Novo Nordisk is committed to ‘strive to conduct its activities in a financially, environmentally and socially responsible way’. Environmental responsibility implies working to continuously improve the company's environmental performance by setting high objectives and integrating environmental considerations into daily business activities. To ensure that environmental priorities are attuned with stakeholders' and society's concerns and requirements, the company maintains an open dialogue with stakeholders, communicates its activities, and reports annually on its performance.

Environmental strategy

Novo Nordisk's environmental strategy and management system serve as robust tools that support the policy and the commitment to environmental responsibility. The strategy is reviewed to respond to emerging issues and proactively address societal and business challenges.

Novo Nordisk is an active player on the global environmental scene, in particular in the field of climate change, and we engage and partner with external stakeholders to improve our environmental performance.

Over the past decade, Novo Nordisk has successfully decoupled the environmental footprint from sales, measured by CO2 emissions, energy and water.

A new environmental strategy was approved in 2011. In this strategy we employ a company-wide scope, engaging operations, research & development and sourcing units in reducing our environmental footprint by working with products and processes and their environmental profile. This extends the responsibility for minimising Novo Nordisk’s environmental footprint to a broader part of the organisation than before, where it was mainly related to production units.

The strategy also defines strategic priorities and charts the route to getting to where we want to be in 2020 – with annual targets mapping the way.

The aspiration guiding the strategy is:

“To be a respected leader in the pharmaceutical industry and to be recognised as a responsible and sustainable business, continuously decoupling environmental impacts from business growth”.

The strategy has three elements:

  1. At the base we will be managing our business sustainably with licence to operate. This dimension is about ensuring compliance, global adherence to standards and addressing emerging issues.
  2. On top of that we will do incremental and continued improvements by working with two paths:
    • Sustainable improvement of current processes in Operations. Key initiatives are reduction of scrap and waste in our processes, supporting process robustness and high yield.
    • Sustainable development of future products and processes in Research & Development. Key initiatives are to implement footprint consideration in current standards and set up governance mechanism to guide and oversee activities.
  3. The strategy introduces a third dimension of cross-organisational approaches with ‘game changer’ potential. This dimension covers systemic change in areas of strategic interest. Three projects have been identified:
    • Sustainable value chain
    • Sustainable customer footprint
    • Sustainable communities.

The strategy encompasses impacts to the external environment from Novo Nordisk activities across the value chain and in the entire organisation. Impacts are defined as inputs in the form of resources consumption (energy, water and raw materials) and outputs in the form of emissions and waste (to air, water and soil). The scope covers production, Research & Development, headquarter staffs functions and affiliates.

To support the aspiration of Novo Nordisk’s environmental strategy, the management system at all our production sites have been ISO14001 and ISO18001 certified. The management systems ensures robustness when it comes to reduced consumption of natural resources in our production as well as minimised emissions to the environment.

Stakeholder roundtable on Novo Nordisk Environmental strategy

As part of developing the Novo Nordisk Environmental strategy 2020 we held an environmental roundtable with participation of non-governmental organisations, investors and an environmental protection agency.

These stakeholders provided useful feedback to the goals and priorities of the future environmental strategy. The stakeholders acknowledged our aspiration of decoupling environmental impact from the growth of our business, but also expressed that the final targets set will show our actual ambitions. Furthermore, they would like to see more emphasis on environmental impact in a full value chain perspective.

To see how stakeholders reacted to the environmental strategy at the meeting in May 2011 and our feedback to these conclusions see this PDF.