AstraZeneca announces $400mn reforestation investment

Biotechnology company AstraZeneca has announced a US$400mn investment in reforestation and biodiversity to support climate action and human health

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology company AstraZeneca has pledged an investment of US$400mn to its global AZ Forest programme.

Through the investment, the business is committing to planting 200 million trees by 2030 and ensuring their long-term survival, including new and expanding projects in Brazil, India, Vietnam, Ghana and Rwanda. In doing so, AstraZeneca aims to promote biodiversity through building ecological and community resilience, spanning over 100,000 hectares worldwide.

In 2020, AstraZeneca announced its AZ Forest commitment – part of the company’s flagship sustainability strategy, Ambition Zero Carbon – with the ambition of planting and maintaining more than 50 million trees by 2025. So far, over 300 tree species have been planted in Indonesia, Ghana, the UK, the US and France to help restore their natural habitats. 

“The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are damaging the planet and harming human health,” says Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer at AstraZeneca. “Through AZ Forest, we are working with local communities and ecological experts to deliver reforestation at scale, as well as support biodiversity and sustain livelihoods. We are taking a science-based approach, and AZ Forest will remove around 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over about 30 years.”

AstraZeneca’s decarbonisation and science-based targets 

The programme focuses on helping AstraZeneca achieve significant decarbonisation goals in alignment with the Paris Agreement. To do so, the business is committed to achieving an absolute emissions reduction of 90%, while striving to attain a science-based net-zero emissions status no later than 2045. To reduce the impact its operations and fleet have on the environment, AstraZeneca has also committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 98% before 2026.

Now the programme is being expanded, it will positively impact the lives of 80,000 individuals across the globe. 

In order to achieve natural forest restoration and promote agroforestry, AZ Forest projects are carefully developed in collaboration with planting experts, local communities and governments. 

These projects bring a range of benefits, including the creation of new jobs and skill development, the protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species and the improvement of public health. To ensure the quality and success of these projects, each undergoes careful auditing and assessment by world-leading delivery partners and third-party experts, including The European Forest Institute (EFI).

“Forests play a key role in fighting climate change, hosting biodiversity and powering a circular bioeconomy that prospers in harmony with nature,” says Marc Palahí, Chair of Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA). “Forests and trees are the backbone of life on our planet and the basis for human health and wellbeing. Through the design and delivery of public-private partnerships like AZ Forest, which are underpinned by a science-based and principles-led approach, we can mitigate the impacts of climate change and create economic and social value for local communities.”

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