Global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced today a significant expansion of its reforestation and biodiversity-focused program, AZ Forest, including a new $400 million investment, and a commitment to plant 200 million trees by 2030.
AstraZeneca launched AZ Forest in 2020, with an initial pledge to plant and maintain more than 50 million trees by the end of 2025, in order to contribute to climate action, nature restoration and biodiversity promotion, in addition to building ecological and community resilience.
According to the company’s latest Sustainability Report, more than 10.5 million trees from over 300 species have been planted under the program as of the end of 2022, in countries including Australia, Indonesia, Ghana, the UK, the US and France, allowing the restoration of biodiversity and natural habitats.
With today’s announcement, AstraZeneca will expand and add new projects in countries including Brazil, India, Vietnam, Ghana and Rwanda, with the program spanning over 100,000 hectares worldwide, positively impacting an estimated 80,000 livelihoods, and removing approximately 30 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.
In addition to planting, the program includes a commitment to ensure the long-term survival of the trees. The program includes the use of remote sensing, high-resolution imagery, and long-term monitoring to track factors including the health of trees, soil and water quality and biodiversity, as well as carbon sequestration. The company also said that it has partnered with the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA) to publish a science-based framework for sustainable, resilient and locally appropriate landscape regeneration.
According to AstraZeneca, the program forms part of its sustainability strategy, Ambition Zero Carbon, which includes goals for the company to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operations and fleet by 98% by 2026, and achieve a 50% reduction in value chain emissions by 2030 and a 90% absolute reduction by 2045. The company aims to address its residual emissions through AZ Forest from 2030 onwards.
AstraZeneca was one of the first seven companies globally to have its climate targets certified under the Science Based Targets initiative’s Net Zero Standard in 2021.
Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca, said:
“The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are damaging the planet and harming human health. 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.”