US Students Boycott Coke Brands

04 January 2006

Campus radicalism, long dormant in the US, has stirred again in a boycott of Coca-Cola Company products.

Students at the University of Michigan are the latest to force campus authorities to suspend Coke sales, claiming the soft drinks behemoth is draining local groundwater in India and conspiring with paramilitary groups in Colombia to harass and harm union members.

Coca-Cola strenuously denies the allegations and is negotiating to restore its products to cafeterias, residence halls and vending machines. Its contracts with the university, which numbers 50,000 students, are worth around $1.4 million (€1.17m; £808k).

Comments Coke spokeswoman Kari Bjorhus: "The University of Michigan is an important school, and I respect the way they worked with us on this issue. We are continuing to try hard to work with the university to address concerns and assure them about our business practices."

In a statement on the company website, Coke says allegations involving its operations in Colombia are false and the company has been "an exemplary member of the [nation's] business community".

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff