November 04, 2008

International Bottled Water Association members gathered to discuss the latest achievements and challenges facing the bottled water industry at its 50th annual convention and trade show, held recently in conjunction with InterBev 2008 in Las Vegas.

More than 3,000 people attended this event, which included 304 exhibitors at a 52,000 sq. ft. trade show and 28 well-attended education sessions offered over the three days.

During his annual “Report form Washington,” IBWA President Joe Doss told the gathering that 2008 was an extremely busy year at the local, state and federal levels. This included addressing continued unwarranted attacks by environmental activists, two congressional hearings on the quality and environmental impact of bottled water, and bills in several states that would tax bottled water, require unnecessary labeling and restrict the ability of companies to withdraw water.

“Over the past year, IBWA members and staff have been working diligently to communicate proactively the facts about bottled water and defend the industry against unwarranted attacks by activists,” Mr. Doss said. “It is clear that a war is being waged against our products and the future of the bottled water industry is at stake. IBWA has therefore begun to significantly increase its level of government, media and other activity to deal with this continued serious threat.”

“We have also seen a dramatic increase in the level of scrutiny given to our industry at the federal level,” he said. Doss said IBWA provided testimony at congressional hearings stating the bottled water industry was committed to protecting the environment by using lighter weight plastic containers, utilizing more fuel efficient means of transportation and developing new technologies in product packaging, such as using recycled content.

“We also pointed out that bottled water containers make up just one-third of 1 percent of the waste stream and any efforts to reduce the environmental impact of product packaging must focus on all consumer goods, not just target one industry,” he said.

Doss noted that bottled water production accounts for less than 2/100 of 1 percent (.02%) of the total groundwater withdrawn in the United States each year, he said.  “We also provided information about our support of federal and state groundwater management proposals that are comprehensive, science-based, multi-jurisdictional, and treat all users equitably in order to provide a sustainable resource.”

“Technical issues involving bottled water continue to be a major area of focus by regulators, legislators, international organizations, consumers, and industry watchdogs. In response, IBWA continues to be an active player and puts its technical and scientific expertise to work for the industry.”

“IBWA continues its work to protect the nation’s food supply through our active participation with other food industry organizations and government agencies. We participated in public forums and in classified meetings to advance the steps taken by the bottled water industry and its food and beverage industry partners to protect the nation’s food supply and to ensure its availability during natural disasters and other emergencies.”

“There is overwhelming consensus that IBWA should establish a goal for increasing bottled water plastic container recycling rates. Our members are continuing to meet on a regular basis to gather and discuss additional information, and then select a plan which can be publicly implemented,” Mr. Doss said.

“I’m very excited about the future of IBWA and the many opportunities available to the bottled water industry. We have a lot to feel good about. With the rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease on the rise, we make a healthy, safe, convenient product that consumers continue to demand. And bottled water is always there when it is needed; whether in times of natural disasters (such as floods, hurricanes, or wildfires) or other emergencies (such as boil alerts and contaminations of municipal water supplies).

Officers, Board Members and Executive Committee 2008 – 2009 announced

Also during the convention, IBWA announced its 2008-2009 Officers, Board Members and Executive Committee.

Dimitrios Smyrnios was elected to serve as the Chairman of the IBWA Board of Directors for the upcoming 2008 – 2009 term.  Smyrnios represents IBWA member Nestle Waters North America in Greenwich, CT.  

IBWA also elected and/or re-elected the following IBWA members to the Board of Directors for a three-year term: Joe Bell (Bell Sales, Inc.), Greg Nemec (Premium Waters, Inc.), Kristin Safran (ARK Specialty Services), Chris Saxman (Shenandoah Valley Water Co.) and Breck Speed (Mountain Valley Spring Company, LLC).

For a full length version of IBWA President Joe Doss’s speech or to arrange a media interview, contact Jill Culora on 703-647-4607.

Contact:  Jill Culora – 703-647-4607, [email protected],