Podcast #12 | Navigating Sustainability in the Healthcare Logistics – Air Canada Cargo & Cold Chain Technologies

In the ever-evolving landscape of sustainability within the pharmaceutical industry, our latest podcast episode offers an exclusive opportunity to gain insights into the multifaceted approach towards greener supply chain logistics.

Join Frank Van Gelder, Secretary General of Pharma.Aero, and his guests, Janet Wallace, Managing Director Cargo Operations & Transformation at Air Canada, and Kristof De Smedt, Global Business Unit Director at Cold Chain Technologies. Together, they illuminate the path forward in driving sustainability initiatives within the pharmaceutical supply chain.

The conversation delves deeper into the challenges and opportunities inherent in the pursuit of sustainability. From meeting evolving customer expectations to addressing the complexities of reverse logistics, the episode offers a comprehensive exploration of key industry dynamics.

Janet Wallace (Air Canada Cargo): “I don’t think we can turn a blind eye to sustainability. From my perspective, the customer is going to take me there regardless, so I need to get on board and better understand what all these requirements are and figure out how I’m going to try to meet those requirements. So there’s a lot of education to be done.”

Kristof De Smedt (Cold Chain Technologies):We keep sustainability very high on the priority as we are driven by the life science companies. That is a trend that we see happening already for years. How we look at it is to help the life science healthcare industry optimize packaging but not downplaying performance. Quality is paramount, we should not give in on the performance of our products but we are indeed actively looking to reuse solutions, find other insulative materials, etc. It goes even further to processes. Where do we want to produce? The company is headquartered in the US. We have now a radar on growing outside of the US. So we have manufacturing sites in Europe, also in Asia. LATAM has been kicked off last year. So that also touches on sustainability. It’s not only the packaging but also process-wise.”

Janet Wallace (Air Canada Cargo): “We need to get to the point where we’re looking at empty miles. So what’s moving around the planet and how is it coming back, as you mentioned, the reverse logistics becomes paramount.”

“The closer we can bring the shipper to the discussion, the better we’re all going be in terms of tying up all the gaps that are in the supply network. We see that clearly a lot of pharma companies, not only Lifescience but other companies have sustainability goals in the short term and also long term. How do you want to contribute? What is possible on our side? The earlier you start the discussion with all the stakeholders, the better the solution that comes out. Not all airports are created equal, and not all handlers are created equal, so even when we participate in the evaluation of the trade lanes, sometimes we have the aircraft, we have the packaging, and we have the customer, but we just don’t have the handling capabilities to meet that and we have to opt-out because that’s the truth.”

Kristof De Smedt (Cold Chain Technologies): “Sustainability and acting aligned with that is going to come as a condition of employment. If we can’t follow that trend or we cannot actively participate, we will basically be out of business, because it’s around us. There are a lot of ideas, but I see that there is no strict standard yet. There is a lot of talk on CO2 reduction, but there’s no clear guideline yet, so that will come, but the early adopters will be the ones that continue and are having a long-term plan.”

Pharma.Aero’s podcast, Insights, was launched in 2023 as a powerful platform to further showcase valuable expertise and insights on topics relevant to life science logistics. Since its first episode, the podcast delved deep into the complexities of the life sciences and med tech supply chain, presenting a unique opportunity to explore challenges, issues, and innovative ideas that shape the industry.

Tune in on Spotify where all episodes are available.


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