Britain’s biggest drugmaker AstraZeneca announced on June 28 that it would invest $400 million to plant over 200 million trees by 2030 as part of its strategy for reducing carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
The commitment represents about $60 million a year, for one of the UK's most valuable listed companies, which has a market capitalization of about $230 billion. AstraZeneca’s revenue in 2022 was about $44 billion.
Still, the new sustainability commitment is far larger than past ones. In 2020, the company said it would plant and maintain more than 50 million trees by the end of 2025. Now the company expanded that programme to plant more than 200m trees by 2030. The trees will be planted in Brazil, Vietnam, Ghana, Rwanda and India. Countries with tropical forests such as Brazil and Indonesia absorb the most CO2 and are crucial in the battle against global warming.
AstraZeneca says its tree-planting plan will remove an estimated 30 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. It will offset some of the emissions of the contractors it uses in its supply chain, as the drugmaker aims to achieve net zero by 2045.
AstraZeneca also announced earlier this month it would shift to biogas produced from cow manure and food waste in the U.S., to cut its carbon emissions there.
However, much of the global pharmaceutical and biotech industry has yet to set targets for lowering carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, according to researchers.