Climate change

From 2001, we began to take action firstly to stabilise and then to reduce the emissions of CO2 from our facilities. This was achieved by a combination of energy efficiency measures, investment in combined heat and power plants and purchasing energy from low or zero carbon sources. By 2003, the upward trend in emissions from our facilities had been arrested and by 2005 emissions had fallen back to their 2001 level. Our launch in 2007 of Symbicort Rapihaler (pMDI) in the US, where over 30 million people suffer from asthma, has led to an associated increase in HFA emissions as more and more patients benefit from the new medicine. Nevertheless, since the company was formed in 1999, our absolute emissions of greenhouse gases from all sources, including our products, have fallen by 54% and ozone depleting gases by close to 100%.

Our gross total greenhouse gases from all sources in 2013 amounted to 1.11 million tonnes CO2-equivalent, compared to 1.07 million tonnes CO2-equivalent during 2012. The 2013 total nett of emission reductions from green electricity and US Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) was 1.07 million tonnes CO2-eq. (1.04 million tonnes in 2012).

Of the net total in 2013, 325 thousand tonnes (29% of total emissions) arose as direct emissions from our activities, classed as Scope I emissions by the GHG Protocol. The remainder are indirect emissions: 238 thousand tonnes (21%) are Scope II emissions from the generation of electricity, steam and district heating supplied to our sites by utility companies and 507 thousand tonnes (46%) are Scope III emissions, arising largely from transport activities and our products when they are used. Emissions of CO2 from incineration of waste represent about 2% of total emissions (see the Material Resource Efficiency section for further information about how we are managing our waste).
 

Gross total emissionsNet total emissionsNet emissions index


We continue to drive the management of our carbon footprint across key areas of business activity.

Our global Environment Strategy requires a 20% reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2015. This will primarily be delivered through improvements in energy efficiency; increased usage of renewable and low-carbon energy technologies; and reductions in energy demand due to better use of the property portfolio. This will be challenging against a backdrop of significant business change, so an Energy Board has been created to provide a global framework for analysing options, prioritising investments and resources, and to foster the sharing of best practice in energy technology around our global business to ensure these goals will be achieved. The Energy Board draws on experience from every part of our business to coordinate its energy efficiency efforts. Recognising the significant global warming emissions from business road travel for sales and marketing activities, we are also maintaining a strong focus in this area. We have worked with our fleet management and leasing suppliers to introduce fleet reporting to track the CO2 emissions of new and existing fleet vehicles and we continue a process of introducing CO2 caps on new car acquisitions in our major markets. We continue to invest in advanced driver training to improve both safety and fuel efficiency associated with driving.

We have also eliminated the use of ozone depleting substances in fire protection systems and continue to replace any remaining in use for refrigeration at our sites. We will eliminate all such uses as soon as feasible and, at a minimum, in a timeframe consistent with legislative requirements.

Another area in which we are driving further improvement is in implementation of green technology principles in our process design.

Alongside this, we seek to use external opportunities to share learning and foster best practice. For example, as part of prioritising the selection of goods transport partners on the basis of their reliability, quality and internal safety, health and environmental management, we take into consideration the efficiency of their air and road fleets. Our major road, sea and air freight providers all operate environmental improvement strategies with initiatives ranging from the introduction of more efficient temperature controlled containers, to the reduction of road driving speeds and the testing of alternative technologies including electric commercial vehicles and the adoption of tyres aimed at reducing fuel consumption.

We are also working to significantly increase the proportion of AstraZeneca freight that is carried via sea freight, which has been calculated to be 20 times more CO2 efficient than air freight. The target is to achieve 70% of primary freight volume by sea freight by the end of 2013 and on the lanes that we have residual air freight volumes we will look to further consolidate and optimize these flows. Our carriers are also introducing more efficient aircraft, such as the 777F, which carries a substantially higher payload for the same fuel usage as conventional aircraft.
 

Download more information

What's next in this section

Material resource efficiency

Read details of our 2013 performance.

Read more

Biodiversity

Read details of our 2013 performance.

Read more