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ISTA Advocate Program Researchers are in the Field and Solicitation of Interested Parties to Join the Advocate Council Continues

The current 21 members of the ISTA Advocate Research & Value Delivery Program have pledged $1,500,000 to fund projects toward accomplishing the goal of the Program “To conduct research and data collection that improves testing and design methodologies to keep pace with the rapidly evolving global supply chain and enhance the knowledge of existing channels.”

In addition, they are participating in the belief it will advance the goals of their enterprise. We have also received numerous endorsements acknowledging that the research generated by the Advocate Program will serve to minimize the risk of product damage while lowering waste, cost and the environmental footprint of packaging.

Significant progress has been made on the five projects originally prioritized by the Advocate Council:

RFP-0001 Eliminate Over-Packaging
The Eliminate Over-Packaging project seeks to develop and validate a new technique that quantifies how far beyond a chosen performance and confidence level a package is able to protect the product it contains.
Status: (RFP now open)

RFP-0002 Research of Transit Damage Figures
To assess damage levels experienced during distribution for various commodities shipped via various modes and quantifying their monetary impact in an effort to prioritize ISTA’s work.
Status: Closed.

RFP-0003 Measurement and Multi-Axis Simulation of Unit Load Stability Transportation Hazards
To collect data on the motions and forces to which unit loads are subjected during transport yielding tools that can assist with package and unit load design.
Status: RFP with a North American scope ready for distribution to potential researchers.

RFP-0004 Develop Test Protocol to predict package performance in e-Commerce Retailer and Consolidator Shipping Systems
Identify common handling processes for all eCommerce channels and transportation modes to develop a recommended method for replicating this unique supply chain channel.
Status: Advocates have provided additional scope input to start with Phase 1, a mapping of existing ecommerce distribution channels to prioritize those that need further study. Closed.

RFP-0005 Distribution Environment Data Collection – Phase 1
Documentation of the transport modes, storage, and handling methods involved in the distribution of CPGs, including “last segments”, in predetermined regions to assess the type and amount of new or collaborative data that needs to be collected.
Status: Closed.

The benefits of being an Advocate member company are numerous:
1. Allows direct input into the type and scope of research that will drive the future of distribution packaging.
2. Demonstrates to your customers you are vested in their goals of design and testing aimed at lowest cost and environmental footprint to get your, or their, products to market safely.
3. Leverages the research dollars and technical expertise of other Advocate Council members and ISTA’s international network of packaging experts to deliver meaningful project results.
4. Provides strategic direction to your company by knowing where package design and testing is headed.
5. Assists in achieving your sustainability goals while supporting your sustainability leadership image in the market.
6. Enhances your ability to provide optimal packaging solutions to strengthen existing customer relationships and aid in securing new business.
7. Gives you access to the information generated as much as 18 months ahead of release to the broader ISTA membership.

Research findings will begin coming in this fall, but, it’s not too late to get involved. Multi-year pledges made with payments starting as late as the first quarter of 2017 are currently being accepted at the following levels of participation:
Leader: $100,000 (voting rights)
Partner: $50,000
Sustainer: $25,000

Membership rules are changing: For planning purposes please be aware that at their March meeting the ISTA Global Board of Directors took action to remove the Partner ($50,000) and Sustainer ($25,000) levels from the Program effective with pledges received after 9/30/16. This was done to protect the investment of the existing Advocates once the useable information begins being disclosed in the 4th quarter of this year. If companies have been waiting to become an Advocate at these levels now is the time. Participation begins with a signed pledge (can be up to five years) and the initial payment can be delayed until the first quarter of 2017.

Current members of the Advocate Council represent all areas of ISTA membership and include:
Leaders: ABF Freight; Fibre Box Association; General Mills; International Paper; Lansmont Corporation; Packaging Corporation of America; Pepsico; Sauder; SC Johnson; Sealed Air; Sonoco Protective Solutions; Westpak; WestRock. Partners: Bay Cities; Smithers Pira. Sustainers: Dow; gh Testing; Pro-Pack Testing Laboratory, Inc.; Ring Container Technologies; TEN-E Packaging Services.

For more information, copies of the Program prospectus, or to set up an appointment for a presentation, please contact Dwight Schmidt, ISTA Advocate Program Manager at 317-753-1437, or A.J. Gruber, ISTA President at 517-333-3437, ext. 212,


The following companies and organizations support the goals of the program to develop new knowledge to optimize packages to reduce the risk of product damage while lowering waste, cost and the environmental footprint of packaging.