The Southeastern Bottled Water Association offers many member benefits, some of which are hugely important for bottlers, distributors, and vendors supplying the industry. Some of these benefits are obvious, some are not!
SEBWA, along with the International Bottled Water Industry, maintains a database of proposed bills being considered, introduced, and going to vote at the State level, and oftentimes gets involved at a much more local level. An example was aggressive written testimony presented at the county level during this past summer’s aquifer battle in Florida. The document was co-authored and co-signed by IBWA and SEBWA.
John Speed, head of SEBWA’s Government Relations Committee, monitors these proposed bills, and alerts affected members, who often can mobilize testimony presenting the industry’s side of the story. IBWA monitors states across the nation, stays on top of FDA issues, and has supported the bottled water industry throughout the BPA fiasco. These benefits and shared knowledge can often more than return a company’s investment in SEBWA membership.
2011’s Food Safety and Modernization Act, with security and other ramifications, is another piece of legislation that IBWA (through presentations at the SEBWA convention and on the SEBWA website) has explained to bottlers and vendors. Additionally, IBWA very actively stays on top of proposed recycling legislation, often testifying, and sometimes altering onerous proposals. The industry will be seeing more and more costly initiatives, as cash-strapped states, counties, and cities look to additional revenue sources and taxes.
Oftentimes, members are not even aware of the leadership shown by their local trade group, SEBWA. Last year’s convention in New Orleans was the highest-rated ever, due to the strength of the educational programs and IBWA’s presence. The convention always offers Continuing Educational Credits (CEUs) for bottlers and employees who need to maintain their IBWA Certified Plant Operator license or WQA Certification. This can be especially important as states move toward additional training requirements.
The message is loud and clear: SEBWA membership and support makes sense!