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FEFPEB’s Hold Wooden Pallets and Packaging Conference in Ireland

21 Mar 2016

Late 2015 saw the 66th congress of the European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB) in Cork, Ireland. FEFPEB is the recognised European trade organisation for timber packaging associations from constituent European countries. Representatives of packaging and pallet producers from across Europe and the world gathered to discuss the topic of ‘a sustainable business in a fast-changing world’.

Cause for concern

The 66th congress was of particular note in light of the growing use of plastic pallets and packaging goods; a fact that is causing concern for some wood pallet manufacturers. A key presentation during one of the congress sessions revealed that companies in the plastics industry had been running numerous publicity campaigns around the world, many of which had harmed the image of wood pallets. Delegates felt that campaigns of this nature had led to a growing degree of negativity in the media, and that misunderstanding and lack of knowledge as to the sustainability of wood were still widespread issues.

The FEFPEB’s Global Forum, which contains industry leaders from North America, Japan, China, South Korea, South Africa and Australia, as well as Europe, met to consider solutions for this problem. Delegates agreed that far tighter international coordination of public messages is required regarding the positive impacts of using wood. It was reported that this is now regarded as a vital step in defending the global industry from the damaging effects of negative and inaccurate media representation.

Any other business

Although there were some issues giving rise to concern, wooden pallets price structures were not among them at the congress. This reflects the cheap materials and simple procedures used in their manufacture. Representatives from Japanese, Korean and Chinese pallet manufacturers gave informative presentations on developments in their own countries. American and Canadian industry leaders also illustrated the joint public relations campaign that they will be launching this year.

Closer to home, the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries’ chairperson held a session on the overlap between the industry’s prioritised areas and the stated policy objectives of the EU, presenting the possibilities for advancement in the sector along these lines.

Another presentation informed delegates as to recent technological advances in areas such as ISPM 15, the legislation regarding the sanitisation of wooden pallets used for international shipping, from which plastic pallets are exempt. Developments in this area have been published by FEFPEB in a new study detailing the safety of wood as a material for transporting food. Advances in the quality of scanning technology were also discussed, which could lead to further reductions in wooden pallets price structures.

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