What makes a company a leader? Being the biggest, the best performing, the most well-known? At AstraZeneca we lead in and with health – through our pioneering medicines, investments and partnerships that touch the lives of millions of people – connecting with patients and their families, our employees, and a wide range of stakeholders in the communities where we work and live.
Our definition of Leading in Sustainability focuses our capabilities at the intersection of societal needs and where we can make the most meaningful impact – on health.
We want AstraZeneca to be a pioneering leader, working in and beyond our industry in the areas of sustainable health, environment and ethical behaviour. Companies cannot solve issues of health and the environment by themselves. There has to be a joint effort between governments, companies and NGOs to get to a healthier planet and healthier people.
We strongly recognise the link between a healthy environment and human health, believing that our environmental stewardship will prevent disease as well as protect the planet for future generations. We are led by science in everything we do and the science on climate change is alarming, with strengthening evidence of connections between the causes of climate change and adverse health effects.
We take a scientific approach to environmental protection and set clear science-based targets to reduce our environmental impact. Our greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative as consistent with levels required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. In May 2019 we received confirmation that our Scope 1 and 2 targets are consistent with reductions required to keep warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement, with our Scope 3 targets in line with current best practice.
Climate Change threatens to undermine the advances in global health we have made over the last 50 years. As a company, we strive to prevent disease, including by managing our environmental impacts, which can in turn prevent respiratory and heart diseases, as well as helping to address other heat and pollution-related conditions. By investing to reduce our use of fossil fuel energy in our road fleet and at our sites we address the impacts of our emissions on both the planet and on people’s health.
We are acting on the links between the environment and health and the impact of our own activities across the globe, every day, and our business strategy has sustainability at its heart, with our decisions tested against sustainability criteria such as access to healthcare. We are committed to Growth Through Innovation and we intend to double the size of our business without increasing our operational carbon impact, through programmes and initiatives founded on science and partnership.
Sustainability matters now more than ever. Some companies fall into the trap of saying ‘we are sustainable’ without asking themselves, what does that really mean? For me, sustainability means being a positive and constructive part of the societies in which we are working. And, in a world that’s changing fast, it matters more than ever.