AZ1805 AstraZeneca logo on living wall

AstraZeneca – a company that incorporates sustainable development into every area of its business


The question if stopping global warming at 1.5C is still possible was discussed during the recent COP27 climate-change summit in Egypt. To achieve this ambitious environmental goal, despite numerous challenges, it is certain that companies should show great commitment and contribution to its implementation. Companies have real influence and intellectual resources to reduce their carbon footprint and thus contribute to reducing their share in global CO2 emissions. AstraZeneca is one of the companies that joined the Science-Based Targets (SBTi) initiative and, with its substantive support, implements the Ambition Zero Carbon strategy, as announced in 2020. The carbon footprint is just one element of AstraZeneca’s broad sustainability strategy.

 AstraZeneca is an innovative biopharmaceutical company with British-Swedish roots, it is at the forefront of the largest and most innovative companies in this sector in the world. Globally, the company places particular emphasis on introducing innovative solutions in the broadly understood area of health. AstraZeneca has been operating in Poland for over 30 years. The company has two offices – in Warsaw and Krakow – and employs almost 3,000 people. The activities of AstraZeneca Pharma Poland are regularly acknowledged and appreciated in our country. Since 2019 the company has been granted the status of a Research and Development Centre.

AstraZeneca goes beyond standard thinking about sustainable development. The company has analysed its impact profile and identified three sustainability areas: access to health; environmental protection; and ethics and transparency. These pillars determine the main idea of the organisation, which is influencing the improvement of the health of the society while caring for the natural environment. In the area of sustainability, the company acts in accordance with the belief that a clean environment positively affects the health of patients. The scientifically proven correlation between a pollution-free environment and people’s health allows them to take environmental action to reduce the incidence of diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The overriding value of the company is the well-being of patients, which, in accordance with the company’s policy, not only does it mean creating the most innovative drugs, but also sharing the accumulated knowledge and experience with other entities of similar values. Therefore, AstraZeneca Pharma Poland initiates and actively engages in projects such as the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub (WHIH) or the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience (PHSSR), aimed at solving problems that affect healthcare systems.

In the area of environmental protection, the company calculated its carbon footprint in the so-called first and second scope in 2015, and in 2019 it estimated emissions in the third scope. The ranges were calculated according to the definitions contained in the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. This made it possible to define a strategy for achieving climate neutrality in the first and second scopes by 2025, and in the third scope – in the value-chain – by 2030. These goals have been verified by SBTi. In 2030, the company intends to achieve negative emissions of CO2 equivalent, which is possible if the use of fossil fuels in the entire value-chain is completely abandoned.

Reducing emissions in the third scope is the biggest challenge for all companies. For this reason, during COP27, seven global pharmaceutical companies decided to combine their efforts. The companies ae to establish common standards for cooperation with suppliers, switching to renewable energy, using green heat sources by investing in their wide availability, switching to a low-emission transport fleet, and creating green transport corridors.

AstraZeneca in Poland, in relation to the second scope, already uses a car fleet consisting only of hybrid and electric vehicles. The company is taking several pioneering actions so that from 2025 the entire fleet will be exclusively electric vehicles. For its consistent and long-term activities in the field of electromobility, in 2022, for the third year in a row, AstraZeneca received the “Eco Fleet” award of by the Polish Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.

Sustainability is not only about the carbon footprint. In the case of a company such as AstraZeneca, which produces drugs, a very important issue is the release of residues of active substances contained in drugs into the environment. The products undergo thorough inspection for toxicity. The company has developed an environmental risk assessment matrix and implemented ecopharmacovigilance.

For a company actively operating in the field of R&D, cooperation with the scientific community is crucial. AstraZeneca in Poland has been working together for years, for example, with the University of Warsaw or PACTT, the Association of Centres for Technology Transfer (Porozumienie Akademickich Centrów Transferu Technologii). The company also runs an innovative Ambassador Programme under which it looks for talent among students. Thanks to such initiatives, AstraZeneca has the opportunity to reach ambitious, young people who, like the company, want to support sustainable development not only for the benefit of patients, but also for the benefit of the entire society.

AstraZeneca’s activities over the years have been additionally appreciated in several other areas. The company received the Top Employer Poland and Top Employer Europe titles twice (in 2021 and 2022), which confirm its operations in accordance with the highest standards in the field of HR practices. In April 2022, representatives of the company received the Investor Without Borders award for activity in the area of R&D and implementation of innovative solutions on the pharmaceutical and medical market. The company also received the Innovator statuette in the pharmacy category at this year’s Wprost Gala for developing a breakthrough therapy in oncology treatment. The last award is the Innovation Diamond, received in November 2022 for innovations in the “pharmacy” category.

Despite the successes so far, the company does not stop in its pro-ecological activities. “There is always something we can do better and take even more care of the environment. We believe that the future depends on two interconnected elements – the health of people and the planet. It is important to conduct business in an ethical and transparent manner. AstraZeneca focuses on people and sustainable development. At the end of the day, it is employees who drive change for the better” – says Michał Janik, executive director of the Warsaw Site of AstraZeneca Pharma Poland.