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Study validates sustainability benefits of CHEP pallet pool

by | April 14, 2010
CHEP, a leader in pallet and container pooling, released a study April 1 that it says validates the company's ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and confirms the sustainability credentials of its equipment pooling solution.

In coordination with the release of the report, CHEP launched a new web site -- -- to help companies better understand how the use of CHEP pallets reduces their carbon footprint.

The 2009 life cycle inventory analysis demonstrates how the CHEP system creates significantly less solid waste, requires less total energy and reduces more greenhouse gas emissions than other common shipping platform solutions, including pooled plastic pallets and limited-use white wood pallets. The report was produced by Franklin Associates, a leading consultancy specializing in life cycle inventory analysis and solid waste management. It was peer reviewed by an academic expert in the area of life cycle inventory analysis.

According to the study, the CHEP system generates 48 percent less solid waste, consumes 23 percent less total energy and generates 14 percent less greenhouse gas than pooled plastic pallets. Compared with limited-use white wood pallets, the CHEP system generates 50 percent less solid waste, consumes 19 percent less total energy and generates 5 percent less greenhouse gas.

Jim Ritchie, CHEP Americas Group president, said in an April 1 press release, "The entire CHEP business model was founded on the principles of reuse and recycling more than 50 years ago. We continue to place a heavy emphasis on being a responsible corporate citizen and business partner. We are pleased with the independent third-party validation that our business is effectively managing resources and that the report from Franklin Associates confirms the positive impact CHEP's customers continue to make on the environment. CHEP is committed to proper stewardship of all natural resources, and this study proves our efforts continue to reap positive results for users throughout the supply chain."

CHEP USA has been using the life cycle inventory analysis methodology to quantify and reduce the environmental footprint of its products and services since 1999. The firm uses life cycle inventory data to identify and prioritize continuous-improvement initiatives across the organization and in the evaluation and design of new product and service offerings.

The unique feature of life cycle inventory analysis is its focus on the entire life cycle of a product, from raw material acquisition to final disposition, rather than on a single manufacturing step, process or environmental emission. It quantifies resource use, energy consumption and environmental emissions to the air, water and land for a given product system, using a comprehensive and standardized methodology outlined by ISO14000 (section 14040), an international environmental management standard.

The 2009 life cycle inventory analysis examines CHEP pooled wooden block pallets, pooled plastic pallets and non-pooled, limited-use white wood pallets.

The life cycle effects evaluated for each pallet system are extraction, processing and transportation of raw materials; platform processing and manufacturing; transportation of the platform to the customer; use of the platform by the customer (including transportation cycles); and recovery, reuse, recycling or disposal of each platform at the end of its useful life. After Franklin Associates conducted the life cycle inventory analysis, David Allen, director of the Center for Energy & Environmental Resources at the University of Texas, performed a peer review to further analyze and validate the methodology, assumptions and conclusions.

Dr. Allen has an extensive record of participation on national advisory boards and councils, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board.

Candice Herndon, director of environment and regulatory affairs for CHEP USA, said in the press release, "CHEP's pallet pooling system helps to maximize the inherent benefits of wood, a renewable, biodegradable, 100 percent recyclable and repairable material. Since CHEP maintains ownership of the pallet at all times in the supply chain, greater accountability and opportunity for control exists throughout the life cycle of the pallet."

CHEP has earned the respect of industry groups, leading media outlets and government bodies for its work in the area of environmental sustainability. The company was named one of Inbound Logistics magazine's 25 Green Supply Chain Partners and received the Supply & Demand Chain Executive Green Supply Chain Award.

Its new KnowTheFacts web site helps users determine sustainability progress and features applications that enable manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and other supply-chain participants to calculate the environmental benefits of their use of the CHEP program.

The new web site provides users with tools to depict graphically the reductions in solid waste, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions compared with other shipping platform systems.