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Canadian university says 'No' to Coca-Cola

world Updated: Apr 06, 2007 23:12 IST

IANS
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Students of a Canadian university have voted overwhelmingly to remove Coca-Cola products from their campus because they think the company has implemented unethical practices in India and Colombia.

About 65 per cent of the students of the University of Guelph voted last week to remove Coca-Cola from their campus with an alternate beverage supplier, according to India Resource Center, an international campaigning organisation that worked with students at the university to support the campaign.

"Students have voiced their opinions loudly and clearly. We want ethical choices on this campus. We are breaking our brand loyalty to Coca-Cola and standing up for human rights and the environment in India and Colombia," said Becky Wallace of the central student association at the University of Guelph.

Recently, serious allegations were made in India against the beverage giant that it uses pesticides in its popular drinks.

It is also alleged that the company's operations in the country 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.

Coca-Cola India has strongly denied these charges.

"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 in a press release.

"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," Srivastava added.