Leeds University Union faces Coca Cola banby Amy Nickell
at University of Leeds 04th February 2011 16:54:45
A proposal to ban Coca Cola products across Leeds University Union’s shops, bars and nightclubs could lead to Union losses of over £300,000 a year.
The referendum on Coca Cola was submitted by second year student, Charlotte Ball. Charlotte says she contributed the idea after becoming aware of the brand’s previous controversies surrounding questionable company ethics.: “Through research, I became aware of Coca Cola’s actions. I don’t think it is right that we directly fund and support people’s suffering.” Coca Cola’s overseas bottling plants have been accused of polluting the environment in the past.
The decision will be made when the question of a ban is presented to the student population on February 7-11. If the ban is passed it will stay in place for at least three years.
In these three years the Union, which funds the Student Activities Budget, could expect to see a loss of nearly £1 million. The financial implications of the ban have launched an anti-campaign by six members of the Student Executive.
Leading the campaign against the ban is Rachel Wenstone, Leeds University Union’s Communications and Internal Affairs Officer. She says: “Our membership services are run off money that we make by selling goods in the Union. Banning Coca Cola would mean these would be massively under threat.”
“The budget for the Student Advice Centre is £205,000. If Coca Cola were to be banned, it would be completely wiped out. I completely agree that Coca Cola are a bad company. However, I think we should educate people and give them options.”
Rachel also believes it will be near impossible to find an alternative to Coke: “There is Ubantu which is a good alternative to Coke but there is no such substitute for Diet Coke which affects things like diabetes.”
The proposed ban would cover all products affiliated with the Coca Cola brand, including Fanta, Sprite and Diet Coke.