January-February 2021

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12 PalletCentral • January-February 2021 I n November, the NWPCA and the Pallet Foundation presented an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for U.S. wooden pallets that reinforces the environmental attributes of wooden pallets for the supply chain and procurement industries. This document, certified by UL and produced in conjunction with Forest Products Lab, the research wing of the U.S. Forest Service, is the first of its kind for a product in the distribution packaging space. This declaration speaks to the quantitative impact that wooden pallets have on the environment beyond their reusable, recyclable and biodegradable qualities. For the pallet industry, this is great news. It validates the viability of wood pallets as a great choice for use to your customers. It also helps educate and influence the public and naysayers to sway opinions that wood for pallet design and use is environmentally and economically sound, contributing to a circular economy. Over the course of this year, we will explore the facts of the EPD status so that you have all the information you need for your own communications, marketing and customer relations. Also, feel free to use the Media and Customer Talking Points (see pages 15-16) as you feel fit for your company. For now, let's explore why this is so important to your business. What's the Big Deal about UL? UL is all about Empowering Trust.® As the global safety science leader, UL helps companies to demonstrate safety, enhance sustainability, strengthen security, deliver quality, manage risk and achieve regulatory compliance. This is accomplished through the rigorous scientific processes and the highest ethical principles to help their customers – in this case the wooden pallet and container industry – to innovate fearlessly and drive positive change. The UL Mark engenders trust, enabling the safe adoption of new innovations, growing use of time-tested products – such as wooden pallets, and development of technologies. They test, inspect, audit, certify, validate, verify, advise, train and support the products they certify, ultimately with a focus on sustainability. You can be sure that the wooden pallet has been put through the ringer, and came out with high marks to achieve this trusted stamp of approval. But why is it so important? Sustainability and profitability go hand in hand in the 21st-century commerce. And customers are noticing. A 2019 study conducted on point-of-sale data on purchases by the Center for Sustainable Business at New York University's Stern School of Business established that sustainability-marketed products delivered 50.1% of market growth from 2013 to 2018 while representing 16.6% of the consumer-packaged-goods market in dollar sales for 2018. "These results were directly related to marketing efforts that highlighted the sustainability of those products," says Catherine Sheehy, who leads the advisory practice in UL's environment and sustainability. "This is not just about what consumers say they'll do. We say all sorts of things about what we will do. This is about what consumers actually do. And the proof is in the numbers." While we all know pallets are not a point-of-sale item, they are sustainability- and consumer-driven products that can escape certain stigmas with the association of the UL certification. The sheer fact NWPCA, the Pallet Foundation, UL and the U.S. Forest Service all had a hand in this certification holds unyielding merit. When considering its life cycle, wooden pallets can have a potential net carbon positive impact. What is it and why should it matter to pallet manufacturers. By Caryn Smith Environmental Product Declaration on Wooden Pallets WOOD WORK AT

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