Industry Watch: Finding Industry Data to Make An Impact

July 1, 2017

Last month, two CWPCA manufacturing members and I met with senior staff at Global Affairs Canada’s Softwood Lumber Division; these are the folks negotiating the new Softwood Lumber Agreement. Our mission was to raise the profile of our concerns around the trade case involving the exclusion of assembled and unassembled pallets from the Scope of Investigations for countervailing and anti-dumping duties.  During the meeting we were asked for information on Canadian wood packaging production manufacturing that we were unable to furnish them with. We need better data on the manufactured articles from our industry to support our efforts to improve market access for our products.

Provincial governments are looking to trade associations to define their industry’s recycling efforts under the new Zero Waste legislation that has been enacted over the past few years. Industries that are unable to supply the data that demonstrates their industry’s commitment to recycling are going to be disadvantaged as a result. Reducing packaging waste is a large focus of these new legislative initiatives and as an industry we need communicate the right message about our efforts to recycle our products.

We face the same problem when confronting some of the negative messaging that is being put out by companies using alternative materials in the media about wood packaging. We want to supply information about the excellent track record we have at repurposing and recycling efforts in which the industry is engaged. However, there is virtually no information available in Canada about the wood packaging industry’s recycling efforts.

We have made strides in identifying and using publicly available data from the Statistics Canada database but it mainly deals with sales data for the industry as a whole, with no distinction between new pallet and container manufacturing and recycling/reuse. It does not provide information on production volumes.

This year, the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association and the Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association are both conducting a survey to establish a database of information we can use to promote the North American wood packaging industry. We have sent the survey to manufacturing members and registered facilities in the HT Program, regardless of whether they make WPM for sale or their own use. This broader range of respondents should give us a better idea of production volumes and practices in the manufacture of wood packaging.

This survey is being conducted in a similar manner to the Wage and Benefit Survey done last year and ensures complete anonymity and confidentiality for respondents. Data shared in the survey cannot be tracked to individual respondents. Here is the link to the survey:

If you want to be effective in dealing with the government or marketing our industry’s best practices it’s important to have the right information. We ask for everyone’s support in completing the survey this month.

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