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Letters to PepsiCo on forced labour

>From Terry Cottam, OPIRG-Carleton

Resending corrected letter from Carleton U. admin, plus student president's
letter. Both retyped exactly as received.

At last! It took months to get these letters, but now you can use them to
get yours quicker at your school. (U.S. students substitute U.S. PepsiCo
address) It can be done by just one or two people. It might be a good
project during the summer doldrums. Use these letters as you see fit to
discourage new business to PepsiCo, and hasten its complete pull-out.

We found our incoming student president to be eager and disgusted at Pepsi
("I really want to help you guys on this one"). C.U.'s administration was
cooperative but extremely bureaucratic (although rather apologetic). Tips to
students: assume they are nice people just doing their job. Politely express
your occasional impatience -- ask them to explain obscure procedures, eg.
"why do you need to consult Foreign Affairs? You're only writing a letter of
inquiry." "Why do you need permission from Pepsi to release to us replies to
our own complaints?" (It was just Pepsi's form reply on Burma) They never
never challenged why I was doing this, and I did not challenge their desire
for good relations with Pepsi. I thanked them, kept them informed, kept up a
friendly dialogue, kept my requests clear and to the point.

Carleton has a 10-year contract with Marriott Corp. to sell PepsiCo products
(including beverages and Pizza Hut) until the year 2000. Hence PepsiCo may
not be inclined to reply since their contract at C.U. is secure for now.

BUT you can make trouble for PepsiCo elsewhere. If your school or university
(both Canada and U.S.) has an impending contract renewal date, show your
administration and student association the letters below, and ask them to
write similar letters.

Once they have done this, it will be difficult for them to renew their
contracts -- at least with a clear conscience in full public view -- without
proper assurances from PepsiCo.

Foreign Affairs' response to Carleton U. was that Canada "does not encourage
trade with Burma." This letter is useful to show to Canadian universities
that defer to government foreign policy. I've added that below as well -- it
will help speed the process. Canadian officials are sympathetic and helpful,
but Canada's policy is deceptive. Textile imports from Burma are way up, as
are Canadian mining interests in Burma. Time for sanctions! Please be in
touch with CFOB on these issues.)

Carleton University (letterhead)
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Canada K1S 5B6

May 14, 1996

Mr. R. McEachern
President and Chief Executive Officer
Pepsi-Cola Canada Beverages
1255 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5R 2A9

Dear Mr. McEachern:

I have been instructed to write you by the Executive Committee of the Board
of Governors. The Executive Committee has been petitioned by the Ontario
Public Interest Research Group at Carleton University to put a question to
you about operations it is claimed your company undertakes in Myanmar

The Executive Committee of the Board after careful examination of the matter
which included consultations with the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade has agreed to ask the question of your corporation.

The question is: Does PepsiCo export farm products made by forced labour in
Myanmar (Burma)?

The Executive Committee meets next on June 12th, 1996 and it would be
helpful if I could place an acknowledgement of this letter, if not an answer
to it, before the Committee at that time.


			Yours sincerely,

			D.C. McEown
			Secretary of the Board of Governors

CUSA letterhead
Carleton University Students' Association Inc.
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Suite 401 Unicentre Building
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6

Ron McEachern
President & CEO
Pepsi-Cola Canada Beverages
1255 Bay St.
Toronto, Ontario M5R 2A9
FAX 416 964-7557

Dear Mr. McEachern:

As the respresentatives of the Carleton University Students' Association, we
request that you quickly respond to allegations that your parent firm,
PepsiCo, is benefiting from forced labour in Burma (Myanmar). We have been
informed that you operate soft-drink bottling plants under Burma's military
regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).

Before agreeing to future contracts with PepsiCo, we want assurance that
PepsiCo's operations in Burma do not support human rights abuses in that
country. Reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch/Asia
indicate that SLORC has subjected millions of Burmese to forced labour.

In particular, we wish to know if PepsiCo's "countertrade" in farm products
is supported by forced labour, extortion or land expropriation. We have also
been informed that, due to the poor state of Burma's currency, PepsiCo must
buy cash crops in Burma and sell them abroad for hard currency, in order to
pay for imported supplies for its bottling operations.

These allegations first came to light in October 1994 through reports by the
Karen Human Rights Group. We understand that you have not identified the
problems of these issues. In light of this we hope you will answer these
urgent questions:

* Can PepsiCo demonstrate that no forced labour, land confiscation or
  extortion were used in the production of farm products it purchased in

* Will PepsiCo name the parties with whom it conducts its countertrade in
  farm products? Can it assure us that these parties, as well as the
  businesses from which they purchase these products, have no connections
  with the military?

* If there has been a pull-out of Burma, there should be no affiliation to
  its new owners; has this occurred?

Many of our students enjoy PepsiCo products sold on campus, through our
contract with Marriott Corp: Pepsi-Cola beverages, Frito-Lay snack foods,
and Pizza Hut. However, we understand that a boycott against PepsiCo
products is growing worldwide. Our students recognize this boycott, and can
result in serious ramifications if questions are not answered.

Thank you for your attention. We trust you will respond in the very
near future.

				Christian Dallaire


Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Letterhead)

				125 Sussex Drive
				Ottawa, Ontario
				K1A 0G2

				May 7, 1996

Ms. Lynn Collins
Acting Secretary
Board of Governors
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, K1S 5B6

Dear Ms. Collins,

On behalf of the Minster of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy,
I wish to thank you for your letter of April 16, 1996 requesting information
on the policy of the Government of Canada regarding trade with Burma

Burma is of particular concern to the Canadian government because of its
record of gross and systematic human rights violations and its refusal to
abide by the results of a democratic election. Through bilateral and
multilateral channels, Canada has worked to promote democratic development
and respect for human rights in Burma, while maintaining a policy of
critical engagement. We will continue to express our concern to the ruling
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) until it demonstrates that
it is prepared to respect fundamental human rights and show a definite
commitment to democratic reform.

The case of Burma has long presented a particularly difficult challenge to
the international community. Many of Burma's major trading partners are
convinced that increased economic exchanges will bring about positive change
and ultimately help integrate that country back into the mainstream of the
international community. While we share this goal, Canada's approach has
differed. Although there are no restrictions on Canadian firms doing
business in Burma, since 1990 Canada has not encouraged trade with Burma. No
Canadian export programs are open for Burma. We do not approve exports of
sensitive materials to Burma and have not resumed bilateral aid since the
suspension of the Canadian International Development Agency's program in
1988. Our trade with Burma is minimal. Total Canadian exports to Burma were
only $1.12 million while Canada imported goods worth $14.17 million.

I hope that the above is of assistance to you. Please do not hesitate to
contact me if you require any additional information.

				Yours sincerely,

				L.A.K. James
				Deputy Director
				Southeast Asia Division