Governance & management

Governance &

Our worldwide research, development, manufacturing and marketing activities put AstraZeneca in the global spotlight on a wide range of issues that affect or concern our stakeholders and society. Effective management of these issues is critical to maintaining trust and confidence in AstraZeneca as a company committed to delivering business success responsibly.

To that end, our responsible business activities underpin, and support delivery of our business strategy. The Company’s three strategic priorities: 1. Achieve Scientific Leadership, 2. Return to Growth, 3. Be a Great Place to Work are supported by doing business responsibly. We are committed to being a responsible company, working with integrity and delivering sustainable business development. We have identified three areas for special focus:

Access to Healthcare

We are committed to increasing access to healthcare for underserved patient populations in a sustainable way.

Our goal is always to improve health for patients and to add value for our stakeholders and our business.


We are committed to environmental stewardship across the product lifecycle, from discovery and development, through manufacturing, marketing, use and ultimately disposal. We are also committed to minimising the environmental impact of our operations by reducing the carbon footprint and natural resource demands of our own and our suppliers’ business activities.


We are committed to building an inclusive, open and trusting organisation embracing the skills, knowledge and unique ability of our employees.

We aim to drive change in three key areas: ‘Leadership & Management Capability’; ‘Transparency in Talent Management & Career Progression’; and ‘Work Life Challenges’.

Accountabilities and responsibilities

The SET is responsible for our Responsible Business framework and Non-Executive Director, Dame Nancy Rothwell, oversees implementation and reporting to the Board. Our Senior Executive Team (SET) and senior managers throughout the Group are accountable for operating responsibly within their areas, taking into account national, functional and site issues and priorities. Line managers are accountable for ensuring that their teams understand the requirements and that people are clear about what is expected of them as they work to achieve AstraZeneca’s business goals. Individually, everyone has a responsibility to integrate responsible business considerations into their day-to-day decision making, actions and behaviours.


Our Responsible Business Council is chaired by our Executive Vice-President of Human Resources & Corporate Affairs and members include senior leaders from across the business. The Council’s agenda is focused on driving long-term value creation by agreeing, among other things:

  • Responsible Business priorities for the Group in line with strategic business objectives
  • Agree performance metrics and set targets for cross-business activities
  • Appropriate policy positions to support AstraZeneca’s business objectives and reputation management

The Council is supported by a Responsible Business Working Group (the Working Group) of SET area representatives. Among other things, the Working Group continuously reviews external issues with the potential to impact AstraZeneca and, as appropriate, prepares management and measurement proposals for the Council’s consideration.

Safety, Health and Environment (SHE)

The AstraZeneca Board has responsibility for setting the direction for SHE management in the business. An identified Board member focuses on SHE in the company. The Chief Executive Officer is delegated authority from, and is accountable to, the Board for the Company’s SHE performance. Primary responsibility for SHE management is cascaded through line management. Local legal requirements also place specific accountabilities on Marketing Company Presidents and local managers. Our approach to SHE management is compatible with ISO14001 and, although not a requirement, facilities have the option of seeking certification.

SHE support to the organisation is provided through a team of SHE professionals who work locally and within a central SHE organisation to reinforce the SHE accountabilities and responsibilities that exist within the line. On a regular basis, the Board and Senior Executive Team (chaired by the CEO), formally review, and provide direction on SHE performance, strategic initiatives and compliance status.

A member of the global SHE team also sits on the Responsible Business Working Group.


What's next in this section

Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement is critical to keeping in touch with the demands of sustainable development.

Read more

External benchmarking

We continue to use the insights we gain to develop our approach in line with best practice on a global basis.

Read more


Dame Nancy Rothwell, Non-Executive Director, oversees implementation of our responsible business management frameworks and reporting to the Board.