It’s that time of the year when we step back and reflect on all that has transpired. Sometimes it’s hard to find the good, with all the tumult and unrest in society. Conflict, polarization and greed, both corporate and personal, are the headlines of the news stories we are confronted with every day. Pundits opine that we’ve lost our moral compass. Sometimes it’s hard to disagree. Hopefully this election, with its emphatic message for change, will be the flashpoint to get us back on track and bring us together.
With all that said, I’m still the eternal optimist. I see all that is good and is yet to be accomplished. While I can’t speak for society and the economy in general, I look at our industry as a reflection of what can be done.
It is in this view that I claim that it is incumbent upon the beverage retailers, marketers and distributors to take leadership roles within their communities. We are a high-profile industry and we must act accordingly. It is imperative that we take the initiative in developing products that help reduce obesity and the other health issues that plague our populace.
I implore you to get involved with causes on both the local and national levels. I am always heartened when I see beverage companies sponsor breast cancer and AIDS walks, Operation Smile, and other important charities. Help those people who protect the environment. You could start with more eco-friendly packaging! There are plenty of alternatives to overfilling our landfills. Help your employees by making your facilities healthy and safe. Individually and as a business, choose an organization and get involved. Chains that support local charities and children’s programs are performing good works. It’s a win-win, though, because the fact that you’re increasing your visibility and credibility doesn’t hurt, either.
Smaller businesses can sponsor a Little League, basketball, or soccer team. Keeping kids busy and participating in sports accomplishes a myriad of positive goals.
In 2005, the response to Hurricane Katrina on the part of the bottled water industry was tremendous. But what have we done in 2006? What do we have planned for 2007? Let’s expand into need-based food programs and other relief efforts.
Our industry has been exemplary in its support of our communities and various causes, but there is still much more we can do. The holiday period brings out the best in everyone. Make that feeling last all year long. Doing good is the right thing to do.
And to all of you, let me wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.