Join colleges and universities in signing

Letter to Suppliers

This joint letter to suppliers was sent to the CEOs of 38 companies, copying Supply Chain and Sustainability executives. It was cosigned by AASHE, ICLEI USA, and a growing list of colleges and universities around the country. The letter asks—not directs—suppliers to consider shipping to college and university campuses on lightweight, recyclable corrugated cardboard pallets instead of wood or plastic, for their ability to reduce emissions. Additional endorsements came from Roger Ballentine, Former Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Environmental Initiatives, as well as three retired U.S. Army Logisticians.


Dear CEOs,

adidas North America
Boston Scientific
Cisco Systems
The Coca-Cola Company
E&I Cooperative Services

Keystone Purchasing Network
Office Depot
OMNIA Partners
Pearson Education
Procter & Gamble
Thermo Fisher Scientific
US Foods
W.B. Mason
WAXIE Sanitary Supply

As approved suppliers to universities, colleges, and governments, your company is familiar with the public's growing commitment to environmental stewardship and its meaningful role in driving educational and business practices. We know that your company shares this commitment to reducing carbon footprints, resource usage, and waste when possible.

With that in mind, we write to invite your collaboration on an emerging technology that will advance these shared environmental goals: corrugated cardboard shipping pallets. A few reasons why this technology is preferable to conventional wooden pallets are summarized as follows.

First, corrugated pallets weigh ~80 percent less than wood pallets. Lighter pallets require less fuel for transport, thereby reducing fuel consumption. We recognize that on an individual scale, a reduction in pallet weight might not be especially impactful. Collectively, however, this weight reduction decreases fuel usage and will help reduce CO2 emissions in a meaningful way. Please see the enclosed How Corrugated Pallets Reduce Emissions document.

Second, cardboard pallets lead to fewer truck movements. Removing wood and plastic pallets from campuses and government facilities requires additional, unnecessary truck segments, adding Scope 3 emissions and undermining efforts to minimize waste. Conversely, corrugated pallets can be left in recycling bins already in place, where they are taken with other recyclables in a manner that does not require additional pallet-specific truck movements. The net effect is more recycling revenue, advancement of zero waste goals and fewer trucks.

Third, corrugated pallets are 100% recyclable. Corrugated pallets are often capable of multiple uses, but when their use is complete they are fully recyclable. Though wood pallets can be recycled, statistics indicate that all too often they end up in landfills. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, wood pallets account for 2-3% of all waste landfilled in the United States.

Fourth, corrugated pallets reduce risks to our employees. An IKEA store manager summarized the impact of IKEA's enterprise-wide switch to corrugated pallets in stating: "Paper pallets are light! This not only opened up job opportunities to a more diverse and gender balance[d] workforce in Logistics, but helped to significantly reduce back injuries in our store." Ms. Zini's full testimony before the Oregon House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development is enclosed.

For these reasons and more, we request that future palletized shipments to campuses and governmental facilities be sent on recyclable corrugated pallets whenever possible. Each pallet received by these facilities and campuses that is easy to handle, easy to recycle, and that requires fewer or no additional unnecessary truck movements for its removal / retrieval is a meaningful improvement.

Thank you for your time and your commitment to the environment.


Angie Fyfe
Executive Director

Meghan Fay Zahniser
Executive Director

Adam M. Pener
Change the Pallet



Allegheny College
Kelly Boulton
Sustainability Coordinator

Bard College
Laurie Husted
Chief Sustainability Officer

Bucknell University
Ken Ogawa
Associate Vice President for Facilities & Sustainability

Colgate University
John Pumilio
Director of Sustainability

Goshen College
Caleb Longenecker Fox
Annual Giving & Advancement Coordinator

Haverford College
Jesse H. Lytle
Vice President & Chief of Staff

Johnson County Community College
Jay Antle
Executive Director, Center for Sustainability

Medical University of South Carolina
Christine von Kolnitz
Sustainability Manager

Muhlenberg College
Richard Niesenbaum
Director of Sustainability Studies

Northland College
Karl Solibakke
Chief Operating Officer

Prescott College
Peter M. Sherman, Ph.D.
Chief Sustainability Officer

Shoreline Community College
Cheryl Roberts, Ed.D.

Susquehanna University
Derek Martin
Sustainability Coordinator

Swarthmore College
Aurora Winslade
Director of Sustainability

Union College
Alexander C. Lykins
Sustainability Coordinator

University of Colorado
Kayla Kutter
Sustainability Procurement Program Manager

University of Miami
Teddy Lhoutellier
Sustainability Manager

University of Rochester
Mary Ellen Liss
Purchasing Manager, Corporate Purchasing

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Dave Barbier
Sustainability Coordinator


Roger Ballentine
President, Green Strategies
Former Chairman, White House Climate Change Task Force
Former Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Environmental Initiatives

United States Army
Todd A. Heussner
Colonel USA
Retired, Career Logistician

United States Army
Darrel G. Larson
Colonel USA
Retired, Career Logistician

United States Army
Jon McCoy
Colonel USA
Retired, Career Logistician

Shipping on wooden pallets is the norm, but those can be heavy and end up reducing transportation fuel efficiency, leading to increased pollution. Change the Pallet is doing just that, changing the pallet game and reducing those unnecessary emissions!
— Denver Office of Sustainability