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EMC’s sustainable packaging program promotes innovation and seeks to maximize environmental benefits across the product lifecycle. We collaborate — both internally and externally with suppliers and other stakeholders — to identify opportunities, generate ideas, and implement projects that reduce environmental impact and cost.

Packaging presents sustainability challenges and opportunities related to material consumption, greenhouse gas emissions from freighting, and waste generation and recycling. We consider packaging from a lifecycle perspective, without losing sight of our highest priority: protecting our products. This consideration becomes a gateway for exploring new materials and design features for new and existing packs, improving user experience, and addressing end-of-life considerations. All of these aspects are intrinsically related to cost and waste reduction for EMC and our customers. Moreover, we understand that our packaging design choices visibly demonstrate our commitment to integrating sustainability into how we do business.

Our approach includes these elements:

  • Product sourcing — we collaborate with suppliers to apply packaging best practices that integrate sustainability into our inbound supply chain. Our attention in this area is on high-volume packs for multi-sourced parts to promote “positive competition” among suppliers.
  • Right Sizing — we focus on optimizing the packaging of our finished product for transport, emphasizing “right-sizing” to reduce excess material weights and volumes. This helps us lower costs and fuel consumption, as it allows more product to be loaded into each truck, plane, train, and ship we use to transport our products to our customers.
  • Sustainable Materials — we design our packaging with end-of-life in mind, prioritizing reusability and sustainable materials to drive cost and waste reductions for EMC and our customers.
  • Outbound Sustainable Packaging Scorecard — we measure and manage progress toward our goals for right-sizing and sustainable material use in our high-volume customer-facing packs.

During 2014, we focused our efforts on generating awareness of the scorecard and how it supports packaging design decisions, and on screening of all of our high-volume packs to identify redesign priorities. For 2015, we will work to expand the scorecard and its purpose to identify ways to provide input into the design process of new packs, and develop a methodology to more systematically manage and measure our inbound packaging performance.

Packaging Design Goals and Performance

Different product shapes, sizes, and transportation scenarios require different protective solutions, and our sustainable packaging design approach is adaptable to take into account these varying needs. With an emphasis on right-sizing and renewable materials, we have set a target to optimize 95 percent of our high-volume customer-facing packs for sustainable design by 2020.

During 2014, we implemented the outbound sustainable packaging scorecard to drive and measure progress toward this target. This involved establishing target ratios between pack and product weight, and setting preferred percentages for renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable content. Our intention is to make sure that we get the right ratio by limiting the use of excess material wherever possible and by reducing the impact of our packs at the end of their life.

Although there may not yet be substitutes for foams, electro static discharge (ESD) bags, or other less sustainable materials that are effective for our applications, we believe our systematic approach is leading us to more sustainable packaging alternatives.

Outbound Sustainable Packaging Scorecard Criteria & Specifications

Score Value 1 2 3
Renewable1 /Recyclable2 /Biodegradable content by weight 75% 90% 99+%
Ratio of pack weight to final product ship weight 30% 20% 10%

1By “renewable,” we mean made from majority recycled or biologically derived content, by weight.
2By “recyclable,” we mean recyclable at curbside or as part of consumer-accessible waste management infrastructure in a majority of markets in which we do business.

EMC's overall performance is calculated by weighting the sustainability performance of each high-volume, customer-facing packaging design by its annual volume. In 2014, 76 percent of our packs were identified to be optimized for sustainable materials and /or right sizing. The following graph represents the breakdown by score of our high-volume packs purchased during 2014.