Change the Pallet Congratulates IKEA on 5-Year Anniversary of Globally Changing the Pallet

Global Retail and Sustainability Leader Long Ago Proved It – When Will U.S. Retailers and Grocers Catch Up?

Portland, Oregon, January 24, 2017 – Change the Pallet congratulates IKEA® on the fifth anniversary of its ground-breaking global switch from wood to paper pallets, reducing the company’s carbon footprint by some four hundred thousand metric tons since 2012. All told, IKEA® receives and ships ~35 million paper pallets per year, covering hundreds of manufacturing and retail facilities on five continents. Worth noting is the fact that IKEA® is the world’s largest consumer of wood (i.e., the first major retailer in the world to be wood pallet free makes its money on wood products…). 

Remarkably—despite IKEA’s® proven multi-billion-dollar savings and significant reductions in carbon emissions—U.S. retailers have yet to follow suit. 

Said Change the Pallet’s executive director, Adam Pener: “It’s unclear why IKEA®’s competitors haven’t copied a proven global logistics model that has saved IKEA® billions of dollars, but we do know that many U.S. retailers actually require suppliers to ship on wood pallets, and in some cases, outright refuse shipments sent on lightweight, recyclable pallet alternatives. Put simply, U.S. retailers have created a defector monopoly for heavy, emissions-increasing wood pallets.” 

IKEA® launched its “Handling Material - No Wood” program on a global basis in 2012, achieving a 20 percent increase in “truck efficiency,” which the company defines as the amount of additional product that can be placed on trucks through the use of paper pallets. In short, IKEA® uses fewer trucks to ship the same amount of product. Today, an amazing 98 percent of IKEA’s shipments, across the entirety of its global supply chain, are on paper pallets. “Through their leadership and stewdardship,” says Mr. Pener, “IKEA® is proving to the world that companies can do well by doing good.”

To understand the savings models for IKEA®’s ~35 million annual paper pallet shipments, a very baseline calculation can be applied: 35 million times [x] 40 fewer pounds per pallet = 1.4 billion fewer pallet pounds shipped per year. Another way to look at it: U.S. retailers are effectively choosing to ship billions of extra pounds per year. The second layer of savings is likewise straightforward: if IKEA® used to employ 50,000 trucks to move product, now it only requires some 42,000 trucks. 

IKEA® recently released its 2016 Sustainability Report, which is a must read for those in the U.S. sustainability community that are promoting best conservation and financial practices. More information about IKEA®’s “Handling Materials No Wood” program is also available on Change the Pallet’s website.

Change the Pallet is a project of The Forward Edge Initiative, an Oregon-based nonprofit. It educates and advocates for a national shift from wood to corrugated pallets, with the goal of protecting American workers, eliminating millions of shipping pounds, reducing carbon emissions massively, and saving consumers and taxpayers billions of dollars. Change the Pallet recently made global news when the World Bank's prestigious Connect4Climate named it a Knowledgeable Partner, and published an article titled “Change Pallets for Climate Change”.

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