AstraZeneca commits to being carbon negative by 2030

AstraZeneca (AZ)

AstraZeneca has announced its ambition to have zero carbon emissions from its global operations by 2025 and to ensure its entire value chain is carbon negative by 2030, bringing forward decarbonisation plans by more than a decade.

Launched at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, AstraZeneca’s ‘Ambition Zero Carbon’ strategy accelerates the Company’s existing science-based targets, developed in 2015, by doubling energy productivity and using renewable energy for both power and heat, as well as switching to a 100% electric vehicle fleet five years earlier than originally planned.

The company also said that it is pledging to engage its suppliers to reduce their direct emissions through to 2030 and identify carbon removal options that will lead to more carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the atmosphere than added to it, recognising that the total emissions from its value chain partners are significantly larger than its own direct operations.

This should result in AstraZeneca becoming carbon negative across its entire value chain by 2030.

AZ will invest up to $1bn to achieve these goals and to develop respiratory inhalers with near-zero Global Warming Potential (GWP) propellants.  

The company expects the propellant used in the next generation pressurised metered-dose inhalers (pMDI) to have a GWP that is 90-99% lower than propellants used in older pMDIs. 

Also included in the plan is ‘AZ Forest’, a 50-million tree reforestation initiative that will be rolled out over the next five years. The company will partner with recognised reforestation organisations and governments in a number of countries to plant 50 million trees.

As a further step to help shape policy and find cross-industry solutions to decarbonising the global economy, AZ’s CEO Pascal Soriot will also participate in the inaugural meeting of the Sustainable Markets Council (SMC). The council was established as an advisory body of public-private-philanthropic leaders to drive sustainable solutions in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“Climate change is an urgent threat to public health, the environment and the sustainability of the global economy,” Soriot said. “Since 2015, we have reduced our carbon emissions from operations by almost a third and our water consumption by almost one fifth.

“But now is the time to act even faster and redouble our efforts. The commitments AstraZeneca has made today as part of our ‘Ambition Zero Carbon’ strategy will enable us to speed up the reduction of our company’s impact on climate and inspire collaboration at a global level to effect policy change.”

Alexander Farsan, global lead of Science Based Targets, WWF International, added: “We congratulate AstraZeneca for responding to the climate emergency and raising the ambition of their science-based targets, which were already in line with the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious goal – to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. 

“As the impact of climate change is felt by more and more communities across the globe, AstraZeneca’s collaborative approach to scale the impact of a science-based approach across their value chain is exactly what is needed.”  

Earlier this week, AstraZeneca achieved a place on the global environmental impact non-profit CDP's prestigious ‘A List’ for climate change, based on the company’s climate reporting in 2019, for the fourth consecutive year. It has also been recognised by Corporate Knights as one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies out of more than 7,000 companies assessed, ranking 56th overall and 2nd in biopharmaceuticals.

For more on the effects of climate change on pharma see here.