Tackling global sustainability challenges through partnership and innovation

During a significant week on the world stage for sustainability, we engaged with collaborators and thought leaders on the dual priorities of healthcare system resilience and the need to tackle climate change to enable a more sustainable future.

With the world increasingly focused on climate and global health issues in the run up to COP26 in November 2021, this week members of our senior leadership team took part in several high-level engagements alongside the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Climate Week NYC and the World Economic Forum (WEF) Sustainable Development Impact Summit.

Engaging at the World Economic Forum

As part of our partnership with WEF, we made several contributions to their global dialogue on sustainability, including through an opinion piece by our Chief Executive Officer, Pascal Soriot, entitled Urgency, Innovation and Partnership: applying lessons from COVID-19 to tackle the climate with a strong call to action:

To deliver net-zero healthcare, public and private sectors must come together to pioneer a collective shift in approach and deliver more sustainable and resilient healthcare systems […] Innovative solutions to tackle the climate crisis are needed across the board. Governments and policymakers must work to actively support and implement regulatory and policy frameworks to facilitate the introduction of new technologies and digital solutions.

Pascal Soriot Chief Executive Officer

We were also recognised as a founding member of WEF’s 1t.org Corporate Alliance. Through our AZ Forest commitment to plant and maintain over 50 million trees worldwide by 2025, we are one of over 20 companies which have made a pledge to conserve, restore and grow more than 2.5 billion trees in over 50 countries by 2030. Our AZ Forest programme recognises the strong connection between a healthy planet and healthy people, as well as the value of nature-based solutions to mitigating the negative impacts of climate change, part of our broader Ambition Zero Carbon strategy.

On 23 September, Mohit Manrao, Vice President, Global Franchise Head Lung Cancer, opened a panel event that launched the Global Lung Cancer Collaboration, a partnership between the Lung Ambition Alliance and WEF. The collaboration convened 30 organisations to kick off programs to transform outcomes in lung cancer and ensure the future sustainability of health systems. Lung Ambition Alliance is a global coalition of AstraZeneca, Guardant Health, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC), united by the ambition to eliminate lung cancer as a cause of death. Learn more here.

Speaking alongside the United Nations General Assembly

Our focus during UNGA was on Access to Healthcare, one of the core pillars of our Sustainability strategy, which is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One example is our work to support SDG3 – promoting healthy lives and wellbeing for everyone – with our focus on education and prevention, as well as optimal treatment of diseases in order to increase access to healthcare.

Ashling Mulvaney, Vice President for Global Sustainability, Access to Healthcare, spoke about Transforming global health partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals alongside World Health Organization Country Director for Kenya, Dr. Juliet Nabyonga-Orem, in a discussion hosted by global development media platform Devex. Ashling emphasised our partnership approach to strengthen global health systems and tackle the burden of non-communicable diseases, such as Healthy Heart Africa, the Young Health Programme and the Partnership for Health Systems Sustainability and Resilience.

Several common themes ran throughout the engagement at these global forums – the power of science and innovation, the impact of partnerships and the need to move at pace. As Pascal said reflecting on the lessons learned from the health crisis applicable to tackling the climate challenge: “Inaction is simply not an option”.


  • Sustainability
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