With only a couple of days to go until the big reveal of the Sustainability Awards 2021 winners, we’re today talking to CMC SpA – a finalist in the e-commerce category – to find out about CMC Genesys, a “next generation” right size auto packer.

Congratulations on being selected by the international judging panel as a Sustainability Awards 2021 finalist! Could you please introduce your successful entry and what’s innovative about it?

CMC Genesys represents the next generation of CMC right size auto packers. It’s the only 3D packaging machine that can be directly connected to warehouse storage through the CMC Patented Vary-Tote system. Orders are picked and consolidated into the CMC VaryTote which is directly conveyed to the Genesys. CMC VaryTote features adjustable inner guides used to correctly size up the items. This adjustment will determine the dimension of each box which will be uniquely sized to each order. This innovative concept allows you to feed and pack multi-line orders without the requirement to be strapped or wrapped together.

What are the environmental challenges in packaging that your entry addresses, and what impact do you hope it will make?

A recent study reported that by 2026 the global parcel volumes is most likely to reach 220-262 billion parcels. This equals to 7.000-8300 parcels shipped every second.  Although on-line retail is not the only driver to this volume growth, the rise of ecommerce is considerably fuelling the parcel industry and contributing to an increase in packaging production and environmental impact as a result.

Since 2013, when the first CMC CartonWrap right sized auto-packer was introduced to the market, we have pushed boundaries through game changing ideas and developed solutions and accessories to reduce the impact while adding additional functionality to packaging.

The new CMC Genesys boxes uses less corrugated compared to a standard RSC carton and reduces volumes by 40%. Smaller boxes mean higher truck density, so less C02 emissions during the last mile.  

By creating a box that literally fits the items inside, harmful void fill that require thousands of years to decompose (i.e plastic pillows, Styrofoam  or packing peanuts) are eliminated. Reducing materials does not mean the packaging is weaker: Genesys box is robust and extremely protective thus guaranteeing for product integrity during transportation. The new built-in easy opening and reseal feature offers frustration free unboxing, improves the end customer experience and produces a solid box that can be easily used for returns. Using the same packaging in case or returns contributes to reducing packaging waste.

Thanks to the CMC Patented Vary-Tote technology, multi-line orders can be fulfilled automatically and at high speed without pre-reconsolidation. As a result, additional harmful material potentially used to keep multi-SKUs together (plastic strapper or wrap) are eliminated.

Last, boxes are safely sealed with low impact glue rather than tape for easy disposal. Adopting a mono-material approach for the whole pack make recycling easier.

We encourage our customers that have already committed to reducing waste and volumes with CMC Genesys  to run the machine with recycled and recyclable corrugated from responsibly managed renewable resources.

Today, consumers are conscious of the environmental impact of shipping: providing sustainable packaging options to them gives retailers a competitive advantage in the B2B and B2C market.

I’d like to ask you about the broader picture beyond your successful entry. ‘Sustainability’ in packaging is multi-dimensional – both in terms of objectives and challenges. Could you comment on the most important roadblocks you identify from your position in the value chain, and the kinds of solutions you would like to see addressing them (e.g. areas of technological innovation, collaboration, regulation)?

As a KKR Global Impact Fund company, CMC is committed to a sustainable future, where both people and planet can thrive.That is why we combine our engineering capabilities and passion for innovation, to create industry leading sustainable packaging solutions.

Our ambition is to be the go-to partner for sustainable packaging solutions globally, and to be enablers of a Zero Waste and Net Zero Carbon future.

Shortly, we will also release our first comparative LCA for CMC’s 3D Packaging technology

The e-commerce packaging landscape will continue to grow, and different requirements will be challenging.  Sustainability should run in every aspect of the supply chain. Although it has become an established requirement in packaging everybody should choose a partner upfront with a clear sustainability strategy in place. This is crucial to achieve green common goals.

In several countries, governments are already encouraging ecommerce businesses to be more eco-friendly, by offering sustainability incentives through tax credits and other initiatives. This relates to investment in right size packaging technology, eco-friendly materials, and practices.

COVID-19 has unquestionably formed new purchasing habits, namely accelerating the demand for online grocery shopping. This new trend will offer great business opportunities to logistics companies and packaging suppliers. The challenge is to innovate with sustainable on demand solutions to fulfil and deliver perishable and non-perishable goods with insulating materials which could potentially be used for pharmaceuticals, life science products and meal kits.