Water stewardship to be focus of new WWF Sweden partnership

To coincide with Earth Day 2020, we have announced a new collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Sweden. The twelve-month partnership will focus on identifying opportunities to improve our approach and strategy towards water stewardship and identify initial opportunities to engage in on-the-ground water projects in the river basins where AstraZeneca operates.

Together with experts from the global water stewardship team at WWF, we will analyse the physical, reputational and regulatory water risks within WWF’s Water Risk Filter across our global operations to establish how we can strengthen our water stewardship programme.

We have a shared commitment with WWF towards taking better care of natural resources; freshwater is essential for biodiversity which is at the heart of WWF’s mission, and clean and plentiful water is fundamental to human health. Our longer-term ambition is to implement Science-Based Targets for Water, once a global methodology is available, to lead the way on water stewardship for the pharmaceutical industry. This approach will ensure that we can more meaningfully contribute to the sustainable management of water resources within river basins.

 “We have bold ambitions when it comes to water stewardship and are excited to collaborate with WWF to reach them. We hope too that this work contributes to a greater industry-wide focus on our impact on water and the broader environment,” said Katarina Ageborg, EVP Sustainability and Chief Compliance Officer at AstraZeneca. “Health is at the heart of what we do, and we know that a healthy planet means healthy people. Not only this, but water is key to pharmaceutical production, so it makes business sense for us to manage this resource responsibly.”

“We are happy to see AstraZeneca taking a more structured approach to understanding its water-related context of its operations and using this to develop a contextual approach to their water stewardship practises. This is an important collaboration and we hope that our joint work also encourages others in the pharmaceutical industry to follow,” Daniel Robertsson, Director of Civic, Public & Private Sector Engagement at WWF said.

This year’s assessment will be used to outline recommendations of where the focus for a continued strategic global partnership between WWF and AstraZeneca should lie beyond 2020.

About our approach to water stewardship

Water stewardship is one of the focus areas of Environmental Protection at AstraZeneca, with water audits already conducted at major manufacturing sites. These audits have resulted in the implementation of site water-saving opportunities and targets to maintain absolute water use at the 2015 level through to 2025. The partnership with WWF will work to review these targets and provide recommendations on how we can convert these to contextual water targets, ensuring that operational targets are focused on the right water issues in the right places.

We are also committed to responsible wastewater discharge of active pharmaceutical ingredients and the additional impacts on water from the patient use of medicines, referred to as Pharmaceuticals in the Environment. We are the only company with published targets describing safe discharge limits that are externally verified and were the first company to publish environmental risk assessment (ERA) data on our corporate website. We are also the only company with a published approach to ecopharmacovigilance (EPV).

In 2019 we were listed on the CDP water A List for water stewardship actions and disclosures for the fourth consecutive year.

For more information on our efforts in Water stewardship and Pharmaceuticals in the environment, see the 2019 Sustainability Report.

About Earth Day

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.

We recognise that climate change represents one of the biggest challenges to people and the planet. Access to water is an issue closely connected to the ongoing climate crisis, where impacts from climate change can include increased droughts and flooding. AstraZeneca already aligns to the Science Based Targets Initiative for climate and recently announced bold new commitments to tackle climate change with our Ambition Zero Carbon initiative; a commitment to achieving zero carbon emissions from global operations by 2025 and ensuring the entire value chain is carbon negative by 2030, bringing forward decarbonisation plans by more than a decade.


  • Sustainability