Water stewardship

What is Water stewardship at AstraZeneca?

Company operations can have adverse impacts on water. In water stressed regions, water quality and availability may be more pronounced for local stakeholders and company operations. This also includes responsible wastewater discharge of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). We address water impacts from the use of our products in the Pharmaceuticals in the Environment page.

Our targets and progress

Our approach

Our approach to responsible water use and management is based on the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct tool. Each year, we conduct plant-wide water audits at select manufacturing sites to identify water-saving opportunities. We also produce water conservation plans for all our major sites and those in water-stressed areas.

These plans highlight water risks and mitigation measures. We set a target to maintain absolute water use at the 2015 level through 2025. We prioritise water efficiencies in water-stressed areas. Since setting the target, we’ve implemented:

• Water audits at nine sites, including Yelahanka, Bangalore; Shanghai, China; and Newark, US, with two planned for 2019

• Rainwater harvesting at four sites: Wuxi, China; Cambridge, UK; Macclesfield, UK; and Frederick, US.

See our Site water stress assessment below

Our stories

Rainwater harvesting in Cambridge

Our commitment to safeguarding water security goes beyond our manufacturing processes. At the building site for our future headquarters in Cambridge, UK, we installed rainwater retention tanks to collect, treat and store water for use across the site. Not only does this reduce our need for fresh water, it lowers our flood risk. Through this installation, any rainwater that falls onto the site enters our rain tanks, where it is stored for future use. This project also enabled the Borehole Water Saving Initiative, which won a Green Apple Environment Award. The site’s geothermal system required the drilling of 166 boreholes, which needed a supply of fresh water to help remove the dirt.

  • 2+ million litres of potable water saved
  • $9,000 approximately saved

Cooling method reduces water footprint

We look for opportunities across our operations to limit the amount of water we use and to ensure the quality of the water that leaves our sites. At our site in Södertälje, Sweden, we designed a new cooling system to reduce our water use and footprint. At this site, we must cool down the purified water we produce. Traditionally, we used water from the city system for this process. Our new system, however, uses a closed-loop process that cools down the purified water, leading to substantial savings:

  • 44,000m3 of water saved annually
  • Equal to 1% of AstraZeneca’s total water footprint