AstraZeneca commits to $1bn plan to reduce global carbon by 2030

New programme from British pharma giant has brought its decarbonisation plans forward by a decade, past carbon neutral, to carbon negative

AstraZeneca has unveiled its new environmental programme that will see zero carbon emissions from its global operations by 2025 and ensure its entire value chain is carbon negative by 2030. This plan brings forward the company’s decarbonisation plans by more than a decade.

Launched today at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, AstraZeneca’s ‘Ambition Zero Carbon’ strategy doubles energy productivity and plans to use renewable energy for both power and heat, as well as switching to a 100% electric vehicle fleet five years ahead of schedule.

AstraZeneca will invest up to $1 billion to achieve these goals and to develop the next-generation respiratory inhalers with near-zero Global Warming Potential (GWP) propellants.

Soriot, said: “Climate change is an urgent threat to public health, the environment and the sustainability of the global economy. 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,” added Soriot.

Climate change is an urgent threat to public health, the environment and the sustainability of the global economy

‘Ambition Zero Carbon’ sets out to make AstraZeneca’s global operations responsible for zero carbon emissions without relying on offset schemes to reach zero emissions on aggregate.

Also included in today’s plan, is ‘AZ Forest’, a 50-million tree reforestation initiative that will be rolled out over the next five years. In partnership with local governments and One Tree Planted, a non-profit organisation focused on global reforestation, the first trees will go into the ground in Australia in February 2020, with France, Indonesia and other countries to follow. This initiative supports WEF’s newly launched ‘1T.org – The Champions for a Trillion Trees’ platform.

As a further step to help shape policy and find cross-industry solutions to rapidly decarbonise the global economy, Pascal Soriot, CEO, will also participate in the inaugural meeting of the Sustainable Markets Council (SMC).

The Council was established by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, with the support of WEF, as an advisory body of public-private-philanthropic leaders to drive sustainable solutions in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Alexander Farsan,  Global Lead of Science Based Targets, WWF International and Steering Committee member of the Science Based Targets initiative, said: “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.” 

‘Ambition Zero Carbon’ strategy

‘Ambition Zero Carbon’ significantly accelerates a plan developed in 2015 to reduce AstraZeneca’s carbon footprint, with targets verified in line with the science of climate change.

In order to achieve zero carbon by 2025, AstraZeneca will convert 100% of its energy consumption to renewable sources for both power and heat, and have a 100% electric vehicle fleet.

Carbon negative value chain

By recognising that the total emissions from its value chain partners is significantly larger than its own direct operations, AstraZeneca 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. This will result in AstraZeneca becoming carbon negative across its entire value chain by 2030.

Next-generation inhalers

AstraZeneca commits to launching its next-generation inhaler to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with near-zero GWP propellants by 2025.

The British pharma giant 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. In addition to offering next-generation pMDIs, AstraZeneca will continue offering dry powder inhaled (DPI) medicines.

pMDIs are an important therapeutic option for patients, particularly where familiarity with the device, limited lung function, young or advanced age or reduced dexterity or cognition are considerations.

‘AZ Forest’

Alongside its work to eliminate carbon emissions from its own operations, AstraZeneca also recognises the direct link between reforestation and the impact it can have on both the climate and human health. Trees naturally remove CO2 and are essential to mitigate the effects of climate change.

AstraZeneca will partner with recognised reforestation organisations and governments in a number of countries to plant 50 million trees over the next five years, the first programmes will start in February 2020.

Sustainable Markets Council

With the support of the World Economic Forum, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, created the SMC to accelerate a transition to sustainable markets and a decarbonised global economy.

AstraZeneca is a founding member of this public-private network of global leaders which helps to explore game-changing solutions and champion a movement towards sustainable market creation. The SMC will be officially launched in Davos and will come together to discuss concrete approaches to achieving its ambition for 2020.

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