Colleges Ask Campus Suppliers to Change the Pallet

In 2018, Change the Pallet pivoted its advocacy efforts to focus on the procurement policies of hospitals, universities, colleges, government agencies and others that have tens of millions of pallets delivered to their facilities and campuses each year. 

The theory is simple: use your purchasing power to drive behavior change when it comes to deliveries of products and services. Once companies like Office Depot and Apple start hearing from customers such as Harvard and Duke, they’ll have to comply, thus driving systemic change.

This is not breaking the mold. Universities have thick manuals that suppliers must follow. Same for most companies. Take Walmart, which requires all shipments to its distribution centers to be on extra-heavy wood pallets.

This week, our 18-month effort has reached a major milestone.


Letter to Suppliers

Twenty senior university and college officials, global sustainability leaders and retired U.S. Army Colonels have written to the CEOs of more than 35 U.S. companies that service the public sector. The Joint Letter to Suppliers calls on companies such as Apple, Dell, Nike, and Aramark to replace wood and plastic pallets with lightweight, recyclable corrugated cardboard pallets for shipments to campuses and government facilities. 

The letter, which encloses a fact sheet titled How Corrugated Pallets Reduce Emissions and the testimony of an IKEA store manager detailing the efficacy and benefits of IKEA’s switch to corrugated pallets, was also sent to the CEOs of several Group Purchasing Organizations, which are responsible for shipments to scores of university and college campuses, and hospitals.

AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability USA joined CTP and ~15 senior higher education officials. AASHE and ICLEI represent hundreds of global member institutions and cities working toward lower carbon footprints via scalable, cost-advantageous technologies.


Our New Website

The letter and PR campaign are supported by the launch of the new Change the Pallet website. The new site includes a form for other schools, companies, municipalities, and individuals to add their names to this growing list of signatories, and it will track campaign progress as additional signatories add their names and those of their organizations to this call for action.


Thank You

Change the Pallet is a three-person shop, all of whom are part-time. This was a massive undertaking. But the real credit goes to the college officials who took the time to study this issue and take a leap of faith. AASHE and ICLEI have spent years establishing their organizations as world-class leaders in the field. Their willingness to join CTP on the masthead is beyond humbling. And last but far from least, we know that so many of you help us in ways that we don't know, sharing our work through social media, raising the issue in meetings, etc. Thank you.