Vanguard Renewables partners with AstraZeneca to “decarbonise US medicines manufacturing”

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AstraZeneca (AZN) is partnering with Vanguard Renewables to enable the delivery of renewable natural gas (RNG) to all of its sites in the United States by the end of 2026, in a first-of-its-kind collaboration.
From June 2023, AstraZeneca will begin purchasing RNG produced by Vanguard Renewables for its Newark Campus in Delaware, where the company packages 26 medicines for distribution across the US and makes medicine formulations for global supply.
By 2026, this collaboration is set to enable as much as 650,000 million British thermal units (MMBtu), or 190,500 megawatt hours (MWh), per year of RNG to be used across AstraZeneca’s US sites, equivalent to the energy required to heat more than 17,800 US homes for a year.
Pam Cheng, executive vice president of global operations & IT and chief sustainability officer at AstraZeneca, said: “We recognise the interconnection between the health of people and the planet, and are committed to driving deep decarbonisation across our operations and value chain. Our innovative partnership with Vanguard Renewables in the US is an illustration of how we are collaborating at scale to deliver sustainable science and medicines, as part of the transition to net zero health systems and a circular economy.”
AstraZeneca said it is taking a science-led, patient-centric approach to deliver improved health outcomes with a lower environmental footprint.
As heat and power are critical to the manufacture of medicines, the decarbonisation of healthcare requires access to clean sources of heat, such as RNG, it added.
This new partnership with Vanguard Renewables is an important milestone in delivering emissions reductions in line with AstraZeneca’s flagship Ambition Zero Carbon programme, it continued.
The Company is on track to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its global operations (Scope 1 and 2) by 98% by 2026 from a 2015 baseline, and by 2030, AstraZeneca aims to halve its entire value chain footprint on the way to becoming science-based net zero by 2045 at the latest.
The use of RNG at AstraZeneca sites in the US will further enable the company’s transition to 100% renewable energy for heat and power, it said.
This agreement will utilise Vanguard Renewables' Farm Powered® process, allowing Vanguard Renewables to work with dairy farmers and food and beverage manufacturers, retailers and distributors to produce RNG using farm-based anaerobic digestion (AD) from food and dairy cow manure.
Once the RNG is produced and captured through AD, it will be injected into existing natural gas infrastructure for use in AstraZeneca medicines research and manufacturing processes.
Through the partnership with Vanguard Renewables, AstraZeneca will access high quality RNG from three on-farm anaerobic digester facilities across the US for the next 15 years or more.
Neil H. Smith, CEO at Vanguard Renewables stated: “Vanguard Renewables is excited to be partnering with AstraZeneca on this transformative business-to-business clean energy solution. AstraZeneca has set a very ambitious and challenging net zero target, which is a benchmark for their sector and other global corporations. We strongly believe this partnership will provide a path for other like-minded companies to join us on the journey towards global decarbonisation.”
This collaboration will utilise food and beverage waste from the manufacturing sector and cow manure from local and family-owned farms, supporting rural communities across the US. By capturing methane from dairy operations that would have otherwise ended up in the atmosphere, this partnership also reduces pollution from the farming sector.
John Hanselman, chief strategy officer at Vanguard Renewables commented: “We have been working with multi-generational farms and food and beverage manufacturers since 2014 to provide sustainable solutions to greenhouse gas emissions challenges by diverting food waste from landfills and sequestering on-farm emissions. Vanguard’s Farm Powered process provides farmers across the US with additional revenue streams, supports regenerative agriculture practices, and helps to ensure that these farms will be operating for years to come – thanks in part to change-making partnerships like this with AstraZeneca.”

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