The Pursuit of Net Zero Carbon Clinical Trials

Main Presenter:    Saori Galley 

Co-Authors:   Michael Collins     Daniel Ohman      Neil Mackillop                                    

Clinical trials result in significant carbon emissions. To understand and mitigate these emissions, in 2020, AstraZeneca worked with Environmental Resources Management to conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) to appraise the carbon footprint of a Phase 3 heart failure trial. The assessment was expanded in 2021 to encompass trials across other therapeutic areas, quantifying all the sources of carbon emissions in each trial.
In 2022, over 100 company experts from across clinical trial teams were convened to investigate the details of trial activities that cause emissions. They identified ways in which the emission from each activity could be reduced, or even eliminated, while still achieving the purpose of the trial. All their inputs have been incorporated into a comprehensive step-by-step Roadmap to Net Zero Clinical Trials.

Several priority action areas have been identified within the clinical trials life cycle, including study related travel, lab kit supply, sample shipments, patient communication and waste of investigational product.
The roadmap provides Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that address the footprint drivers and that are readily integrated into the objectives and targets of the functional lines that design and run clinical trials.
This presentation will provide an overview of the application of life cycle assessment to clinical trials, the subsequent development of the Net Zero Clinical Trials Roadmap and how it has been used by design teams to identify and harness opportunities to drive reductions in clinical trials carbon emissions.

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