Our Life Science business ships over 30,000 packages each day. So, how does our SMASH Packaging initiative ensure it’s done responsibly? We caught up with Fabien Thibault, Global Manager of Product and Packaging Sustainability, to find out…
Fabien, what is “SMASH Packaging” and how does it help us to be more sustainable?
SMASH Packaging is a comprehensive initiative that aims to drive significant improvement in the sustainability of packaging across our organization. Through SMASH, we’re collaborating with our colleagues, vendors, and customers to find solutions that minimize packaging requirements, increase our reliance on sustainable materials, and maximize recycling – all the while adhering to performance and regulatory requirements.
Still curious? Find out more about our SMASH Packaging initiative.
We’ve also created an antibody that allows us to reduce temperature-regulating packaging. Can you tell us how it works, and whether it was designed for this purpose or the result of curious experimentation?
Common antibodies need to be kept cold to ensure stability and performance. However, this new and innovative antibody was developed for use at room temperature – markedly reducing the need for insulated containers and ice blocks when shipping to clients. It’s a great example of how heightened curiosity and a greater understanding of a product’s life cycle ¬– including how it’s stored and shipped – can minimize environmental impact.
A McMaster University study suggests carbon emissions from the pharma industry eclipse those of the automotive sector. Do you think SMASH Packaging can inspire more sustainability in the Life Science field?
As science and technology company, it’s our duty to use the Earth’s resources in a safe and responsible way. This includes optimizing our product designs, using more sustainable materials/processes, and ensuring our products and packaging can be reused and recycled. SMASH Packaging tackles all of these key issues – making it an important and worthwhile journey I believe other companies will follow.
In your personal experience, what’s been the most challenging part of bringing the initiative to life? In retrospect, would you have done anything differently?
The most challenging part was to align the initiative’s core targets with those of key, internal stakeholders. By involving them early in the development process, we had a greater opportunity for dialogue and collaboration – which helped enormously in defining and successfully rolling out the initiative.
How has curiosity helped you to identify and pursue sustainability goals with teams from our different businesses?
We work in a complex organization, comprising 60 manufacturing sites and 130 distribution centers worldwide. Packaging is present in almost all parts of our business – coming in many different forms and with a multitude of constraints. Being curious about how packaging is designed and how it’s used is paramount in understanding how it can be optimized and improved – something that requires close collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
What advice would you give others who are curious about improving sustainability in packaging and shipping operations?
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is particularly applicable when describing an initiative of this nature. Actively pursue dialogue and collaboration with relevant parties, if you want to make a significant impact. Stay curious and don’t limit yourself to your own field. Packaging innovations can happen anywhere, so keep abreast of developments that could also apply to your business.
Thanks to our SMASH Packaging initiative, we’ve already achieved improvements that will reduce over 100 metric tons of corrugated and plastic packaging annually.