Cold beverage consultative group conducting campus-wide survey

Community members can provide input on their priority values

Consultative group launched following AMS assembly.
In February, Queen’s Hospitality Services announced the formation of a cold beverage consultative group. The group is currently conducting a survey open to students, staff, and faculty.
The group’s formation follows AMS Assembly passing a motion on Sep. 21 to publicly oppose the vending supply agreement between Queen’s and Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Ltd. The contract between Coca-Cola and Queen’s is set to expire Aug. 31, 2023 after a one-year extension. 
The consultative group is made up of student government representatives, Strategic Procurement Services, Housing and Ancillary Services, Athletics and Recreation, and others. 
Jenn Pete, director (business development) of Housing and Ancillary Services said the group has identified seven main criteria for selecting a cold beverage provider on campus. 
“Nutritional value, social impact, sustainability, product quality & diversity, locally sourced, commitment to EDII, and affordability,” Pete wrote in a statement sent to The Journal. 
Preliminary results show the top three factors selected by survey respondents are: sustainability, nutritional value, and product quality. The survey remains open until Apr. 30. 
“Through a survey, the Working Group is seeking input from the university community on the relative importance of each criterion, within the context of a public Request for Proposal (RFP) process,” Pete wrote. 
Jessie Wile, AMS commissioner of environmental sustainability (CES), and Samara Lijiam, AMS social issues commissioner (SIC) said the AMS is working closely with the consultative group. 
“The survey that we put out was pivotal in these efforts, as it showed us what values students are most closely aligned with,” Wile and Lijiam wrote in a statement sent to The Journal.
Wile has previously been a strong advocate for the removal of the current Coca-Cola-Queen’s contract, citing EDII (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity) and the university’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis. 
Both Lijiam and Wile said the University must maintain business values that are ethical and aligned with sustainability values. 
“As we pass off our roles to the incoming CES and SIC, we are excited to see the progress they make in creating more equitable and sustainable business agreements,” Wile and Lijiam wrote.
“We believe the business partnerships that Queen’s has should be reflective of the values and principles of sustainability and ethics [...] CES and SIC are to continue advocating for sustainability and equity, [and] to be factored into the procurement process for our next cold beverage provider, and for all business partnerships at Queen’s.”
Coke Canada Bottling believes its impact on the local Kingston community is positive for the people and the economy.
“Kingston is home to 80 diverse Coke Canada employees and our distribution centre in the City, which services Queen’s, operates close to 24 hours per day, five days a week” Kathy Murphy, vice-president (public affairs and communications) of Coke Canada Bottling wrote in an email to The Journal.
“We service approximately 500 local customers and inject close to $750,000 in the local economy through local vendors and partners,” Murphy said.
Coke Canada Bottling is actively funding Ontario’s Extended Producer Responsibility program. 
— With files from Sydney Ko

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