Coca-Cola Extends Contract Once Again

Capilano University’s exclusive contract with Coca-Cola, which expired on August 31, 2009, has once again been extended, this time in the form of a one-year non-contractual agreement.

Dr. Greg Lee, President of Capilano University, explains that “we extended out one more year to get the new purchasing manager on board.” The purchasing manager will act as the chair of the Food and Beverage Committee.

In the meantime, this extension will allow Capilano to “retain the vending equipment in the short term, and to achieve some revenues,” according to Dr. Lee.

Capilano’s Coke contract was slated to last ten years, and was set to terminate initially in 2007. However, Capilano did not sell the 200,000 cases that it had committed to as per the contract. This led to a contract extension of two years, or as long as it took Capilano to sell the remaining cases.

The University did not achieve the sales target, and therefore had to wait out the contract until August of 2009.

Last year, with the contract deadline looming, the Courier was informed by Mark Clifford, Director of Contract Services and Capital Planning at Capilano, that a competitive bid process would be set up in order to either renew the Coke contract or select a new beverage supplier.

According to Clifford, “the Food and Beverage Committee will be tasked with providing stakeholder input from each of their respective constituent groups. A competitive bid (RFP) will be developed based on this input and published widely via the Province of BC open bidding web site.”

Capilano’s Coke contract has been the subject of much contention among students since it was signed in September of 1997. Not long after signing, the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) campaigned to inform students about Coca-Cola’s history of ethical and environmental violations, such as accusations that bottling plants in India have been depriving locals of access to water. As a result, the CSU and the Capilano Courier partnered to bring students Big Purple: The Fridge of Choice, which contained non-Coke beverages that could be taken for an optional donation.

At UBC, resistance to a similarly exclusive Coke contract saw a switch to Pepsi in 2007, due to the fact that “Coke didn’t meet [the students’] ethical standards,” according to a September 2007 Vancouver Sun article.

Capilano does benefit financially from its Coke contract, however Dr. Lee conceded that there are other issues to consider: “We need to assess the impacts of the bottled water issue...if the committee recommends the removal of bottled water from the vending machines then, coupled with the provincial healthy products legislation, the ability to achieve any revenue will be significantly reduced.”

In initial discussions with the Courier last year, Dr. Lee said that student input would be considered in the selection process for a new contract. Later on, however, Clifford stated that he was unsure when such input would be asked for, if at all. For an in depth history of the Coke contract, and detailed revenue and sales figures, see

Natalie Corbo
News Editor

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