Pelican survey

Survey sees continued drive toward more sustainable cold-chain packaging solutions

Pelican Biothermal’s 2020 study highlights gap between corporate goals and distribution practices


For several years now, Pelican Biothermal has been promoting the use of reusable, high-performance packaging in cold chain shipments; to this end it has established a global network of sales, service and return-logistics offices. (The company also sells single-use packaging.) Now, in its latest annual survey, it finds that 89% of pharma managers polled rate meeting sustainability goals “important” to “very important.” This has translated into “a steady uptick” in use of reusable packaging, acquired (in 2019) by 39% of those polled, with 25% more “exploring” the option.

“Five years in, the pharmaceutical industry and its cold chain logistics partners have been slower than most to prioritize sustainability in business and operational strategies,” the report notes. But the pace might be picking up: the survey found that 52% of respondents were being audited for their sustainability practices (and an even higher percentage were auditing their suppliers).

Pelican Biothermal—and others—have made a pitch that, when a full-on packaging-reuse program is in place, its total cost of ownership can beat the cost of single-use packaging, with the added assurance of better protection for temperature-sensitive shipments.

The Pelican survey is available here.