Convening global health leaders to accelerate action on climate

On Wednesday 3 November, Pascal Soriot, along with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and global health leaders, launched the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Health Systems Taskforce at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Championed by our Chief Executive Officer, Pascal Soriot, the Taskforce is made up of thirteen leaders from the public and private sectors, whose goal is to accelerate the delivery of net zero, sustainable healthcare to improve individual, societal and planetary health.  

The Taskforce forms part of the SMI, of which we were a founding member. The purpose of the SMI is to accelerate global progress towards a sustainable future. Decarbonisation of the healthcare sector is essential if the world is to tackle the climate crisis. Over 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to come from the healthcare sector.1 Recognising that more must be done to drive the sustainable transition, members of the Taskforce are committed to developing a collective roadmap to accelerate the delivery of a net zero, sustainable health system.

Joining Pascal Soriot live in Glasgow were Dame Emma Walmsley, CEO of GSK, Lord David Prior, Chair of NHS England, André Hoffmann, Vice Chairman of Roche and Prof. Francesco Svelto, Rector of the University of Pavia. The Taskforce has been formally launched at COP26 to seize upon the momentum created by the gathering of global leaders to tackle the climate emergency.

With over four percent of greenhouse gases coming from the healthcare sector, it’s imperative that we act now to make healthcare more sustainable – for the health of people, society and the planet. The SMI Health Systems Taskforce has a key role to play, and AstraZeneca is proud to be working with other forward-thinking companies to drive meaningful change. Together, we can harness the power of innovation to transform our approach, supply chains and patient care pathways to accelerate the delivery of net zero healthcare.

Pascal Soriot Chief Executive Officer

Also this week, we were honoured to be one of the first companies to be awarded the inaugural 2021 Terra Carta Seal. At a ceremony during COP26, Pascal Soriot, alongside other CEOs from across a range of sectors including finance, technology, energy and retail, received the award from HRH The Prince of Wales.

We are taking bold action on climate because we recognise the connection between people and planetary health. We are using a science-led, patient-first approach to discover innovative treatments and find solutions which will help to lower the economic and environmental burden of healthcare. This will help build more sustainable, resilient health systems in the long-term.

The Seal is being awarded to companies from around the world who are driving innovation and leadership in their industry and tackling climate change. All recipients must have credible transition roadmaps underpinned by globally recognised, scientific metrics for achieving net zero by 2050 or earlier and have ambitions aligned with those of the Terra Carta, a recovery plan for Nature, People and Planet.

Through our Ambition Zero Carbon strategy, we have committed to deliver zero carbon emissions from our global operations by 2025 and ensure our value chain is carbon negative by 2030. We are one of only seven companies globally, and the only pharmaceuticals company, to have had our plans verified under the new Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Net-Zero Corporate Standard.

We are already making solid progress. Between 2015 to 2020 we reduced our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 60% and water consumption by 20%. In 2020, more than 99% of our purchased electricity came from renewable sources. We’re also putting nature-based solutions at the heart of our strategy. For example, through our AZ Forest programme, we’re planting over 50 million trees by 2025 and ensuring their longer-term survival.

2021 is a critical year. Science tells us it’s time for everyone to increase our efforts to limit the impacts of the climate crisis on our planet. Partnership-driven initiatives like the SMI and Terra Carta play a crucial role in ensuring a sustainable future.

The Terra Carta Seal recognizes those organizations which have made a serious commitment to a future that is much more sustainable, and puts Nature, People and the Planet at the heart of the economy. We all need to make changes if we are to preserve the planet for our children and grandchildren and these businesses have pledged to make it easier for us all to do so.

HRH The Prince of Wales


1. Lenzen, Manfred. “The Environmental Footprint of Health: A Global Assessment”. The Lancet Journal, 020.


  • Sustainability