Net-Zero Case Study - AstraZeneca

A leading global biopharmaceutical business with a revenue of over $37.4bn in 2021, AstraZeneca was one of the first of seven companies to receive validated net-zero targets from the SBTi. AstraZeneca’s scope 3 footprint is 20 times greater than scope 1 and 2 combined, so it is working closely with its supply chain partners and peers, with the goal to increase the share of spend with companies with verified science-based targets.

The Ambition Zero Carbon program

The company launched its Ambition Zero Carbon program in 2020 and its near-term target is to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions by 98% by 2026 from a 2015 baseline. In 2021, this was progressed when the company was able to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 59%. AstraZeneca sources 100% of its imported electricity from renewable sources and to deliver on the 98% reduction goal by 2026 it will reduce energy consumption by 10%, use 100% renewable energy, transition to an electric vehicle fleet and tackle site F-Gas emissions.

The challenge of scope 3 emissions

However, AstraZeneca’s scope 3 emissions represent over 95% of its corporate emissions. As such, the company has set a target to reduce absolute scope 3 emissions 50% by 2030 from a 2019 baseline, on the way to a 90% reduction by 2045 and science-based net-zero. In addition, from 2030 AstraZeneca will be carbon negative across all emissions sources through investment in nature based solutions that will remove greater than its residual footprint annually. To deliver on this ambitious target AstraZeneca has set a broad set of goals across its different scope 3 sources including:

  • Ensuring 95% of spend with key suppliers is with companies with approved science-based targets by 2025.

  • Developing pressurised metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) with using the propellant HFO-1234ze, which has up to 99.9% less Global Warming Potential (GWP) than propellants currently used in respiratory medicines.

AstraZeneca’s validated net-zero target against the SBTi Net-Zero Standard is a credible assessment and assurance that the company’s sustainability journey aligns with science. If we are to ensure a habitable planet for humankind, more companies must align with the Net-Zero Standard and set ambitious science-based targets across all scopes. Set a target now.