Climate change TCFD disclosures, greenhouse gas disclosures, pharmaceuticals

AstraZeneca PLC – Annual report – 31 December 2021

Industry: pharmaceuticals

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures Statement (pages 217-222)

Our commitment to climate change

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need to build resilience across society, economies and healthcare systems globally. In similar ways to the pandemic, the threat that climate change poses also places societies at higher risk financially, socially and environmentally, with many of its impacts disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities and emerging economies still struggling to recover from the pandemic. The climate crisis also poses risks to public health, with rising global temperatures increasing the prevalence of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, changes in water-borne illnesses, allergen distribution and concentration, as well as mental health effects. Health system resilience across the entire value chain, from disease prevention to treatment, has never been more important.

The commitments we have made through our flagship $1 billion Ambition Zero Carbon programme ensure that we are playing our part in tackling the climate crisis as well as the opportunities that transitioning to a low-carbon economy could mean for our business.

We support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework and we have made disclosures consistent with the four TCFD recommendations and the 11 recommended disclosures. The bullet point list on Page 222 set outs the required disclosures and explains where in this Annual Report (or other relevant document) the various disclosures can be found. We first adopted the TCFD framework in our 2020 Annual Report, and continue to apply it this year to describe activities conducted in the year to 31 December 2021.

All our business operations worldwide are in scope, unless otherwise stated. The framework has been introduced with a risk-based approach focusing on the most material risks and opportunities. Future priorities to broaden the scope to medium- and low-risk areas are indicated in each section.

For further information relating to our TCFD disclosures, see our website

Our Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) response provides further disclosures (2020 performance) on our approach to climate change and is available at

Climate change and our strategy for physical risks

Understanding the potential impact of future climate scenarios, together with proactive mitigation, intervention plans and targeted investment, will future proof our business and build resilience to ensure our long-term financial sustainability and continued supply of medicines to patients. It is critical to understand the physical climate change risks to our workforce, local communities, our assets and supply to patients. Working in a preventive way, we want to minimise reactive behaviour and minimise interruptions from extreme weather events across our operations and value chain.

In 2020, we screened climate impacts across our operations and in 2021 we added our strategic suppliers (defined by cost of interruption and strategic role to AstraZeneca) to assess what a worst-case scenario (Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5) will look like in 2030, 2050 and 2100. In addition, two more optimistic scenarios (RCP 2.6 and 4.5) were modelled. By combining the results of the climate assessments with business criticality, we prioritised 12 potentially ‘at risk’ sites for further assessment in 2021.

For further information, see the scenario table on page 218.

Physical climate assessments will be expanded in 2022 and 2023 to include a deep-dive analysis of all strategic sites irrespective of risk. We will also focus on strategic upstream and downstream partners to understand their resilience to climate change e.g. bulk drug manufacturing, batch/QA/QC testing, distribution centres etc.

As the work progresses, we will increase our knowledge base with regard to the potential financial impact of extreme weather events, and appropriate mitigation and intervention plans. Financial impacts, such as stranded assets, cost of interruptions of supply, and capital investments, will be further assessed and, where material, they will be disclosed.

Climate change and our strategy for transition risks and opportunities

The nature of the risks and opportunities we face depends not only on the physical aspects of climate change, but also regulatory and commercial changes in the markets in which we operate, pressures to reduce the carbon footprints of specific medicines, and our ability to shape a culture of climate action focused on de-carbonising our value chain.

To respond to the identified climate risks and opportunities, we are taking enterprise-wide actions, and are committed to:

  • Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by maximising our energy efficiency, shifting to renewable energy sources, and investing in nature-based removals to compensate for any residual GHG footprint.
  • Building resilience by managing the physical (sites, supply chain) and transitional (regulatory, market and product) risks and opportunities from climate change in the value chain through adaptation and business continuity planning.

Through our Ambition Zero Carbon programme we are on track to reduce GHG emissions from our global operations by 98% by the beginning of 2026 and halve our entire value chain footprint by 2030, on the way to a 90% reduction by 2045. Our emission reduction targets have been verified by the Science Based Targets initiative and we were one of the first seven companies worldwide to have our net-zero, science-based Scopes 1 to 3 targets verified under their new Net-Zero Corporate Standard. We were also an early supporter of the UN-backed Race to Zero.

Near-term targets

  • achieve 98% reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by the beginning of 2026 from 2015 baseline
  • switch to a 100% fully electric vehicle fleet (EV100) by the end of 2025
  • use 100% renewable energy (RE100) for power and heat by the end of 2025
  • double energy productivity (EP100) from 2015 to 2025
  • launch first next-generation respiratory inhalers with near-zero climate impact
  • align supplier spend to companies with approved science-based targets by end of 2025
  • plant and steward over 50 million trees by end of 2025 as a nature-based solution to enhance climate, ecological and community resilience through our AstraZeneca Forest Global Initiative.

Long-term targets

  • achieve 50% reduction in total Scope 3 emissions by 2030 and 90% reduction by 2045, from 2019 baseline
  • become carbon negative for all residual emissions from 2030 and science-based net-zero by 2045
  • transition to next-generation respiratory inhalers with near-zero climate impact by 2030.

Recognising that the healthcare system represents approximately 4% of global GHG emissions, AstraZeneca continues to identify and exploit opportunities to deliver patient-centric, net-zero healthcare. In 2021, AstraZeneca established the Sustainable Healthcare Round Table under HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI). This SMI Sustainable Healthcare Round Table was launched at COP26 and focuses on the environmental and clinical benefits that can be delivered through digital health, proactive supply chain management and taking a patient care pathways approach that integrates clinical and environmental considerations to accelerate the provision of net-zero healthcare.


In October 2021, the Board established the Sustainability Committee to monitor the execution of our sustainability strategy, oversee communication of our sustainability activities with stakeholders and provide input to the Board and other Committees on sustainability matters. The members of the Committee are Nazneen Rahman (Chair of the Committee), Sheri McCoy, Andreas Rummelt and Marcus Wallenberg. The launch of the Sustainability Committee is an important next step in advancing and delivering our sustainability goals. The Sustainability Committee met once in December 2021 for an update on progress regarding our Climate Strategy and TCFD.

For more information on the Sustainability Committee and other Committees, see from page 86.

Our CEO is responsible to the Board for the management, development and performance of our business, including AstraZeneca’s Ambition Zero Carbon and climate-related risks and opportunities. Reporting to the CEO, the Executive Vice-President (EVP), Sustainability and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), is responsible for the delivery of AstraZeneca’s sustainability strategy, including our climate-related strategy.

A number of strategic groups have been established to support delivery of our sustainability and climate strategies:

  • In 2020, we established an Ambition Zero Carbon Governance Group with executive-level ownership, accountable for the delivery of our Ambition Zero Carbon programme. The group includes AstraZeneca’s CEO; CFO; the EVP for Sustainability and CCO; and EVP for Operations and IT. The Ambition Zero Carbon Governance Group met six times in 2021.
  • In 2020, a TCFD steering group was also established with cross-functional membership (Corporate Affairs, Investor Relations, Finance Risk and Reporting, R&D, Operations and Global Sustainability) to identify and proactively manage the physical and transition risks and opportunities posed to AstraZeneca by climate change. In 2021, members of the group undertook training on climate change and principles for future climate scenarios.

The outcomes from the specialist groups are reported regularly to the Board. The Audit Committee was updated on progress in April and the Sustainability Committee was updated in December 2021. The TCFD steering group met eight times in 2021 with a focus on the (i) execution of climate risk assessments at priority sites in AstraZeneca’s supply chain, (ii) mapping of transition risks and opportunities, (iii) integrating the management of climate risks and opportunities within the current governance structure and (iv) how to structure the TCFD Disclosure in the annual reporting process.


At a site level, the execution of roadmaps to deliver against our climate strategy and to manage the physical risks posed by climate change are led by the accountable site lead, executing control measures (technical or organisational) as an integrated part of their existing risk management system.

On a commercial level, each franchise lead is accountable for integrating transition risks in their strategies and financial forecasts for each brand. By managing the risks posed by a low-carbon economy and healthcare system, each business can unlock potential opportunities to support the transition to a low-carbon, patient-centric healthcare system.


In 2021, to incentivise delivery of our environmental, social and governance priorities, delivery of our Ambition Zero Carbon commitment was included in our executive incentive arrangements for the Performance Share Plan (PSP), with a weighting of 10%. This underlines the importance we place on reducing our Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 98% by 2026.

For more information, see Directors’ Remuneration Report from page 98.

Identifying and managing climate risk and opportunity

To inform the wider enterprise risk management process of any specific risks and opportunities posed by climate change and/or the transition to a low-carbon economy, we have integrated climate assessments into the overall enterprise risk management process.

Our overall approach to risk management and a summary of our Principal Risks can be found from page 48.

Scope and definitions

Scenario analysis helps us to understand the potential impact of climate change on our business to inform our business strategy and financial planning. In line with the TCFD guidance, we decided to use a low/medium/high case scenario based on Representative Concentration Pathway shared by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For more information, see the table on page 218.

Assessment of physical risks

In 2020, working with environmental resource management experts, ERM Group, Inc. (ERM), we conducted a screening study of two future climate scenarios to explore our physical climate-related risks (floods, water scarcity, extreme heat, cyclones and wildfires). These scenarios were applied to material AstraZeneca sites with predictions out from 2020 to 2030, 2050 and 2100. The evaluated sites included all business-critical operations sites, R&D hubs, IT centres and other strategic hubs. The outcome of these screening studies was combined with a revenue-based assessment for each site to identify mid- to long-term risks. A similar study was conducted in 2021 to cover Alexion R&D and Operations sites, and their strategic suppliers with support from AECOM Limited. This has now been integrated into the AstraZeneca approach to assessing physical climate risks at sites.

During 2021, we extended our access to climate scenario data by using Jupiter, Inc. for screening of risks from climate hazards to all AstraZeneca sites in future scenarios (RCP 2.6, 4.5 and 8.5). We also used the WWF Water Risk Filter to assess site risks for droughts in water stressed areas and how these could be amplified by climate change.

For further information relating to the screening assessments for material sites, see our website

Priorities for 2022 include:

  • Identify opportunities to take collective actions in hot spot regions, together with stakeholders, including peers, to manage water stress in a systemic way.

In 2021, we conducted a deep dive at 12 sites with high business criticality and potential exposure to climate change impacts in a worst-case scenario (RCP 8.5) by 2030 and 2050. The assessments cover:

  • inventory of hazards
  • risk analysis
  • risk evaluation
  • identification of mitigation measures.

Global Subject Matter Experts coordinated these assessments together with local representation from Manufacturing, Facilities Management, Safety, Health and Environment and the Risk Management Network. Where appropriate, the risk mitigation measures and interventions were escalated to site management and captured on the local risk register. Measures and actions to address these risks are included in the site master plans and business continuity plans as they are developed, and captured under the mid- and long-term financial planning for that site and function.

Priorities for 2022/23 include all material sites in scope for the initial climate risk screening and the Alexion sites will be subject to detailed site level physical climate impact assessments.

During 2021, we included nearly 350 strategic suppliers in a screening assessment for physical climate risks. Suppliers with a 12 month cost of interruption of more than $200 million and with a critical role in patient supply will be prioritised for further assessment in 2022.

In 2021, we included vulnerability to climate change as a formal decision criteria for the establishment of future internal or external manufacturing capacity.

Assessment of transition risks and opportunities

To meet the Paris Agreement commitments to be net-zero and restrict global warming to 1.5ºC, we need to take a product, company and healthcare system perspective to proactively manage the risks and opportunities posed by the transition to a low-carbon economy and healthcare system.

To deliver our 2030 carbon negative ambition, our products as well as our business will need to become carbon neutral. However, we also need to recognise that, given the limited period of exclusivity we have for innovative medicines, the GHG footprint of our current portfolio of products will not fully reflect our 2030 footprint. Many innovative treatments that will make up our 2030 portfolio are still in development and we can prioritise sustainability and efficiency in design, both in terms of process and product design, as well as the supplier network for manufacture and delivery. That means we are responsible for our choices in raw material sourcing, manufacture and formulation of APIs, along with device and packaging selection.

In November 2021, we launched a supplier-focused Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) programme (Energize) with peers in the pharmaceutical industry to accelerate access to renewable power for our suppliers.

We believe our patients and society will require products that have the smallest possible environmental impact, without sacrificing medical efficacy or safety. As technologies and healthcare systems evolve, so too should circular solutions to:

  • design out waste and pollution
  • keep products and materials in use
  • regenerate natural systems.

For this to happen, our scientists embrace carbon neutral design, migrate away from fossil fuels (where possible) and embrace a circular mindset to use materials (minimise by design, reuse, recycle, recover). To help our scientists prioritise what environmental aspects to focus on, we use life-cycle assessments to look at the environmental impact of our products. The GHG footprint for most medicines lies in our upstream supply chain; the exception is for the respiratory pMDI portfolio where the GHG footprint lies with the patient use.

As the wider healthcare system looks to deliver patient-centric net-zero healthcare, this will present some risks for AstraZeneca to manage, as well as some opportunities to deliver better patient and societal outcomes with a lower GHG footprint for the healthcare sector. AstraZeneca is part of the Scope 3 emissions of healthcare providers; we are part of their purchased goods and services footprint. Some healthcare providers have already set out their net-zero ambitions. For example, the NHS has established targets to procure medicines only from suppliers with climate targets aligned with, or more ambitious than their own, and they have goals to reduce the footprint of respiratory products by 50% over the next seven years. Therefore, the transition to next-generation propellants with a near-zero global warming potential within our Ambition Zero Carbon strategy is not only reducing our GHG footprint, it is also mitigating some of the transition risks we face in the market and will protect our revenue.

To better understand the financial consequences of the transition into a low-carbon economy to our business, we started to work with ERM. Risks and opportunities were assessed at an enterprise level and product-specific level for the top 10 brands where life-cycle assessment (LCA) data is available, representing approximately 50% of Total Revenue with examples from all our disease areas.

In 2021, we have focused on a pMDI product in our respiratory portfolio due to its relative high carbon intensity, strategic importance to the business, and being the initial focus for the next-generation propellant transition as part of our Ambition Zero Carbon strategy. In an initial Climate Financial Driver Analysis, risks and opportunities were identified during the transition phase where the current propellant will be substituted to a low-carbon alternative by end of 2025. The financial implications of transitioning to next-generation propellants are included in our financial forecasts, which inform our impairment assessments.

Priorities for 2022 include:

  • Define a methodology for ensuring that the climate risks associated with the franchise are fully integrated into business planning.
  • Determine the transition risks for other high carbon intensity products based on the pilot assessment.
  • Consolidate into Climate Financial Driver Analysis report (quantitative) to be included in the annual reporting process for 2022.
  • Initiate work to understand carbon intensity for Alexion products, their potential exposure to transition risks, and identify potential opportunities where their use can reduce the environmental footprint of existing healthcare pathways.
  • Conduct a study on how climate change impacts different disease areas and any future needs from patient groups.

Outcome of the physical and transitional assessments

In many cases mitigation measures are already in place to address the risks and opportunities presented by climate change, including those posed by the transition to a low-carbon economy and the provision of net-zero healthcare.

For more information, see the Risk supplement available on our website,

Monitoring our progress

The climate emergency is a public health emergency. It is changing our planet irreversibly, with warming reaching critical tolerance thresholds for health. Human health and the health of the planet are deeply interconnected. We have an opportunity now to reset how we live and create a more sustainable world – together and without delay.

We report on our GHG emissions and progress towards mid- and long-term targets in line with the World Resources Institute GHG Protocol guidance for defining and calculating our GHG footprint, which is disclosed separately in the Sustainability Data Summary Report.

Full details of our GHG footprint are disclosed in our Sustainability Data Summary Report 2021,

The performance report is reflecting how well we have been able to decarbonise the business and by that, reduce exposure to transition risks and unlock future opportunities for the Company and the wider healthcare sector.

During 2021, we were recognised for our efforts in sustainability across our strategic priorities. This included the following:

  • Inaugural 2021 Terra Carta Seal award
  • Dow Jones Sustainability Index constituent
  • FTSE4Good Index Series constituent
  • Financial Times 2021 European Climate Leader for reduction of GHG emissions
  • CDP Double A List for Climate and Water Security for the sixth consecutive year
  • Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.

For more information, see our Sustainability Report available on our website,

The bullet points below provide an explanation of where in this Annual Report (or other relevant document or location in respect of supplementary information) the various TCFD recommended disclosures can be found:


  • Is the Board’s oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities described? Pages 73, 89, 90 and 217. Sustainability Report pages 8 and 19.
  • Is management’s role in assessing and managing climate-related risks and opportunities disclosed? Pages 6, 15, and 217. Sustainability Report pages 8 and 19.


  • Are climate-related risks and opportunities the organisation has identified over the short, medium and long term disclosed? Pages 8, 30, 45 to 46, 220 to 221. Sustainability Report pages 20 to 22. Sustainability Data Summary pages 5 to 8.
  • Is the impact of the climate-related risks and opportunities on the organisation’s business, strategy, and financial planning described? Pages 48, 217, 219, 220 to 222.
  • Is the resilience of the organisation’s strategy described, taking into consideration different climate-related scenarios, including a 2°C or lower scenario? Pages 48, 218 and resources.html

Risk management

  • Are the organisation’s processes for identifying and assessing climate-related risks described? Pages 48, 91, 217 to 222. Sustainability Report pages 8 and 19.
  • Is the organisation’s process for managing climate-related risks disclosed? Pages 217 to 222. Risk Supplement page 5. Sustainability Report pages 8 and 19.
  • Is it described how the organisation’s process for identifying and managing climate-related risks is integrated into the organisation’s overall risk management? Pages 217 to 222. Sustainability Report pages 8 and 19.

Metrics and Targets

  • Is there disclosure of the metrics used by the organisation to assess climate-related risks and opportunities in line with its strategy and risk management process? Pages 48 and 90.
  • Does the organisation disclose its Scope 1, Scope 2 and, if appropriate, Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and related risks? Page 216. Sustainability Report pages 20 to 22. Sustainability Data Summary pages 5 to 7.
  • Does the organisation describe the targets used to manage climate-related risks and opportunities and performance against targets? Pages 45 to 46, 48 and 216. Sustainability Report pages 20 to 22. Sustainability Data Summary pages 5 to 8.

For more information, see our Sustainability Report and Sustainability Data Summary available on our website,

Sustainability (page 216)

supplementary information

Greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting BV

We have reported on all of the emission sources required under the Quoted Companies GHG Emissions (Directors’ Reports) Regulations 2013. These sources fall within our consolidated Financial Statements. We do not have responsibility for any emission sources that are not included in our consolidated Financial Statements.

We have used the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition). Emission factors for electricity have been derived from the International Energy Agency, USEPA eGRID, US Green-e and the Association of Issuing Bodies databases and for all other fuels and emission sources from the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

During 2021, the acquisition of Alexion was completed and Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions data has been integrated to our reported footprint for 2021 and all previous years to 2015.

Global GHG emissions data for the period 1 January 2021 to 31 December 20211

1 Regular review of the data is carried out to ensure accuracy, consistency and reflect major business changes. This has led to changes in the data from previous years. The majority of adjustments made are not material individually, except for (i) Scope 3 category 1 purchased goods and services (methodology update to transition from a global emissions factor database for estimating emissions based on spend, to a country-based database, thereby improving accuracy, method updates applied to current and previous years); and (ii) Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions from Alexion that was acquired during 2021 (reporting boundary expansion to include the acquired business, calculate the emissions across all scopes in a consistent manner, and integrate to previous years reporting).

2 Included in this section are GHGs from direct fuel combustion, process and engineering emissions at our sites and from fuel use in our vehicle fleet.

3 GHGs from imported electricity are calculated using the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance (January 2015) requiring dual reporting using two emissions factors for each site – Market-based and Location-based. Our corporate emissions reporting and targets follow the Market-based approach.

4 The aggregate of: (i) the annual quantity of energy consumed from activities for which the Company is responsible, including the combustion of fuel at a facility or the operation of any facility and (ii) the annual quantity of energy consumed resulting from the purchase of electricity, heat, steam or cooling by the Company for its own use.

5 Under the Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018, the Company needs to disclose what proportion of this figure relates to energy use in the UK and offshore area. For 2021, the proportion of total global energy and emissions originating from AstraZeneca’s UK and offshore area footprint were as follows: energy use 371 GWh (21%); Scope 1 site energy and road fleet emissions 60 ktCO2e (24%); Scope 2 site imported energy emissions using Market-based accounting 0 ktCO2e (0%); Scope 2 site imported energy emissions using Location-based accounting 12 ktCO2e (6%).

For more information, see Environmental protection from page 45.

For more information, see our 2021 Sustainability Report on our website,