Product environmental stewardship

What is Product environmental stewardship at AstraZeneca?

Company efforts to identify and address the environmental impact of products from discovery in early R&D through development to launch of a new product and during its commercial lifetime to end-of-use.

Our approach

We manage the environmental impacts of our products from discovery in the lab all the way through to the end of a product's life. We evaluate all materials and processes used to make our products and our scientists proactively investigate opportunities to close the production loop and strive towards circular solutions across our product value chains.

We utilise life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to measure the type and magnitude of environmental impacts that sit across our product value chains. We adhere to ISO LCA standards 14040 and 14044 to ensure our environmental impact data are reliable, robust and relevant. This knowledge not only enables action to be taken to improve the environmental performance of our products, but also provides vital information on the type of investment required to embed sustainability in the value chains of our future medicines.

While the pharmaceutical industry's absolute use of raw materials is relatively low in comparison to other industries, the conversion of those raw materials into products can be inefficient. We use a metric called process mass intensity (PMI) to measure our raw material efficiency. PMI is measured as kilograms of raw materials used to produce a kilogram of the final API. A lower PMI means we are using materials more efficiently. Our 2025 target for our small molecule drug projects is for 90% of new API production processes to meet PMI targets by launch.

In 2020 we updated our two internal governance procedures that provide medicine development projects with a framework to complete key SHE activities such as environmental, process safety and occupational toxicology assessments and chemical registration at defined development milestones. These ensure compliance and embed sustainability in our manufacturing processes prior to commercial manufacture.

Our key targets and progress

See the Sustainability Data Summary for all metrics and methodology

Our stories

Driving sustainability performance and product innovation
Improved quality of healthcare can lead to smaller GHG footprint
Nature as inspiration for medicine chemical development
Sustainability challenge

Next-generation inhalers
First life cycle assessment (LCA) for clinical trials
Mistra SafeChem project — safe and efficient chemistry by design

Learn more about Product environmental stewardship in our Sustainability Report.