AstraZeneca announced a $1bn (€906m) program to reduce its climate impact to zero last week.
The funding was announced as part of its aim to reduce its carbon emissions from global operations to zero by 2025, as well as the additional aim of being carbon negative by 2030.
In order to achieve this, AZ set out three main objectives for the company: to develop ‘next-generation inhalers’, which will be able to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with near-zero global warming potential (GWP) propellants; to work with its partners and suppliers to reduce their direct emissions; and, to create an ‘AZ Forest’.
The latter step will involve the pharma company working with reforestation organizations to plant 50 million trees over the next five years, with the project beginning next month.
Pascal Soriot, CEO of the company, stated, “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.”
Climate change action gathering pace in industry
Only the week prior, Takeda had made a similar announcement at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. The pharma company set a more long-term target of 2040 to achieve carbon neutrality across its entire value chain.
In order to achieve this, the company plans to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and by offsetting some of its carbon emissions through third-party organizations. In addition, in a similar fashion to AZ, it also stated that it would work with its suppliers to reduce their emissions.
The company’s shorter term aims include reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2025 through renewable energy purchases and an ‘aggressive’ internal energy management program.
Both AZ and Takeda are following the action of Novo Nordisk, which set itself the aim of only using renewable electricity to run its global production facilities by this year.
When we previously spoke to the company’s senior director of corporate environmental strategy, Dorethe Nielsen, she told us though the pharma industry would not be considered frontrunners, there is evidence of a ‘growing interest’ in sustainability.