Water stewardship

What is Water stewardship at AstraZeneca?

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

Our targets and progress

Our approach

As a company that puts health first, we strive to use water efficiently and responsibly. Our approach is informed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct tool. This tool identifies and evaluates water risks around the world. Based on this information, and water use data across our facilities we:

1. Conduct water audits at our major sites to identify water-saving opportunities.

2. Produce water conservation plans for all our major sites and those in water-stressed areas. These plans highlight water risks and mitigation measures.

3. Set a target to maintain absolute water use at the 2015 level through 2025. We prioritise water efficiencies in water-stressed areas.

See our Site water stress assessment below

Our stories

Employees fight droughts and floods in Chennai, India

Our colleagues who live and work in Chennai are experiencing intensifying water shortages in the dry season, followed by deadly flooding in the rainy season. This water crisis has dried up reservoirs and they have been converted to trash dumps. The seasonal monsoon waters have nowhere to go, and therefore flood the city.

Employees in Chennai felt these impacts and they enacted our value of "Doing the Right Thing" by reaching out to the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI), a wildlife conservation and habitat restoration group. Together, EFI and AstraZeneca Chennai are restoring lakes in Chennai to be used as sources for clean water. EFI engages the community that will benefit from lake restoration and involves members in clean up, planting and biodiversity restoration projects. EFI, AstraZeneca and its community co-created the solutions, and all take ownership to ensure the longevity of these lake restoration projects.

In 2019, we restored two lakes that cover approximately two acres of land - in a lake in Velachery and a lake in Sholinganallur that is three times the size.

Here are the results of this project: 

  • Employee volunteers helped plant protective trees
  • Removed eight tons of hyacinth, an invasive species that can be harmful

Smart water meters

Water submeters have been installed at our site in Gaithersburg, MD, US. These will give real time water use data in the most water intensive parts of the site - the pilot manufacturing plant and laboratories. Using these data, we expect to identity efficiency opportunities and initiate projects to unlock future water savings.

Read more about Water stewardship in our Sustainability Report.