MilliporeSigma Drives Packaging Sustainability Through New Program

By Joan Mantini

The pharma industry needs products quickly, efficiently and safely — calling for high-quality, high-performance packaging, and MilliporeSigma is one company working to ensure it delivers products that help meet its customers’ needs, such as sterile environments, temperature control conditions and the protection of products as they are distributed around the world.

“As the global supply chain continues to advance and more and more people access lifesaving treatments and therapies, there is a clear opportunity to make sure that sustainability is a part of that growth,” said Jeffrey Whitford, head of corporate responsibility and branding at MilliporeSigma.

Indeed, sustainability is vital to MilliporeSigma’s customers, with nearly 90 percent of those surveyed considering it important. With this in mind, the company reportedly wants to ensure that the packaging of its more than 300,000 products is sustainable to help its business and its customers reduce environmental impacts and costs. This is especially crucial given the volume of packaging required for the approximately 30,000 packages that MilliporeSigma ships to customers globally each day. This objective drives the company’s ambition to tackle these challenges across three areas:

  1. Excess packaging requires more resources than needed, leads to increased logistics and is hard to dispose of;
  2. Sourcing packaging materials from non-sustainable sources may contribute to global issues, such as deforestation; and
  3. Use of packaging not compatible with recycling or not properly labelled leads to excess waste to landfills and to the environment.

As part of MilliporeSigma’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact, the company has launched a new SMASH Packaging Plan — a four-year approach to drive improvement in the sustainability of its packaging. Through this initiative, MilliporeSigma is setting new standards and goals to shrink, secure, switch and save packaging while still meeting the required performance requirements and transit safety regulations. These four goals are organized under three categories and include specific targets for 2022. The company plans to transparently report progress toward these goals which include:

  1. Optimize Resources

Goal: Shrink — Reduce amount of packaging

  1. More Sustainable Materials

Goal: Secure — Achieve zero deforestation

Goal: Switch — Improve plastic sustainability

  1. Design for Circular Economy

Goal: Save — Maximize recycling

“As a leading science and technology company, it is our responsibility to use Earth’s resources wisely. Our SMASH Packaging Plan is a comprehensive approach to develop more sustainable packaging for our new products and to globally improve the sustainability of our existing products and distribution packaging,” said Fabien Thibault, global manager of product and packaging sustainability. “We are at the beginning of a challenging but exciting journey that will have a positive impact on both our customers and the environment for the long term.”

The SMASH Packaging Plan demonstrates MilliporeSigma’s commitment to sustainable business throughout the life cycle of its products. This four-year program will allow the company to use less packaging, select more sustainable materials and make it easier to recycle.