22 February 2022
Making progress on Ambition Zero Carbon through collaboration with key partners and suppliers
Our partnership with Honeywell to develop next-generation respiratory inhalers with near-zero Global Warming Potential (GWP) propellant demonstrates our commitment to improving patient outcomes and protecting patient choice, while reducing our environmental footprint.
Since we launched our flagship sustainability programme Ambition Zero Carbon, the devastation caused by COVID-19 has led to extraordinary changes across the world. Something that remains unchanged, however, is the climate emergency which has the potential to be one of the greatest threats to human health.1 Together with partners across our value chain, we're taking concrete steps to decarbonise the environmental impact of care in support of healthy people, healthy society and a healthy planet.
Listen to our Senior Executive Team members discuss our delivery on Ambition Zero Carbon in this short video:
Advancing our next-generation pressurised metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) with a near-zero Global Warming Potential (GWP) propellant
We’re partnering with Honeywell to develop a next-generation pMDI, using the propellant HFO-1234ze which has up to 99.9% less GWP than propellants currently used in respiratory medicines.2 This is an innovation that is extremely important given the clinical need for pMDIs.3-7
Globally, as many as 339 million children and adults are affected by asthma8 and up to 384 million people live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).9 For many of these people, pMDIs are an important therapeutic option,3-7 as these inhaled medicines reduce COPD exacerbations and asthma attacks, which are potentially life-threatening events.10-11 However, pMDIs contain small quantities of a type of greenhouse gas (GHG) to propel the medicine into the lungs.12
It is important to recognise that poor respiratory disease control can contribute significantly to a higher carbon footprint of respiratory care.13 Therefore, prioritising optimal disease management would not only improve patient outcomes but could also have a positive impact on the environment. For example, data showed uncontrolled asthma is associated with an increased carbon footprint compared to well controlled asthma.13 The excess GHG emissions come from routine GP visits and hospital care resulting from asthma attacks plus an over-reliance on short-acting beta2-agonist inhalers (three or more inhalers/year).13
Chronic respiratory diseases can seriously affect patients’ lives, and it is crucial to tailor treatment to individual patient need. We know that millions of patients globally use pMDIs to help prevent asthma attacks and COPD exacerbations. It is great to see near-zero global warming potential propellants in development that will ensure continued patient choice, as well as offer viable solutions to reducing the environmental impact of pressurised metered dose inhalers.
On track to deliver Ambition Zero Carbon commitments
Our collaboration with Honeywell is one example of the progress we’re making on our sustainability commitments. With science as our guiding principle, we are delivering on our ambition to be zero carbon across our global operations by the end of 2025 and carbon negative across our entire value chain by 2030. At AstraZeneca all of our imported electricity now comes from renewable sources and by the end of 2021, we had achieved a 59% reduction in our Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions against a 2015 baseline, including the integration of Alexion AstraZeneca Rare Disease’s footprint.13 Our 2021 Sustainability Report outlines our progress and commitments in further detail.
Taking net zero to the next step
We recognise that working in collaboration with others is critical to drive system-wide change. Like many other companies, the majority of our emissions sits outside our own operations and therefore engagement across our entire value chain is critical for us to reduce our Scope 3 emissions. That is why we have set the goal that by the end of 2025, 95% of our key suppliers and partners will have science-based targets to limit global warming to <1.5C.13
We cannot do this alone. We’re committed to working closely with our supply chain to help others on their decarbonisation journey - and accelerate a system-wide shift to net zero. Sustainable procurement is critical to the future of business – but also to how the world operates
As a founding member of the Energize programme launched at COP26, we will continue our work to support the pharmaceutical supply chain to access renewable energy. In addition, our Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot is championing the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Health Systems Taskforce, which comprises 13 global health leaders and aims to accelerate the delivery of net zero, patient centric healthcare.
As a global business pushing the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines, we’re committed to working in partnership with our stakeholders to build a sustainable future.
1. WHO. Climate change and health. [Online]. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health. [Last accessed: February 2022].
2. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Date on file. Global Warming Potential of HFO-1234ze. (ID: REF-140251)
3. Lavorini F. The challenge of delivering therapeutic aerosols to asthma patients. ISRN Allergy. 2013;102418.
4. Usmani OS, et al. Inhaler choice guideline. Choosing an appropriate inhaler device for the treatment of adults with asthma or COPD. 2017. Available at: https://www.guidelines.co.uk/respiratory/inhaler-choice-guideline/252870.article [Last accessed: February 2022]
5. Roche N, et al. The evolution of pressurized metered-dose inhalers from early to modern devices. J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2016;4:311–27.
6. Laube BL, et al. What the pulmonary specialist should know about the new inhalation therapies. Eur Respir J. 2011;37:1308-31.
7. Lavorini F, et al. Optimising inhaled pharmacotherapy for elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the importance of delivery devices. Drugs Aging. 2016;33:461–73.
8. The Global Asthma Network. The Global Asthma Report 2018. [Online]. Available at: http://www.globalasthmareport.org/Global%20Asthma%20Report%202018.pdf. [Last accessed: Februayr 2022].
9. Adeloye D, et al. Global Health Epidemiology Reference Group (GHERG). Global and regional estimates of COPD prevalence: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Glob Health. 2015; 5 (2): 020415.
10. Beasley RW, et al. Controlled trial of budesonide-formoterol as needed for mild asthma. N Engl J Med. 2019;380 (21):2020–2030.
11. Ferguson GT, et al. Effect of budesonide/formoterol pressurized metered-dose inhaler on exacerbations versus formoterol in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the 6-month, randomized RISE (Revealing the Impact of Symbicort in reducing Exacerbations in COPD) study. Respir Med. 2017; 132: 31‐41
12. Myrdal PB, et al. Advances in metered dose inhaler technology: formulation development. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2014;15(2):434–455.
13. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. AstraZeneca progresses Ambition Zero Carbon programme with Honeywell partnership to develop next-generation respiratory inhalers. [Online]. Available at: https://www.astrazeneca.com/content/astraz/media-centre/press-releases/2022/astrazeneca-progresses-ambition-zero-carbon-programme-with-honeywell-partnership-to-develop-next-generation-respiratory-inhalers.html. [Last accessed: February 2022].