision that will be the culmination of two contentious years of student activism."
Chicago Maroon "With Coca-Cola, capitalism's injustices are abundantly clear," By Daniel Benjamin, May 11, 2007
"McCarl's claims that the campus campaign selected Coca-Cola 'arbitrarily' and that Coke's human-rights abuses are 'alleged' are in every way specious. Our actions respond to the Colombian workers' call for an international boycott, a call answered by over 30 colleges, including DePaul, NYU, and Swarthmore. While Coca-Cola is not the only corporation with deplorable human rights practices, it is one of the worst and is the leader in the soft drinks industry. Change in Coke's behavior makes change by Pepsi and others far likelier."
"While surely no one on the anti-Coke campaign claims to stand outside the benefits of capitalism, we try to be aware, and to make others aware, that there are many injustices in the free-market system. And so, through our purchasing power, we try to help workers worldwide to exercise the freedoms that McCarl values so highly."
The Stony Brook University chapter of United University Professions following the lead of its New York statewide parent union, passed a resolution which bans Coke products from its meetings and facilities. This brings more support to the campaign end the university's relationship with Coke.
The Executive Board of the UUP chapter at Stony Brook University (AFT 2190) passed the following resolution at its May 16, 2007 regular meeting:
A motion (Feliciano/Gardaphe) to avoid Coke products as was noted at the Spring DA at UUP functions carried.
This implements at the chapter (campus) level the resolution passed at the union's statewide Delegate Assembly in April calling for a boycott of all Coca-Cola products at UUP statewide functions, which also called on individual campus chapters to carry the ban to each campus in the SUNY system. These motions had immediate consequences since UUP had regularly served Coca-Cola products at its meetings.
UUP represents 32,000 faculty and professional staff on 29 campuses of the State University of New York.
Students at Stony Brook University, a large campus at the State University of New York with 25,000 students, are waging a strong campaign to make the campus Coke-free. You can see the tremendous work Stony Brook students are doing in our last newsletter in College Update, part f: See report
BBC News, "Coke says no China jail labour," By Paul Danahar, May 21, 2007
"It was in Ningbo prison, he [Jon Sims} told the BBC, that he was made to work on merchandise intended for the company [Coca-Cola]."
As usual, Coke has denied allegations of wrongdoing, however "the company said it did determine through its audit process 'breaches of our commercial contract and we discontinued our business relationship with this vendor and in addition decided not use any of the supplies from this vendor.' "
If the company discontinued the relationship, there must have been something to these allegations.
B. Wardlaw, a large Coke shareholder, said in the 2004 Coke shareholders' meeting: "As far as my proposal on China business principles [See below] which I am bringing to you for the third time [China Business Principles for Rights of Workers in China], I introduced this proposal because I, along with many other socially conscious shareholders, are concerned about Coke, its reputation and its share price. As I've said here the last two years, we seem to be heading toward a possible public relations calamity in China...we're spending over $1 billion over the last 20 years in China, developing products there.
"The Olympics are coming to China in 2008 in Beijing. This is a moment where Coca-Cola is going to be highlighted because of our close involvement with the Olympics and as a recognized product in the world. We are still not paying enough attention to what could happen in China. Every human rights abuse possible has been committed in China..."
Share-Owner Proposal on The China Business Principles
William C. Wardlaw III, c/o Harrington Investments, Inc., P.O. Box 6108, Napa, California 94581, owner personally of 77,000 shares of The Coca-Cola Company Common Stock, submitted the following proposal:
CHINA BUSINESS PRINCIPLES FOR RIGHTS OF WORKERS IN CHINA
WHEREAS: our company's business practices in China respect human and labor rights of workers. The eleven principles below were designed to commit a company to a widely accepted and thorough set of human and labor rights standards for China. They were defined by the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Covenants on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, and Civil & Political Rights. They have been signed by the Chinese government and China's national laws.
(1) No goods or products produced within our company's facilities or those of suppliers shall be manufactured by bonded labor, forced labor, within prison camps or as part of reform-through-labor or reeducation-through-labor programs.
(2) Our facilities and suppliers shall adhere to wages that meet workers' basic needs, fair and decent working hours, and at a minimum, to the wage and hour guidelines provided by China's national labor laws.
(3) Our facilities and suppliers shall prohibit the use of corporal punishment, any physical, sexual or verbal abuse or harassment of workers.
(4) Our facilities and suppliers shall use production methods that do not negatively affect the worker's occupational safety and health.
(5) Our facilities and suppliers shall not call on police or military to enter their premises to prevent workers from exercising their rights.
(6) We shall undertake to promote the following freedoms among our employees and the employees of our suppliers: freedom of association and assembly, including the rights to form unions and bargain collectively; freedom of expression, and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention.
(7) Company employees and those of our suppliers shall not face discrimination in hiring, remuneration or promotion based on age, gender, marital status, pregnancy, ethnicity, region of origin, labor, political or religious activity, or on involvement in demonstrations, past records of arrests or internal exile for peaceful protest, or membership in organizations committed to non-violent social or political change.
(8) Our facilities and suppliers shall use environmentally responsible methods of production that have minimum adverse impact on land, air and water quality.
(9) Our facilities and suppliers shall prohibit child labor, at a minimum comply with guidelines on minimum age for employment within China's national labor laws.
(10) We will not sell or provide products or technology in China that can be used to commit human rights violations or labor rights abuse.
(11) We will issue annual statements to the China Working Group detailing our efforts to uphold these principles and to promote these basic freedoms.
RESOLVED: Stockholders request the Board of Directors to make all possible lawful efforts to implement and/or increase activity on each of the principles named above in the People's Republic of China.
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: As U.S. companies import more goods, consumer and shareholder concern is growing about working conditions in China that fall below basic standards of fair and humane treatment. We hope that our company can prove to be a leader in its industry and embrace these principles.
His proposal was voted down all three years by the shareholders.
At the 2004 Coca-Cola annual shareholders' meeting, Campaign Director Ray Rogers approached a well-dressed shareholder and asked the shareholder: "Doesn't it bother you that you make money from the misery of people around the world?" The shareholder said: "No."
5. India Resource Center, "Coca-Cola Continues Environmental Abuses in India," June 4, 2007
Read News Release
Illegal Dumping of Sludge at Coca-Cola Bottling Plant
New Delhi, India (June 4, 2007): In a shocking finding, another Coca-Cola bottling plant in India has been found to be operating in complete violation of environmental laws and regulations in India.
A fact-finding team led by the India Resource Center to a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Sinhachawar in the state of Uttar Pradesh issued a report today detailing the violations. Specifically, the team found that:
- The plant is indiscriminately dumping its sludge, considered to be industrial hazardous waste, across the plant premises, in complete violation of the laws regarding handling and disposal of industrial hazardous waste in India.
- The Effluent Treatment Plant was non-operational, and the bottling plant was discharging its wastewater into surrounding agricultural fields and a canal that feeds into the river Ganges.
- The plant did not disclose the amount of hazardous waste being used and generated, as required by the Supreme Court of India for all industrial units in India that deal with hazardous waste.
In response to Bush's announcement on May 30 of tough new economic sanctions against Sudan, the Sudanese ambassador to the United States, John Ukec Lueth, rented a room at the National Press Club in Washington and threatened to retaliate.
"I want you to know that the gum arabic which runs all the soft drinks all over the world, including the United States, mainly 80 percent is imported from my country," the ambassador said after raising a bottle of Coca-Cola.
Sudanese Ambassador John Ukec Lueth with a Coke bottle.
A reporter asked if Sudan was threatening to "stop the export of gum arabic and bring down the Western world."
"I can stop that gum arabic and all of us will have lost this," the ambassador warned anew, beckoning to the Coke bottle. "But I don't want to go that way."
If this should occur, wouldn't the health of all nations improve?
We have raised the issue of Coke in the Sudan. We have learned that the issue of Sudan and Darfur is an extremely complicated one as has been pointed out by a number of Campaign to Stop Killer Coke's supporters. We are including a few resources that can help us all better understand the issue from additional perspectives:
Democracy Now, "Mahmood Mamdani on Darfur: "The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency," June 4, 2007
See Video of Interview (You can read the transcript of the interview)
London Review of Books, "The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency, By Mahmood Mamdani, March 8, 2007
Asia Times, "Darfur: Forget genocide, there's oil," By F William Engdahl, May 25, 2007
Commondreams.org, 'billboarding the Iraqi Disaster," By Anthony Arnove, May 19, 2007
"Oil in Darfur? Special Ops in Somalia? The New Old "Humanitarian" Warfare in Africa" By keith harmon snow, January 7, 2007
"The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should take enforcement action against Coca-Cola and Nestle for their unlawful deceptive advertising for Enviga, their green-tea-flavored diet soda, according to a complaint filed with the agency today by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). At issue is the companies' claim that Enviga burns more calories than the five calories per can it delivers, which, CSPI says, strongly implies weight loss. CSPI is separately suing Coke and Nestle in federal court on the same issue but says that shouldn't stop the FTC from cracking down immediately on the false advertising."
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), "Federal Trade Commission Urged to Crack Down on Enviga: CSPI Says 'Calorie Burning' and Weight Loss Claims Illegal," May 21, 200
"If you want a lighter wallet, drink Enviga," said Jacobson [CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson]. "If you want a lighter you, drink water."
Coca-Cola has been fined $1 million for monopolistic practices after a Mexican court turned down an appeal by Coke. There remain 69 other similar cases against Coke filed by Mexico's Federal Competition Commission; each case involves a million dollar fine for Coke's practice of pressuring stores to not carry products of other brands. According to the Financial Times, "the complaints arose after shopkeepers confirmed that Coca-Cola bottlers had forbidden them to sell rival brands of soft drinks." This fine follows a recent decision by the same commission objecting to Coke's $380 million purchase of Mexican drink company Jugos del Valle. And in 2002, Coke and its bottlers were found guilty of keeping rivals out of the Mexican soft drinks market.
See full story
After PepsiCo made a similar decision, Coke renounced animal testing in a letter to People for The Ethical Treatment (PETA), stating that, "The Coca-Cola Company does not conduct animal tests and does not directly fund animal tests on its beverages...We are sending letters to our partners and research organizations who may conduct safety evaluations on...ingredients insisting they use alternatives to animal testing..."
The above is quite a contrast to PETA's description of Coca-Cola as having "a history of conducting invasive and deadly experiments on animals - including cutting open chimpanzees' faces in order to conduct taste tests and force-feeding chemicals to rodents to test "caramel color" - none of which are required by law."
There is a history of Coca-Cola underwriting the exploitation of animals as exposed by PETA and others; these include:
- tropical circus that abused seven polar bears. More on this topic
- bullfighting in Mexico, Spain and other countries; rodeos in North America, as well as greyhound racing More on this topic
CokeCruelty.com says of Coke, "in one documented lie after another, Coke has demonstrated that it has no compassion for animals, and no regard for the truth. Coca-Cola openly trades its integrity in pursuit of profits...Coke has demonstrated, and continues to demonstrate that it cares nothing about either animals, or its own written promises and policies." More about Coke's record when confronted with criticism for exploiting animals can be found at this here
The Coca-Cola Company has used the excuse that it does not sponsor rodeos and other animal abusive practices, but that these may be underwritten by its bottler. Here Coke claims that the bottlers are independent decision-making entities and so cannot control them. Here the company is being disingenuous. Coke has strong controls over its bottlers and use of its logo.
Critical Talking Points from the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
Read the Critical Talking Points on Killer Coke
LABOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS: 'The Real Thing' in Colombia, By Lesley Gill
"Inside the Real Thing: Corporate profile on Coca-Cola Corporation," Report by the Polaris Institute (Canada)
Read the report in pdf format
War on Want, Press Release and Report, "Coca-Cola under fire as World Cup comes to London, Released March 20, 2006
Read Report, "Coca-Cola: The Alternative Report" in English
Seven Points to Settlement
Read the Seven Points.
"ILRF Director Terry Collingsworth Response to Coke's Denials," July 8, 2004
"University of Michigan Falls Prey to Another Coca-Cola PR Scam," Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
April 17, 2006 Press Release/Report
WB11, New York Feature on the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
On July 11, 2005, WB11, one of New York City area's major television stations aired a special "Fact Finders Report" on the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke called "Coca-Cola Faces Human Rights Violations." Interviewed are Campaign Director Ray Rogers, Hofstra University Campaign Activist Vanessa Cudabac, New York City Council Member Hiram Monserrate, New York City Comptroller William Thompson and American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Secretary-Treasurer Terry Stapleton. This excellent feature was watched by millions on WB11 and, as we found out from supporters, watched by others around the world on satellite television.
Play Tape of Show
The Campaign's Response to Coke's Statements on the WB11 Feature
Video, "State of the Union," produced by Insight News for Channel 4 of Great Britain.
Watch State of the Union
12. Do you need a customized Campaign leaflet?
When we invited supporters to contact us to "customize a leaflet for your campus, union or group," the response was terrific! We immediately began getting emails asking us to produce customized leaflets for numerous colleges, universities, high schools and middle schools. We put them up as soon as we could. We have leaflets for Australia, Canada, Colombia (in Spanish), India, Ireland, Japan, the UK and the US.
Because the demand for flyers was so strong, it took up too much server space. We decided to leave the list online with the schools listed for which we have customized flyers. If you need a copy of your flyer, please contact us and we'll email it to you as soon as possible.
If your school, union or group is not listed and you would like a customized leaflet, please contact us at info@KillerCoke.org. Please state the name of your school and the name of the sponsoring group, if any, and a local email address, if you want us to put them into the flyer. If you want the flyer for a group, please state the name of the group and an email address. Also, whenever you email the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, please include a phone number, if possible, in case we have a need to talk with you.
13. Campaign's 'Student Activism' Section
Many students interested in launching a Campaign to Stop Killer Coke at their schools and colleges have been contacting us. We recommend that students begin by checking out the two organizing packets in our "Campus Activism" section:
- "Unthinkable! Undrinkable! A Campus Campaign Overview," a USAS Campus Guide
- Campus Activism Packet — Campaign for a Coca-Cola Free Campus
- Schools Active in the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
In addition, there are numerous reports, resolutions and articles in the "Campus Activism" section that can be useful.
11. Take Actions Against Coke!
- Call Coca-Cola and tell them to stop their worldwide abuses at 1-800-GET-COKE.
- Sign a Petition protesting Coke's abuses: Sign the Petition
- Join the Boycott at Karmabanque's web site at: www.karmabanque.com
- Send an E-Card to Coca-Cola
Please send photos, reports of events, and if you are in a school, union or organization that has banned Coke products, please send us the resolution or a description of how the decision was made. We would like the Campaign website to be up-to-date and to share the information via our newsletter. (Whenever you email us, please include your phone number and the best times to contact you, including weekends.)