January-February 2016

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10 PalletCentral • January-February 2016 ooden pallets, a great product – sustainable, economical, durable and able to be designed in almost an infinite number of shapes and sizes. What a great product and American small business success story. The year, 1989, and the same could be said for the red apple industry. "An apple-a-day keeps the doctor away," what could be a better slogan for your product? On February 26, 1989, the late Ed Bradley appearing on the well-known CBS Sunday TV staple, 60 Minutes, said: "The most potent cancer-causing agent in our food supply is a substance sprayed on apples to keep them on the trees longer and make them look better. That's the conclusion of a number of scientific experts, and who is most at risk? Children, who may someday develop cancer." The Alar story became the equivalent of a viral media story today. The story was run on Phil Donahue, the Today Show, CNN, and in the Washington Post and New York Times. The world famous actress, Meryl Streep, announced on television the formation of "Mothers and Others for Pesticide Limits." The immediate effect was apple juice being poured down kitchen sinks and apple sauce getting thrown away. Apples were removed from the menu for school lunch programs, and mothers lit-up the phone lines at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking about the risk to their children. The maelstrom was so severe from the story that apple prices plummeted and growers were financially impacted, and some farmers even went bankrupt – even those who did not use Alar. Tangentially, Citizen Alliance at the time claimed Florida grapefruit also contained Alar residue. Grapefruit in Korea, for example, was subsequently left on the docks and it's estimated that up to 90 percent of buyers stopped purchasing grapefruits in Korea – Alar is not used on citrus. The alarm was a hoax. In the aftermath, the Environmental Protection Agency Scientific Advisory Panel concluded that the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), who helped provide the "evidence," provided faulty evidence and the data was flawed. The EPA rejected it because it did not conform to standards of research and review established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, NRDC had planned the 'attack campaign' well in advance and worked with a public relations firm to coordinate and carry out the campaign against Alar. The firm had worked months in advance with 60 Minutes on the piece. Crisis provides the ultimate tests of individuals and companies. Times of crisis are not the time to shoot- from-the-hip and extemporaneously speak to the issue in front of the local newspaper or potentially national television news teams. Conventional management practices are inadequate to maintain customer and stakeholder confidence. Time, media and social pressures can overwhelm sound cognitive decision making. Crisis Management "Responding at the Speed of Social Media" By Patrick Atagi BUSINESS The A.R.C. Philosophy What is the A.R.C. philosophy? A.R.C. stands for: Assess (exploration), Resolve (plan development), and Control (implementation). Drawing on their expertise with its A.R.C. philosophy, the renowned public relations firm, FleishmanHillard, will speak during the NWPCA Annual Leadership Conference, March 2 – 4, Orlando, Florida, on how to address a crisis and use their A.R.C. viewpoint. Hear more about, "Protecting Your Business When Crisis Hits" and "Managing the Crisis – a Panel Discussion," on how you can be well prepared for crisis management in 2016. W

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