What was once a simple taste test has now become an issue of morality.
Michael P. Berry, director of Harvard Dining Services (HDS), is expected to decide this morning whether to transfer Harvard's beverage contract, currently with CocaCola, to PepsiCo.
Years of less-than-adequate service and non-competitive prices are strong incentive for HDS to switch from Coke to Pepsi, Berry said.
But PepsiCo's support of the military regime in Burma, a South Asian government notorious for human right violations, raises concern among undergraduates and HDS officials.
Earlier this year, Berry decided to install PepsiCo products in Annenberg Hall and at Loker Commons. He said at the time that the choice was made with strictly economic and service considerations in mind.
But in making this latest decision, Berry said he has had to consider more than just monetary concerns.
Berry's decision has received attention from many who oppose PepsiCo's involvement in Burma, including the Burmese exiled finance minister, who urged Berry to reject the contract, and some of PepsiCo's shareholders, who are concerned that HDS's choice may affect future PepsiCo business.
Involvement in Burma
PepsiCo's bottling plant in Burma, also known as Myanmar, lies at the heart of Harvard's concern.
Since Burma's money is virtually worthless, according to the February 16 issue of the Far Eastern Economic Review, the profit PepsiCo makes through their sales in the country must be reinvested in Burmese produce which is then sold on the international market.
American human rights activist groups like Amnesty International and a Harvard student group, Burma Action Group, accuse PepsiCo of buying produce grown on farms which utilize forced labor.
PepsiCo refuses to specify the farms from which it purchases produce.
Labor in Burma is tightly controlled by the military regime currently in power, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), which ousted the democratically elected government in 1990. According to SLCO official policy, any business employing more than five workers must select workers from a list of
Thus, activists argue that Pepsi-Co's compliance with the government legitimizes the SLCO.
Upping the Ante
Refuse Pepsi's Blood MoneyI n 1988, ten thousand protesters were massacred in Burma. The international community barely noticed. Multinational corporations are now embracing
PepsiCo, HDS Deal in LimboAlthough 69 percent of students favored accepting a gift of $15,000 from PepsiCo in an Undergraduate Council survey of nearly
PepsiCo Board Ponders BurmaPepsiCo Inc. may reexamine its policy on investing in Burma as a result of pressure by human-rights activists on college
Pepsi Completes Burma PulloutMarco B. Simons '97 said he can now drink Pepsi-Cola in all good conscience. The Harvard Burma Action Group (HBAG)
Council's Effort to Help Burma Not in VainTo the editors: Who would have thought that my time on the Undergraduate Council would have left such a legacy?
Pepsico Signs Sullivan Code, Downplays Harvard InfluencePepsico, one of the companies on Harvard's investment portfolio that consistently refused to accept the Sullivan Principles, has signed the