Hey guys, happy February and welcome to another Fashion Factfiles blogpost!
The Fashion Factfiles is where we expose the brutal realities of the garment industry, the side that the big corporations and big names in fashion work hard to hide behind ‘girl power’ tees and ‘look at us recycling omg we do care’ campaigns.
This month we’ll be highlighting an issue that many may not be familiar with, but is absolutely horrific and heartbreaking: the Sumangali System.
WARNING: Content regarding sexual abuse and suicide throughout.
Hey guys! Happy October and welcome to another monthly exposé!
This month I am exposing a worldwide fave, a multinational corporation that brings joy and cavities to people of all ages…
Can’t lie, I’m not surprised by the content I found regarding their corrupt past and present. However, I am really quite shocked by the extent to which CC has destroyed lives all around the world. Article after article, there’s a lot to take in.
In order to make this a bit more digestible, I’ve summarised everything to the best of my abilty, and provided links if you’d like to find out more.
The epidemic of cotton farmer suicides is not a recent thing. Between 1995 and 2013, there is believed to have been 60,750 suicides, meaning an average of 10 farmers taking their own lives every day. Between January and April just this year, Maharashtra, India, reported 852 farmer suicides; an average of seven farmer suicides, reported every single day.
There are several reasons why so many cotton farmers are pushed to the point of ending their lives. However, the majority of these causes, including climate change and lack of micronutrients in the soil, have been exacerbated or caused by a far greater problem farmers are faced with: MONSANTO.
I used to be addicted to coca cola as a child and teen. I had to drink it almost everyday probably. I’m pretty sure my milk bottle as a baby was filled with coke instead of milk (lol jk). I weened myself off coke and if I ever have it now it’s so disappointing. To be honest that happens with everything that I’ve reduced eating. You have very high expectations of how unethical food should taste if you haven’t had it in while.
But anyway!!!!!! This isn’t about how Coca Cola tastes (rubbish).
This about how Coca Cola acts (Rubbish).
So let’s get straight into it, shall we?
In India, farmers have protested against Coca Cola and more than a million traders are boycotting Coke and Pepsi. It takes 400litres of water to make a bottle of coke which is about 1690 cups of water in layman terms. Although who can comprehend that.
Well lets see.
If we should drink 8 cups of water a day, its about 211 days of water people!!! Please consider this the next time you order one with your meal.
Considering that India is having one of the worst droughts in 140 years this is not something to be brushed under the carpet. The low levels of water have caused a thermal power station to shut down in February, wilted harvests have led to higher food prices, water has had to be delivered to homes and tens of thousands of people queue daily for water.
It’s not just coca cola that have to clean up their act. Hotels in India are being judged on the type of shower heads they use to conserve water. But Coke and Pepsi are fiercely opposed with hundreds of farmers demonstrated against them when they planned to build a $75 million bottling plant. The authorities approved cokes request to withdraw 4 million litres of groundwater a day. After 4 months of opposition the plan was cancelled. But when Pepsi proposed a plant and were authorised to draw 1.5 million litres a day, not only was it approved but protesters were beaten by the police.
In the past Coca cola bottlers have been closed for extracting groundwater above legal limits and because of water pollution and for violating mandatory environmental requirements.
Protesters have rightly accused the authorities for “acting as agents to foreign capitalists” and that “the common good was being sacrificed to foreign corporations” while “farmers were flying from water shortages and crop failures”.
“Coke and Pepsi are the best-known agents of water privatization and commodification of water,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, a journalist and activist in Chennai. “It is unethical and immoral for a resource that is so vital to life to be commodified. The two companies also stand accused of questionable practices. They make excellent poster boys, framing the issue of water scarcity as an actionable one of private greed causing the decline of a valuable public resource.”
SLAVE LABOUR YOU CAN KEEP
Brazilian government officials have recently accused two coca cola production and distribution centers for treating workers like slaves according to a Reporter Brazil. The following discoveries were made after a 7 months inspections:
179 truck drivers were forced to work 80-140 EXTRA hours per month
They were often denied sleep between shifts
This led to “a variety of physical and mental health related issues, such as “body aches, stress, lack of interaction with family members and almost no leisure time.”
in 2013 and 2014 truck drivers successfully sued Spal (a licenced manufacturer of Coca Cola).
Boycott Divestment Sanctions
The BDS movement has placed a priority on boycotting coca cola because of the factories that are in illegal settlements in occupied Palestine lands, breaking international law. “Coca cola has at large ignored calls to abide by international law.”
“In 2009 the company had also hosted a special reception at the Coca-Cola world headquarters to honour Brigadier-General Ben-Eliezer. Under the presidency of Ariel Sharon, Ben-Eliezer served as Israeli Defence Minister presiding over 2002 storming of Jenin, a refugee camp, leaving hundreds of Palestinians dead.’
Coca Cola’s water and electricity demands are likely to be given preference over the needs of Palestinian people based on reports from around the world which show that their bottling plants usually adversely affect the communities living around them. People in Gaza only have access to 30% supply from the only power plant in Gaza, hospitals run on emergency generators and Palestinians in Gaza face a chronic shortage of fresh water. “Access to water is limited on average to 6-8 hours for 1-4 days a week for the population of Gaza.”
“The settlements help to sustain Israel’s illegal occupation making it impossible to create peace and an independent Palestinian state. The settlements are also considered illegal under international law. Israel’s yearly expansion of settlements has created an extremely difficult situation on the ground for Palestinians. Settlers get away with land theft while attacking and harassing Palestinians on a daily basis for simply being Palestinians.”
Be careful of buying coke disguised as another brand
“Many families had no toilets and said they had no choice but to defecate among the tea bushes. We
found living and working conditions so bad, and wages so low, that tea
workers and their families were left malnourished and vulnerable to
“We earned enough money that we could move out of the family home and
build our own. We bought a fridge, and we had enough to pay for our two
kids’ education. We saved some money for our daughter’s marriage. Our
lives have changed.”