Sector News

AstraZeneca aims to go carbon free by 2025—and it’ll spend $1B to do it

January 24, 2020
Life sciences

For a pharma company selling respiratory drugs, climate change would probably mean more patients and increased sales. But AstraZeneca has committed to contributing its fair share to stop that trend.

Just as the topic of climate change takes center stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, AstraZeneca unveiled its Ambition Zero Carbon program, which aims to achieve zero carbon emissions from its global operations by 2025.

To do that, it will invest up to $1 billion, part of which will go toward developing next-generation respiratory inhalers that have almost no negative impact on global warming, the company said.

It’s the latest move by a drugmaker to cut its carbon footprint—a trend that’s become more common of late but is still far from usual across the pharma industry. The number of drug companies winning kudos for their sustainability work amounts to less than a dozen.

“I believe we’re facing a climate crisis, and every company has to do something,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in an interview with Bloomberg. “I have children and a grandson, and they’re going to look at me and say, ‘what did you do?’ And our employees also are asking us, expecting us to do something.”

The new pressurized metered-dose inhalers AZ promises to develop for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will use propellants with a Global Warming Potential mark that’s 90% to 99% lower than the older ones.

To achieve zero carbon emissions by 2025, AstraZeneca plans to turn all of its energy consumption to renewable sources for both power and heat and switch to electric cars.

Beyond its own company, the British drugmaker promises to ask its suppliers to cut carbon emissions so that it can become carbon negative along its entire value chain by 2030.

The plan, which according to AstraZeneca accelerates its decarbonization gloals by more than a decade, also includes the AZ Forest project in which the company will partner with reforestation organizations and governments to plant 50 million trees over the next five years.

The renewed commitment comes on the heels of AZ being recognized by global environmental impact nonprofit CDP on its annual “A List” for corporations leading on environmental transparency and performance. Among the 179 companies that made this year’s list are Bayer, Baxter, Eisai, Johnson & Johnson, Lundbeck, Novo Nordisk and Ono Pharmaceutical.

Environmental sustainability has become an increasingly common theme within the pharma industry as companies work to establish a responsible corporate image before the public. With this year’s Davos meeting revolving around climate change, more companies may join in with their own announcements.

Already, at this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Takeda CEO Christophe Weber said the Japanese pharma is aiming to be carbon neutral this year by offsetting 4.5 million tons of emissions. “It’s a financial commitment that we can do without changing our financial target, and that’s because we have reduced in the past our carbon emissions,” he said.

Last year, Novo Nordisk said (PDF) it was on track to use only renewable electricity at its production facilities by 2020. The goal will be enabled by the installation of a 672-acre solar panel group in North Carolina, which will provide power to the Danish company’s entire U.S. operations from early 2020.

By Angus Liu

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

December 3, 2022

Sanofi moves into swanky new Paris HQ designed around hybrid work and sustainability

Life sciences

Monday, the French pharma giant officially moved into its new global home base in Paris, dubbed La Maison Sanofi. The 9,000-square-meter (about 96,875-square-foot) facility comprises two historic buildings and will host around 500 employees, the company explained in a release.

December 3, 2022

As CEO Schultz eyes retirement, Teva taps former Sandoz head Francis as its next leader

Life sciences

On the first day of the new year, former Sandoz chief Richard Francis will take the reins from Schultz, who is hanging up his CEO hat to retire on Dec. 31, Teva said Monday. The news comes a little more than two weeks after Teva publicly said it was looking for Schultz’s replacement.

December 3, 2022

General Electric sets healthcare division spinoff plans

Life sciences

General Electric Co. set the terms for the spinoff of its healthcare division, putting an initial value of roughly $31 billion on the soon-to-be-public company. The Boston conglomerate plans to split into three separate public companies by early 2024. Following the healthcare spinoff, it plans to separate its aerospace business from its power and renewable-energy units.