AstraZeneca invests $400m to quadruple tree planting commitment

Pictured: Reforestation already underway in Indonesia

The trees will all be planted this decade, with the pharmaceutical giant working in partnership with local environmental NGOs and community groups to design and implement reforestation programmes.

AstraZeneca has already kick-started tree-planting schemes in Australia, Indonesia, Ghana, the UK, the US and France. These initial schemes formed part of the business’s first forest commitment, which involved planting at least 50 million trees by 2025. Now, the business will support the planting of a further 150 million by 2030.

Additional reforestation schemes have been identified in Brazil, Ghana, India, Rwanda and Vietnam.

The largest of these is in India, whereby 64 million trees will be planted in the Meghalaya region. AstraZeneca is working in partnership with nature-based carbon credit project expert Earthbanc to deliver this project.

Elsewhere, 8,000 hectares of degraded land in Ghana will see 2.2 million trees planted, adding to 2.5 million already in place. The community-led programme will help smallholder farmers to upskill and increase their climate resilience. Similarly, in Rwanda, a 30-year programme is set to benefit 30,000 smallholder farmers.

Carbon accounting and collaboration

AstraZeneca is planning to use the carbon removal benefits from the projects to reach its own global net-zero goal, deadlined at 2045. It is aiming to reduce absolute emissions by at least 90%, relying on offsetting for the final few percent of residual emissions.

The business is set to start using carbon credits from the projects in its accounting from 2023 onwards. It is anticipating 30 million tonnes of CO2 removal between 2030 and 2060.

To help other organisations design and deliver their own collaborative, science-based landscape regeneration scheme, AstraZeneca has worked with the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA) and European Forest Institute (EFI).to develop open-source guidance.

CBA chair Marc Palahi said: “Forests play a key role in fighting climate change, hosting biodiversity and powering a circular bioeconomy that prospers in harmony with nature. Forests and trees are the backbone for 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.”

Related story: Pharma giants collaborate on net-zero pathway

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