Biopharma firms focus on sustainability in cold chain purchasing decisions

Plymouth, Minneapolis, USA: Nearly half of all respondents to a biopharma survey say they always factor sustainability into cold chain purchasing decisions, according to temperature-controlled packaging company Pelican BioThermal.

The findings were revealed in Pelican BioThermal’s 2020 Biopharma Cold Chain Logistics Sustainability Survey.

“Biopharma companies work every day to manufacture and distribute drug products all over the world, and their primary focus is on the safety and efficacy of these life-saving products,” said David Williams, president of Pelican BioThermal. “As biopharma companies begin to accelerate work on their sustainability goals, our survey shows they expect the same of their supply chain partners. The cold chain industry needs to continue its focus on improving green thinking to keep pace with its biopharma clients.”

Overall, the survey uncovered three key trends. The first trend indicates that although 66% of organisations rate sustainability as very important, valuing sustainability hasn’t yet translated into widespread action. More than half of respondents—53%–reported their companies don’t currently use sustainable or green initiatives in their organisations. But organisations have a desire to work with companies that help them advance their sustainability goals, ultimately moving sustainability from valuable to actionable.

The second trend speaks to how cold chain partners can help advance biopharma companies’ sustainability goals and how biopharma companies seek to partner with like-minded organisations. More than half (53%) of biopharma companies indicate that it’s very important to choose cold chain packaging options that advance their organisation’s sustainability.

Additionally, 64% of organisations inquire about sustainability when performing audits of suppliers and 52% indicated that they, too, were audited for sustainability by vendors supplying their organisations. It’s not enough anymore to say an organisation is committed to sustainability- proof is now important to prevent legal issues and protect reputation.

The final trend reveals that recyclability and lower emissions matter. Greater focus is being put on how cold chain packaging is constructed, with increasingly high value placed on cold chain packaging that is recyclable or can more easily enter the waste stream. Nearly half of respondents (48%) always look for packaging with these characteristics.

Likewise, the industry leans toward lighter, more energy efficient shippers that reduce carbon emissions for temperature-sensitive pharma products being shipped by air. More than half (56%) already use these shippers and 81% are likely to use energy-efficient packaging in the future. These solutions already exist, allowing biopharma companies to make quick progress toward sustainability goals.

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