Planning for a sustainable future post-COVID-19 (Astrazeneca)

Sun 10th Jan 2021

World Environment Day gives us pause to reflect on what kind of world we want to see rise from the global pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis that is having a huge personal, social and economic impact. While focusing on testing, vaccine development and working on new and existing treatments for COVID-19, we’re also looking towards the post COVID-19 world and how we can use science to aid the recovery.

A new 10-point action plan, co-authored by Professor Jason Snape, Head of Environmental Protection, AstraZeneca, highlights the strategies required for a sustainable future post-pandemic, focusing on the implementation of a circular bioeconomy. 

The article reflects the collective work of the Sustainable Markets Council (SMC) established by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in September 2019, of which AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot was a founding member.

In conjunction with publication of the paper, the topic will be discussed at the virtual roundtable meeting of the SMC, where the public-private network of global leaders, including from AstraZeneca, will explore game-changing solutions and champion a movement towards sustainable market creation. It is through engaging in global conversations such as these we continue to drive a sustainable agenda for healthcare.

“We take a holistic approach to our business, whether it be focusing on the whole patient journey, or the cycle of drug development, or our impact on the environment. As members of the Science Based Targets initiative, we know that a healthy planet equals healthier people and we’re working with partners to drive the agenda for healthcare and further the cause for a more sustainable future,” said Jason Snape.

On 3 June, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales launched The Great Reset, a new global and multi-stakeholder call to action to explore the actions necessary to ensure that our systems in a post-COVID-19 climate are recalibrated for a future that is more resilient, sustainable and inclusive.

AstraZeneca supports progress towards a circular bioeconomy and The Great Reset as part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the need to operate responsibly and sustainably in the post-COVID-19 recovery. Last month, AstraZeneca was one of 115 signatories to the United Nations Global Compact’s (UNGC) Recover Better statement, urging governments around the world to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with the latest climate science. AstraZeneca is committed to operating in a way that recognises the interconnection between business growth, the needs of society and the limitations of our planet.

At the World Economic Forum earlier this year, Pascal Soriot, CEO announced Ambition Zero Carbon, AstraZeneca’s commitment to bring forward its carbon reduction targets by a decade and produce zero carbon across operations sites and ground fleets by 2025 without the use of offsets, and be carbon negative across the entire value chain by 2030.

“We recognise that sustainable business is smart business, and as a global organisation spending in excess of $10bn per annum with suppliers, we have a duty to support sustainability not just within our own sites and products, but for our whole value chain,” said Jason Snape.

Ambition Zero Carbon’s focus on avoidance, efficiency, sourcing renewables and making the most of opportunities for circularity is key and feeds directly into the 10-point action plan to create a circular bioeconomy devoted to sustainable wellbeing.

The move towards a circular bioeconomy requires both immediate action and long-term thinking to transform our society into build a better world for everyone.