Pascal Soriot is CEO of pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. As chair of the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Health System Task Force, Soriot brings together business leaders from across the global healthcare system with a common goal of decarbonizing the sector. In 2023, the task force outlined minimum sustainability targets for suppliers, setting a benchmark for the global supply chain.
What is the single most important action you think the public, or a specific company or government, needs to take in the next year to advance the climate agenda?
We need more collaboration. The urgency of the climate crisis means that no one organization, industry, or government can tackle this challenge alone. We have to work together to address challenges at scale.
What sustainability effort do you hope will gain popularity with the general public this year, and why?
The climate crisis is the biggest public health crisis we face. Climate change and poor air quality kill more people every year than the COVID pandemic did overall, contributing to a rise in cancer, respiratory illnesses, and heart disease. Initiatives that allow people to consume while reducing their environmental footprint and improving public health will become increasingly attractive. So, we at AstraZeneca are working to rapidly minimize and ultimately eliminate the environmental impact of our products by reducing carbon emissions, water consumption, and waste. We are also planting 200 million trees globally through our AZ Forest program. When done properly, reforestation can support human health and wellbeing through mitigating the impact of climate change as well as improving air quality. Through AZ Forest we are focusing on restoring biodiversity and partnering with local communities, creating thousands of jobs.
What’s the most important climate legislation that could pass in the next year?
The most important legislation would establish the price of carbon. This would unleash private investment to reduce carbon emissions throughout supply chains, but also drive investment in carbon capture through nature-based solutions and new technologies.
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