The non-alcoholic beverage industry is innovative and cutting-edge not just in the development of refreshing new products. It continues to be a trend-setter when it comes to environmental sustainability.

In fact, our industry was green before it was cool to be green.

The latest in an ongoing trend by our companies is further reduction in the amount of plastic used in its PET bottles, including for bottled water. It's a trend that really began decades ago. Remember back in the '80s when the 2-liter bottle was this big thick plastic container, with a thick plastic mouth and a big, black plastic "cup" to reinforce the bottom? Well those containers are long gone, replaced by more resource-efficient bottles.

Today, the race to reduce the amount of materials used in our packaging is as ambitious as ever. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle Waters North America and Dr Pepper Snapple Group are all carving new paths for environmental sustainability when it comes to their packaging. And their leadership is setting the pace for other industries that rely on plastic, aluminum or glass for their containers.

The competitive nature of our companies is not only good for them, but it's great for the environment. They're working together to reduce natural resources, cut the energy it takes to produce and deliver their products, and implement sustainable business practices throughout their operations (including use of solar and wind energy to power their facilities and hybrid trucks to deliver their products.)

Look, it's common sense. The fewer natural resources our companies use, the better it is for the environment and their bottom lines. It's why our companies have continually invested in research and innovation to find ways to conduct their business in environmentally sustainable ways.

Environmental sustainability is not a fad or a politically correct endeavor for our companies. It is a long, enduring and evolving part of their cultures. The facts clearly bear this out.

If you want to learn more about what our companies are doing, check out their web sites. And check out the American Beverage sites on water resources and recycling.

A lot of folks are talking about being green and setting long-term goals that make for good sound-bites. Our companies are out there putting green practices to work right now. And they'll remain the cutting-edge leaders among all of industry on environmental sustainability.

It's just in their nature.