Everything you need to know about ISPM 15 international standards


Wood packaging is regularly used to transport many goods between different territories. However, wood materials intended for export must comply with the requirements of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures 15, known as ISPM 15.

Developed by the United Nations (UN) International Plant Protection Convention, these export standards mainly deal with the treatment of wood.

ISPM 15 international standard objectives

The purpose of the International Plant Protection Convention in regulating the treatment of wood is clear: to prevent the risk of contamination and spread of harmful organisms in trade, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and insects that can have a negative impact on plants and ecosystems.

These environmental and health objectives are imposed in more than 160 countries and aim to ensure the preservation of biodiversity and the protection of the environment and public health.

The wood materials covered by ISPM 15 standards

Note that these standards apply to all wood packaging materials over 6 mm, such as shipping pallets, crates or boxes. However, these apply only to packaging made of solid wood. Components manufactured from plywood are therefore not covered by the ISPM 15 export standards.

Treatments applied to wood to meet ISPM-15 export standards

For a wood packaging to comply with ISPM 15, it must go through a specific process.

As a first step, the wood must be debarked. It will then be marked DB for “Debarked”. It will then be heat treated and marked with the acronym HT for “Heat Treated”. There is an alternative to heat treatment which is methyl bromide fumigation. In this case, the wood will be marked with the letters MB. This treatment is no longer in use in Europe, where the use of methyl bromide has been banned.

Lastly, the wood will ultimately be stamped with a mark indicating the packaging’s compliance with the ISPM 15 standard.

In some cases, wood pallets can be marked with KD for “kiln-dried”, meaning oven-dried. This technique, which aims to produce wood with a moisture content below 20%, also complies with ISPM 15 shipping standards. This technique is particularly useful for the furniture industries, as it reduces wood deformation.

Regulatory developments

Since the standard was revised in 2009, the original process has somewhat changed. It is now mandatory to manufacture wood packaging from debarked wood. As a result, the DB marking no longer appears on the packaging.

Creopack, your supplier of ISPM 15 compliant wooden crates

You now know about the ISPM 15 export standards and the importance of respecting them when designing your wooden packaging.

If you wish to purchase quality wooden crates, boxes or pallets that are resistant to export conditions and comply with ISPM 15 regulations, Creopack is your supplier. As experts in custom packaging design, our team and products will meet your needs. Contact us now for more information.