AstraZeneca Invests $400 Million in Reforestation, Biodiversity

by | Jun 29, 2023

Children plant a tree into brown soil

(Credit: Canva Pro)

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is investing a substantial $400 million in reforestation and biodiversity, through an initiative called the AZ Forest program. This initiative aims to plant 200 million trees globally by 2030 and ensure their long-term survival. 

AstraZeneca plans to expand its projects in Brazil, India, Vietnam, Ghana, and Rwanda, covering more than 100,000 hectares in total. The AZ Forest program aligns with the company’s sustainability strategy, Ambition Zero Carbon, which focuses on deep decarbonization in accordance with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celcius.

The AZ Forest Program Initiative

Through the AZ Forest program, AstraZeneca aims to remove its residual emissions from the atmosphere starting in 2030. The company is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and fleet by 98% by 2026 and aims to halve its entire value chain footprint by 2030. Ultimately, AstraZeneca aims to achieve a 90% absolute emissions reduction and become science-based net zero by 2045 at the latest.

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, emphasized the importance of addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. He stated that the AZ Forest program aims to deliver reforestation at scale while supporting biodiversity. By taking a science-based approach, AstraZeneca estimates that AZ Forest will remove around 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over approximately 30 years.

The initial commitment of AstraZeneca’s AZ Forest program, made in 2020, was to plant and maintain more than 50 million trees by the end of 2025. The company has made significant progress in countries such as Australia, Indonesia, Ghana, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France. With the planting of over 300 tree species, these projects have not only contributed to biodiversity restoration but also provided benefits to local communities.

AZ Forest Project Collaborators

The AZ Forest projects are developed in collaboration with planting experts, local communities, and governments to ensure natural forest restoration and agroforestry. These initiatives offer co-benefits such as the creation of new skills and jobs, the protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species, and improved public health. The projects will be audited and assessed by world-leading delivery partners and independent third-party experts, including the European Forest Institute.

AstraZeneca has also partnered with the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA) and the European Forest Institute to publish a science-based framework called the CBA Principles for Regenerative Landscapes. This framework aims to enable circular bioeconomy value chains and restore biodiversity, further supporting AstraZeneca’s commitment to reforestation and sustainability.

The AZ Forest program is aligned with the World Economic Forum’s initiative, which is a public-private partnership working towards conserving, restoring, and growing 1 trillion trees by 2030.

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