For the first time, a group of global CEOs including Pascal Soriot will join Heads of State at the G7 to discuss building a sustainable future.
Through our role as a founding member of the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) and early supporter of the Terra Carta, both led by HRH The Prince of Wales, AstraZeneca was formally invited to participate in the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Cornwall, UK on 11 June, alongside other leading businesses.
Representing 300 SMI members, this group will engage with Heads of State on accelerating sustainable investment and driving public-private partnerships to ensure a green transition, with a focus on climate change and biodiversity.
At AstraZeneca, we are taking bold action on climate because we recognise that the health of our planet, people and economies are interconnected. The impact of climate change is increasing levels of ill health, including a rise in chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and respiratory diseases. All of these have detrimental impacts on people’s lives, economies and the societies in which we live in.
The climate emergency is a public health emergency, for which there is no vaccine and no one is immune. The events of the last 18 months have resulted in the greatest public health challenge of our generation, but the impact of the climate emergency has the potential to be greater still, damaging our planet irreversibly. The pandemic has taught us the critical importance of collaboration and we must work together, now, to achieve change at speed and scale.
We recognise that the healthcare sector must do more – over 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions currently come from healthcare. Eighteen months ago, we launched Ambition Zero Carbon – committing to zero carbon emissions from our global operations by 2025 and ensuring our value chain is carbon negative by 2030. We are making good progress to deliver on our ambition. For example:
- We’ve already reduced our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 60% and water consumption by 20% since 2015 and in 2020, over 99% of our purchased electricity came from renewable sources.
- We’re putting nature-based solutions at the heart of our strategy with a focus on the circular bio-economy. We’re committed to reforestation as a key solution to mitigate the effects of climate change - by reducing air pollution and the risk of natural disasters, fostering biodiversity, and addressing social inequalities. With our AZ Forest programme, we are planting 50 million trees globally by 2025 and ensuring their longer-term stewardship.
Through our science-led approach we are helping to build more patient-centric healthcare, including with digital solutions, that has a lower environmental footprint whilst reducing the burden of disease on patients, health systems and the economy. It is only by following this approach that we will help build more resilient health systems in the long-term, and support governments and healthcare providers in their journey to net zero.
However, we cannot meet this challenge on our own. Governments, businesses, academia, civil society and many more actors must work together in partnership to enable the transition to a more sustainable future. We also need to see greater investment in prevention, early detection and early treatment of disease - to keep our populations healthy and reduce our environmental impact. This is one key way in which we can drive healthy, sustainable economic growth – for people and our planet.
We have an opportunity to ‘reset’ and create a more sustainable world - together. The G7, as well as the G20 in October and COP26 in November 2021, present critically important opportunities to tackle the climate crisis - collectively and without delay.