The production of pharmaceuticals is resourceintensive, particularly in terms of energy and water. Other key priorities in environmental management for Novo Nordisk are reducing waste and CO2 emissions, climate action, and minimising the environmental footprint of our products.

For more information on our annual performance, see our Annual Report.


As a global company based on energy intensive production, energy management is a key priority and an integral part of our environmental management system. We not only focus on reducing energy consumption in existing processes but also give high priority to ensuring energy sound project design in new facilities. For example, the new production facility in China uses approx. 30% less electricity than the similar facility in Brazil.


Novo Nordisk's water management programme focuses on reducing water consumption and on mitigating and adapting to risks related to water scarcity and flooding as a result of global warming. While Novo Nordisk’s fresh water consumption is fairly limited in a global perspective, we have production sites in China and Brazil in areas where water is a scarce resource.

In terms of climate adaptation at our production sites, Novo Nordisk has identified four areas that must be taken into consideration:

  • Flooding - is the production site capable of preventing or withstanding flooding?
  • Sewers - are the sewers built to endure the pressure from heavier rain showers?
  • Energy supply - is there sufficient water for steamers, etc?
  • Water supply - is there sufficient water as input to the production?


We are investigating various options for reducing our environmental footprint from waste, taking a differentiated approach to managing the different waste fractions.

Biomass from bulk production
Biomass from our bulk production of insulin is used for biogas production.

For our climate change efforts see here.

Climate action

In 2010, we set new priorities for climate action towards 2020. In the resulting updated climate strategy we include the majority of our business activities and commit to continue to make absolute cuts in CO2 emissions from production in the upper end of what is recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for 2020. Greening our steam supply in Denmark and energy supply in China are preconditions for achieving this aspiration.

We are looking into whether a new reduction target can be set for our CO2 emissions from production to replace the current target, which we expect to reach in 2014. The inclusion of the majority of our business activities means that we are now looking into how to report and reduce CO2 emissions from transportation. The transportation effort focuses on three areas: Company cars, business flights and product distribution. The CO2 emissions from product distribution are reported in the Novo Nordisk Annual Report. No targets have been set so far.

Environmental challenges specific to Novo Nordisk

Pharmaceuticals in the environment
Pharmaceuticals in the environment are an issue which is especially relevant for our oestrogen-related hormone products. Despite low concentrations in the purified waste water, effects have been observed for oestrogens on aquatic organisms, eg by causing feminisation of fish. A working group is seeking to come up with a solution . Until this happens, the waste water from our production plant in Måløv, Denmark is sent for destruction at ‘Nord’ in Nyborg.