October 15, 1999
Rick Best, GRRN
916-443-5422; 916-599-2148 cell
Heather Kunst, ECOnference 2000

Campus Jobs Boycott Targets Coca-Cola
Coke is named for jeopardizing plastics recycling

PHILADELPHIA -- A coalition of student activists is launching a new campaign to get tens of thousands of students nationwide to pledge not to interview for jobs with corporations that are doing harm to the environment. One of the first corporations to be targeted is the Coca-Cola Company.

"Coke is being targeted for its failure to support plastics recycling," said Andy MacDonald, field director for the Dirty Jobs Boycott. "Coke’s failure to use recycled plastic is hurting recycling and the environment. It is time for students to demand more of market leaders like Coke before going to work for them."

The Dirty Jobs Boycott targeting Coke is the latest development in a campaign launched by the GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) in April 1997. After direct communications with Coke failed, GRRN started a direct action in which consumers were asked to mail empty plastic bottles to Coca-Cola CEO M. Douglas Ivester with the simple message 'Take It Back and Use It Again'.

Last summer, the campaign was stepped up with a series of paid ads in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Working Assets Long Distance sent an alert to more than 300,000 customers, generating over 40,000 letters, e-mail and calls to Coke's CEO.

"Coke broke its promise to use recycled plastic," said Rick Best, president of the GrassRoots Recycling Network. "Meanwhile, Coke has introduced the single serve plastic bottle without using any recycled plastic, causing plastics recycling rates to plummet, to the point that two out of every three bottles are wasted. As the industry leader, Coca-Cola must face the problem it created and take responsibility for finding a solution," said Best.

"Coca-Cola sells more than 25 million soda bottles in the U. S. every day. Despite the misleading recycling symbol (chasing arrows) stamped on the bottom of each bottle, virtually none contain recycled plastic," Best added.

The Dirty Jobs Boycott will be launched at ECOnference 2000 in Philadelphia this weekend. Targets will be officially announced, student leaders will be trained, and the campaign will begin.

"By Earth Day 2000, corporations with terrible environmental records will hear the message loud and clear: if they want to be successful recruiters, they have to be good corporate citizens," said Heather Kunst, Dirty Jobs Boycott organizer.

"Corporate recruiters are now a common and aggressive force on college campuses seeking out the best and brightest to join their company," said MacDonald. "Corporate recruiters compete with each other to lure students with signing bonuses, generous salary packages, opportunities for advancement, and the offer of a fulfilling and rewarding career with their company. We call on them to include a demonstrated commitment to our environmental future in their benefit package," McDowell said.


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