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Replace unnecessary pallet use with slip sheets


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

12. Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

SDG Target


Target Description

By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment

ETCH Procurement Process .png


Perform an internal assessment to determine your pallet requirements:
(a) track lifecycle of pallets in your business by mapping out from purchase, logistics, until disposal.
(b) cost per pallet including volume of purchases, disposal costs, and investigate pallet usage.
(c) pallet supplier contracts, and certifications.
(d) pallet specifications (such as type of material used, weight, load capacity, % recycled or refurbished, structural design).

Opportunity Identification 

Reduce spend on wooden pallet associated costs (purchase, disposal) and reduce the cost ratio of transportation cost/weight of these products.

Reduce pallet use where applicable, can reduce GHG emissions not only by reducing the amount of wood utilized but also optimizes weight and reduces transportation-related emissions.

Strategy Build & Execution

• Develop your strategy based on your research conducted in the assessment phase to determine your approach. Accordingly, create a simulation scenario/plan using slip sheets and analyze the associated risks, transportation, labour, and stability of the loads involved. Determine whether additional securities will be needed to ensure the loads' stability and evaluate the environmental impact of the new material into consideration. Balance this with the analysis of cost savings for the same product quantity.

• Secure alignment with your logistics team, site managers or any additional stakeholders about the change management process.

• Consider increasing supplier diversity during the discovery process if current suppliers can't be leveraged.

• Perform a Request for Information (RFI) for slip sheets, establish awarding points for environmentally friendly slip sheets.

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

• Conduct supplier negotiations by discussing the material used in the slip sheet manufacturing and ensuring recycled material (reused paper or recycled plastic) used in slip sheets by your suppliers offer incentives to suppliers who utilize sustainable materials/solutions into their processes.

• Leverage a long-term contract/guaranteed business and work into the contract the predicted volumes for lower rates with your suppliers.

• Offer incentives to suppliers who can leverage more sustainable solutions as they emerge.

Supplier Performance & Management

• Perform annual Supplier Relationship Review (as supplier relationship is vital for a successful closed-loop system) and required sustainability reporting in yearly reviews.

• Maintain records of turnaround time, pallet quality, purchasing and warehousing cost, average inventory level, and inventory variations.

• Perform an internal review after the change has been implemented to evaluate pooled pallet use's commercial impact and such a pallet pool system's environmental impact.

Resource Links

Carrano, Andres L, Thorn, Brian K, & Woltag, Henry. (2014). Characterizing the carbon footprint of wood pallet logistics. Forest Products Journal, 64(7-8), 232-241.)

Anil, Sebastian K, Ma, Junfeng, Kremer, Gül E, Ray, Charles David, & Shahidi, Shirin M. (2020). Life cycle assessment comparison of wooden and plastic pallets in the grocery industry. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 24(4), 871-886.

Characterizing the Carbon Footprint of Wood Pallet Logistics

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