Sunday, September 14, 2008

India: is Coca Cola guilty of unethical practices in Kala Dera?

Kala Dera is a large village outside the city of Jaipur where agriculture is the primary source of livelihood. Coca-Cola started its bottling operations in Kala Dera in 2000, and within a year, the community started to notice a rapid decline in groundwater levels.

For farmers, loss of groundwater translated directly into loss of income. For women, it meant having to walk an additional 5 to 6 kilometers just to fetch water to meet the basic daily needs of the family. For many children in Kala Dera, it meant leaving schools to provide a much needed helping hand doing household chores since the women had additional burdens. 

The community in Kala Dera organized itself to challenge the Coca-Cola company for the worsening water conditions - through extraction and pollution - and demanded the closure of the Coca-Cola bottling plant. 

The company, in usual fashion, denied any wrongdoing, blaming "outsiders" for the increasing local community opposition. Full story...

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