For Immediate Release
Norway Campuses Reject Coca-Cola
Contract Not Renewed, Ethical Concerns Raised in Decision
INTERNATIONAL - In another major victory for the international
campaign against Coca-Cola, colleges and universities in Norway have
decided not to renew the exclusive contract with Coca-Cola.
Students across Norway have been campaigning to significantly restrict
Coca-Cola's contract on campuses because of the company's mismanagement
of water resources in India.
Students had argued that Coca-Cola's existing 90% market share on
campuses made it difficult for students to exercise their right to buy
ethical products on campus.
Samskipnaden i Oslo (Foundation for Student Life in Oslo) made the
decision not to renew Coca-Cola's exclusive contract and also restrict
campus market share for new contracts to 80%, meeting both the student
campaign demands. The primary contract, effective January 1, 2010, was
awarded to Ringnes, and applies to colleges and universities across
"This is a major victory for the student campaign to hold Coca-Cola
accountable in Norway. We are sending a strong message to Coca-Cola that
it must stop its unethical behavior in India. We are also delighted that
the campaign is moving our campuses away from the monopolistic practices
of companies like Coca-Cola," said Martin Giset of Attac Blindern,
the lead campaigning group at the University of Oslo.
Samskipnaden cited both financial reasons as well as ethical in arriving
at their decision.
"We are thrilled. Both because Ringnes had a better offer than
Coca-Cola, and because it is going to make it easier for students to make
ethical choices when buying beverages," said the leader of the
Welfare Council in Oslo, Jenny Nygaard.
The action against Coca-Cola comes after a two-year long campaign in
Norway to hold Coca-Cola accountable. On November 11, 2008, the
University of Oslo Welfare Council (Velferdstinget I Oslo)
a resolution to significantly restrict the size of Coca-Cola's
contract, offer alternative beverages that are ethical and fair trade as
well as adopt more stringent criteria for ensuring that companies that do
business with the University of Oslo have strong environmental and
ethical records. University of Bergen, Vestfold University College and
the Norwegian University of Life Sciences at Aas also passed resolutions
against Coca-Cola in Norway.
Communities across India have been campaigning against Coca-Cola,
charging the company with creating water shortages and pollution. Two
Coca-Cola plants have been shut down in India as a result of the
campaign, and a Coca-Cola funded study released in January 2008 has
recommended the closure of another bottling plant in India citing
Coca-Cola's significant role in worsening water shortages.
Just two weeks ago, on November 30, 2009,
villagers protested against Coca-Cola in Mehdiganj in India, accusing
the company of worsening water conditions by continuing to extract water
in times of drought.
"We want to thank the students of Norway for sending a loud and
clear message to Coca-Cola that its activities in India are unethical and
that consumers around the world will think before they drink
Coca-Cola," said Nandlal Master of Lok Samiti in Mehdiganj.
"We welcome colleges and universities in Norway to the growing
number of conscientious institutions around the world who are demanding
that Coca-Cola clean up its act in India. The decision not to do business
as usual with Coca-Cola will go a long way in ensuring justice for
communities in India", said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource
Center, an international campaigning organization.
The India Resource Center worked closely with
Attac in Norway to support the student
campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable in Norway.
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