As part of our Ambition Zero Carbon strategy, we have now accelerated delivery of our renewable power sourcing targets, achieving 100% supply of certified renewable imported power across all our sites worldwide, five years ahead of our original RE100 (renewable energy) commitments, along with switching to electric vehicles (EV100) and increasing energy productivity (EP100). Globally, we use power from three sources: imported from the electricity grid (86% in 2019), on-site solar PV (1%), and on-site combined heat and power (CHP) plants (13%). Work continues to identify renewable fuels for CHP by 2025, as part of our clean heat strategy and Ambition Zero Carbon commitments, as well as increasing capacity through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and investing in more on-site renewable energy, to achieve additional improvements.
What is RE100?
AstraZeneca joined RE100, the corporate renewable energy initiative, in 2015. RE100 is a global initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power. Led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP, the group have a total revenue of over US$5.4 trillion and operate in a diverse range of sectors. Our RE100 pledge sits alongside commitments to switching to electric vehicles (EV100) and clean heat (EP100) – we were the first pharmaceutical company to sign up to all three of these Climate Group initiatives.
In support of our clean heat objectives, we have also today joined the Renewable Thermal Collaborative, the leading coalition for organisations committed to decarbonising the energy required for heat in buildings and industrial processes.
Natural gas remains the predominant source of heating for business and industry in many countries, but the availability of zero carbon alternatives is still limited and is not meeting the growing industrial demand. By joining the Renewable Thermal Collaborative we aim to drive a clean heat strategy that addresses the role renewable electricity plays alongside other alternative low-carbon technologies such as green gas, hydrogen and fuel cells, and to drive private and public sector partnership to ensure that infrastructure and investment are available to meet ambitious climate targets.
In addition, we have made progress on implementation of our AZ Forest programme, a 50-million tree reforestation initiative rolling out through to 2025, today launching a major project to grow 25 million trees across Australia – one of the largest-ever privately funded restoration projects in the country. Establishing 25 million biodiverse and locally appropriate trees – in locations that support threatened species and habitat connectivity – will capture approximately 4.25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over a 25-year period, equivalent to the emissions produced by 920,000 cars running for an entire year.
Furthermore, we will have invested $100 mllion in our natural resources reduction programme by the end of 2020, enabling us to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operations by a third and water consumption by 20% since 2015, despite significant business growth.
The climate crisis continues to impact the health of communities around the world, so the emergence of COVID-19 has increased, not reduced, the urgency of action on climate. We recognise the positive contribution to health system resilience that this will make, including by reducing the prevalence of respiratory conditions that directly impact on patients’ ability to combat the virus. The science is clear; we cannot wait. The Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in history, primarily as a result of human activities. We must work together across sectors and governments to build back better and address the connection between the health of the planet and healthy people.
Congratulations to AstraZeneca on rapidly transitioning to renewable electricity and for committing to renewable heat. Climate Week NYC is the time and place where the world gathers to showcase amazing climate action and discuss how to do more. AstraZeneca is leading the way and showing what is possible – influencing companies all over the world to follow in its footsteps.
Ambition Zero Carbon
The Ambition Zero Carbon strategy significantly accelerated a plan developed in 2015 to reduce our GHG footprint, including setting targets to achieve zero carbon by 2025 in its operations and to become carbon negative across our value chain by 2030. The $1 billion programme will include the launch of next-generation respiratory inhalers and a wide range of energy initiatives to reduce climate impact to zero. To further mitigate the impacts of climate change, we also committed to completing a 50-million tree reforestation plan. Our work in this area is already recognised as leading, as one of only three companies worldwide to achieve double A Listing for Climate Change and Water Security from CDP for four consecutive years.
The environment’s impact on health
The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 13 million people die each year from environmentally related health risks, including 7 million people from air pollution alone – now the second leading cause of NCD deaths worldwide, behind tobacco smoke. AstraZeneca is Patron Sponsor of the United Nations (UN) led group “Health is Everyone’s Business,” as part of the Business Ambition for Climate and Health Action Platform, to accelerate ambitious climate action and explore what the climate-health connection means for business, in order to become a catalyst for country-level action to deliver on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).