Confronting the Misconceptions

March 1, 2016

Brian Isard

I wanted to draw your attention to recent events that could affect our industry and the response our industry associations have developed to prevent the spreading mistruths and negative marketing about our businesses and the industry we work in. 

The Change the Pallet initiative was launched in 2015. According to their website,, they claim that replacing wood pallets with corrugated pallets could potentially reduce CO2 emissions by hundreds of millions of metric tons due to their reduced weight during transport of product. Check out the video on the website.

The Change the Pallet initiative features a white paper explaining how a large international furniture chain had been able to reduce its carbon output by 300,000 metric tons by switching from wood pallets to corrugated pallets in 2012. 

The white paper was sent to the governors of all US states. This initiative was designed to be attached to environmental bills aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet climate pollution reduction goals.

Last month the Oregon State Legislature considered a bill requiring state agencies to use the new technology of corrugated cardboard pallets in their procurement activities.

As your industry association we investigated whether this was really a “grass roots” organization and with a little research we discovered that the company supporting this initiative was actually man-ufacturing the corrugated pallets. Here is more information about te company and their claims. 

Why should we care as Canadian producers of wood packaging? After all, this is US legislation not Canadian and we don’t have any members of our association in Oregon to answer to. 

My response is we better care because it paints the brand of wood as bad for the environment. We need to pay real close attention because as we have seen this sort of activity time and time again, events that take a foot hold in markets elsewhere which can have a profound influence on what happens in your own local markets in Canada.

The lobbying efforts of the NWPCA and WPA were successful in getting this particular legislative initiative halted for the time being in part by using information from Nature’s Packaging.  However, you can be sure there will be more challenges to come and Nature’s Packaging will be a key tool in overcoming these obstacles. Nature’s Packaging is a joint industry effort by the Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association, National Wood Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) and Western Pallet Association (WPA) to promote how the wood packaging industry operates in an environmentally sustainable manner.

This new Nature’s Packaging website,, is designed to:

  • provide outreach to our customers, supply chain professionals, and students in packaging related post-secondary programs, so we can battle the misconceptions and promote factual information on recycling and the sustainable attributes of our industry
  • help build relationships with other wood user groups now so that we can strengthen our responses to challenges as they arise
  • promote wood packaging over other materials, allowing your business to flourish

Look for more information to come about Nature’s Packaging, including how to access and use the Nature’s Packaging logo and downloadable brochures that you can use in your business to explain the environmental credentials of the wood packaging industry.

I encourage all of our members to come out to our Annual General Meeting in Toronto on May 16th to learn more about how to use Nature’s Packaging and how we hope it will benefit your business.

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