Sustainability foundations

Investing in our people and communities

Our objective

We strive to be a great place to work and a good corporate citizen. We are dedicated to creating an inclusive, open and trusting organisation that embraces the skills, knowledge and unique abilities of every individual. We invest in our employees' wellbeing and their professional development, while encouraging them to use their skills and experience for the benefit of local communities.

2017 highlights

Increased 44.4%

the proportion of senior roles held by women

Reduced by 17%

the reportable injury rate since 2015

Donated $25 million

in Community Investment Contributions


People are the key to AstraZeneca's success. Without our committed, highly skilled and ambitious workforce, our company wouldn't enjoy such extraordinary success in transforming the lives of patients around the world. We work hard to recruit and retain the very best people in the industry, and pride ourselves on being an ethical employer. Our sustainable foundations reflect our Values and abiding commitment to people: our staff, patients, suppliers and society. This long-standing commitment is reflected across the nine foundational sustainability issues we reaffirmed in our 2016 materiality assessment:

  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Respecting human rights
  • Delivering workplace health and safety
  • Fostering employee development and retention
  • Product safety and quality
  • Interacting with and disclosing public policy and advocacy efforts
  • Positively engaging with communities
  • Meeting fair taxation expectations
  • Providing fair compensation


Our stories

Including adolescents in the health conversation

One element of our successful Young Health Programme is our ongoing advocacy work to give a voice to young people, especially when it comes to decisions about their health. We advocate for young people to be included in ongoing health dialogue on non-communicable diseases. Working with Plan International and Rise up Together, we continue to call for young people to be included in youth policy, programming and global discourse. In 2017 we invested more than $1 million in supporting these efforts to help young people make their voices heard and become part of the conversation.

Awarding health and safety excellence 

In 2017, our West Chester site in the US received a coveted AstraZeneca Safety Health and Environment Excellence award for its highly effective S.W.A.T. (safely working at all times) behavioural safety programme. The programme includes raising awareness, rapid safety assessments, safety campaigns, a safety social media tool and learning from incidents. A team of technicians with a passion for safety keep the momentum going across the site. The incident rate was reduced by 83% from 2016 levels and the site achieved 1 million hours without a lost time injury.

Another award winner in the safety category was the Packing and Logistics engineering project at Macclesfield in the UK. The project is a $112 million capital investment involving demolition of old facilities and construction of a high bay warehouse and the refurbishment of an existing facility. A ‘One Team’ safety culture was adopted, including a detailed project safety plan, safety incentives and the adoption of industry best practice which resulted in 500,000 hours and two years injury free.

Commitment to diversity and inclusion

Our commitments include a goal to increase the presence of women on our leadership teams. Women comprise 50.1% of our global workforce, and there are currently five women on our Board (42%). Below Board level, the representation of women in senior roles (i.e. roles at Career Level F or above that constitute the six highest bands of our employee population) increased to 44.4% in 2017 (from 43.2% in 2016), which exceeded our scorecard target of 43.5% for this measure and compares favourably to external benchmarks. Women are also currently promoted at a higher rate than men across all levels of seniority, positively impacting the gender balance. In 2017, we extended our ‘Women as Leaders’ experience to support the accelerated development of high potential women in AstraZeneca. In addition, we have developed women’s networks in most countries, held a women’s summit in the UK, US and Sweden, and continued to support mentoring relationships, for example, by introducing mentoring by senior females for emerging talent in Operations.

We recently published our first Gender Pay Gap Report, which provides gender pay information for AstraZeneca in the UK and outlines our plans for supporting women, as well as continuing to improve the diversity of our company globally.

Read more about our nine foundational issues in our Sustainability Report