35 billion... this colossal figure represents the annual financial losses linked to breaks in the cold chain of heat-sensitive health products shipped by air or land. Sofrigam Group, headed by Gilles Labranque, is the specialist in the cold chain for pharmaceutical products. Its four entities cover all temperature-controlled transport needs, from pharmaceutical laboratories to last-mile delivery. Committed for many years to reducing its environmental impact, Sofrigam wishes to give impetus to its CSR actions. Since January 2020, the company has been supported by an environmental strategy consultancy and intends to become the benchmark for CSR actions in its sector.
Sofrigam ensures ideal temperature conditions during the transport of pharmaceutical products, throughout the supply chain, thanks to its insulated packaging and refrigerated boxes with autonomous systems. As a member of the Bpifrance Excellence network, the company has long been engaged in its ecological and energy transition.
Every year, the break in the cold chain during the transport of heat-sensitive medicines, by land or air, results in losses of €35 billion.
The Sofrigam Group, based in Rueil-Malmaison, is headed by its CEO Gilles Labranque and comprises four separate companies. The production centres for so-called passive solutions, located at Monchy-Le-Preux near Arras, design and manufacture some 250,000 packages a year on 18,000 m2 built (including production lines and warehouses).
"In Arras, we manufacture passive solutions, from small isothermal bags to boxes of more than 3 m3 . With the takeover of Coldway at the end of 2018, which became Coldway Technologies, we are also designing and manufacturing active refrigeration solutions in Perpignan, resulting from our research into autonomous thermal energy production, which generate cold without any noise pollution or greenhouse gas emissions", explains Anne de Wispelaere, Sofrigam's QHSE manager.
All these products are qualified and certified by the thermal testing laboratory Ater Métrologie, which has international accreditations from global pharmaceutical groups such as Sanofi, GSK, Pfizer, etc.
The company also has its own online sales platform for isothermal and refrigerated packaging (La Boutique du Froid), the European leader in its field.
"Our raison d'être is not only economic, it has a social utility, which has convinced us to continue our activity during containment. Indeed, we wanted to be present for our customers and ensure the continuity of the supply chain for heat-sensitive products worldwide. Our ambition is to become the reference in our sector for CSR actions. Since January 2020, Greenflex, the environmental strategy consulting firm, has been helping us in this area and has given us the keys to undertake a number of actions: drafting an environmental strategy, a responsible purchasing charter for sourcing our suppliers and acquiring consumables, and the use of eco-responsible materials such as cardboard and paper certified as coming from sustainably managed forests. In addition, we launched an energy audit this summer on the oldest and most energy-intensive of our buildings. Actions are planned to remedy this situation."
The Group employs more than 70 people. Sofrigam, which has been ISO 14001 certified since 2011, is increasing its efforts to limit its carbon impact. In particular, it has built an HQE building on its Arras site, whose insulation in polyurethane panels limits thermal amplitudes and therefore the abusive use of heating in winter and air conditioning in summer. 10% of its electricity comes from a wind turbine. In addition to this, there is a drastic sorting and waste reduction policy, a container recovery and recycling programme, rational consumption of machinery and actions to promote biodiversity, such as the installation of beehives and fruit trees on the sites.
"We have also followed the BpiFrance and GreenFlex training modules, as part of a CSR support programme for companies, to help them initiate or strengthen their ecological and energy strategy, acquire skills to be applied internally and contacts to get closer to the right partners. This gives us access to a wealth of data and enables us to exchange our experiences with other entrepreneurs."