Coca-Cola strikes back

Coca-Cola Norway retorts against Norwegian Church Aid’s campaign against the soda giant.

The background for the campaign is Coca-Cola’s business in India where thousands of farmers in the state Kerala allegedly lost their means of livelihood as a result of Coca-Cola’s extended use of ground water and pollution of the water resources.

Norwegian Church Aid urges people not to buy Coca-Cola products before the company has financed a compensation agreement for the about 10,000 affected individuals in Kerala.

«Norwegian Church Aid is generally doing a very good job, but in this concrete case, they are basing their campaign on faulty information, and they lack facts,» said Stein Rømmerud, director of communication and public information at Coca-Cola Norway.

He stressed that the ground water level has decreased in the entire Kerala area since 2000. The number of days with precipitation annually has been reduced with 66 percent.

«It is a simplification to think that one factory can change things like these,» Rømmerud said to the Norwegian news bureau (NTB). «Our daily consumption at this factory is 400,000 liters per day, but the factory is currently closed.»

The Coca-Cola plant is not the only factory in the area which uses the ground water.

«There are about 27 companies within a radius of 5 kilometers in this area,» Rømmerud said. «Several of these use ground water in their production, and about half of them use more ground water than our plant. We interpret this to be as much a political case as an actual environmental case.»

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