Greenhouse gas reduction

What is Greenhouse gas reduction at AstraZeneca?

Company operations, such as manufacturing and transportation, emit GHGs including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), contributing to climate change. Emissions from product use are largely discussed on our Product environmental stewardship page, and we include the impact of our most material products in our operational GHG footprint.


Our targets and progress

Our approach

We use science to contribute to the global fight against climate change. We set science-based emissions reduction targets and were one of the first companies in the FTSE 350 to have them approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative. Our scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions targets are consistent with reductions required to keep warming to 1.5°C, what the latest climate science has told us is needed to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change, and our scope 3 target is in line with current best practice.

There is a clear link between energy consumption and GHG emissions. We manage both in consideration of the other. Using the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment GHG hierarchical approach,1 we work to avoid energy demand, reduce consumption and emissions through efficiencies, substitute our energy supply with renewables and compensate for unavoidable emissions.

A full description of our GHG emissions methodology is located in our Sustainability Data Summary.


Our stories

Our green fleet expands

Transportation is the fourth-largest contributor to the world’s GHG emissions.2 Our road fleet accounts for 31% of our Scope 1 footprint. This underscores the importance of making commercial fleets more sustainable. We launched our green fleet in the EU, North America and Japan with approximately 12,500 vehicles, more than three quarters of our 16,000 company car fleet. In the US, a new hybrid-only car list was launched, which will mean 2,000 hybrid cars will be delivered by 2020, and by 2022 our entire US fleet will comprise hybrids. As a result, AstraZeneca could be the first large pharmaceutical company in the US to have an all-green fleet before 2025.

Puerto Rico energy alternatives

iPR Pharmaceuticals, an AstraZeneca subsidiary, has been very active in seeking out energy alternatives. Over the last two years, the site launched a pilot to switch from crude oil to liquefied natural gas as a fuel source for heat generation and has since completed the installation of a combined heat and power plant. The benefits are many, including a 40% reduction in emissions, improved energy efficiency and energy resilience through significantly lowering the site’s exposure to natural disasters exacerbated by climate change. The site’s adaptation shows leadership in climate resiliency; it is now more prepared to face natural disasters that threaten business operations, such as Hurricane Maria, which adversely affected the site in late 2017.

Carbon neutral air travel

During 2018 we launched a pilot programme to purchase carbon offsets equivalent to the air travel emissions of our Global Sustainability department. Different from renewable energy certificates, these offsets directly funded projects to support respiratory health via GHG reduction. We aimed to take responsibility for emissions and explore adding a premium to the cost of travel based upon environmental impact. We purchased 1,021 tonnes of carbon offsets from two certified Gold Standard projects:

  • Biogas clean cooking in Vietnam

Biogas digesters convert animal waste into clean biogas that is used to cook and light homes in place of more expensive wood and fossil fuels. The benefits go beyond GHG reduction to cleaner air, better affordability and local job creation.

  • ‘LifeStraw’ clean water in Kenya

Gravity-driven water filters that require no consumables provide safe drinking water to families and avoid the emissions from boiling water to make it safe. Carbon finance has enabled delivery of this project, including the employment of health educators to ensure its continued success beyond the project term.

Clean energy transition in Sweden

Gothenburg, Sweden is close to reducing its reliance on fossil fuels to zero. Energy use is 3% lower than 2015 and substitution of its energy sources has reduced carbon emissions by 89%. The site imports 100% renewable power, the district heating supplier uses a majority of bioenergy feedstocks, and gas is sourced from certified biogas producers that use waste materials as the feedstock. The site has also installed three highly efficient heat pumps, which has allowed it to drastically reduce its use of gas. There are plans to expand and improve the technical solution even further with a fourth, more advanced, heat pump. It would be supported by a more than $2.5 million investment from Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme, because it is a recognised technical solution that can be scaled to reduce climate-related emissions broadly in society. To support sustainable commuting, we introduced a green travelling plan together with approximately 120 charging stations for electric vehicles.


1 <