We will communicate openly – both internally and externally – about our environmental responsibilities, and report on our environmental performance annually.
(From Novo Nordisk's Environmental Policy)
In Dialoque with our Environmental Stakeholders
Novo Nordisk has a tradition for open communication with society at large. In the environmental area, one example is the publishing of this Environmental Report.
We also carry out a number of activities to ensure continuous dialogue with our environmental stakeholders. This gives us the opportunity to discuss biotechnological issues, and also provides us with new inspiration and insights on issues in society at large. Our annual two-day visit programmes for leading European environmental organizations are one example. This initiative will continue in 1996. In last year's Environmental Report we also set up the target of expanding the dialogue to include North American environmental organizations.
1995 Target: We will initiate dialogue with key North American environmental stakeholders, aiming to maintain ongoing contact.
In November 1995 10 representatives of different environmental and consumer organizations met Danish and American Novo Nordisk employees at our enzyme plant in Franklinton, North Carolina, USA. Nature protection, particularly of groundwater resources, is an issue given high priority by the American environmental organizations. The visitors were therefore particularly interested to hear about how spent biomass from Novo Nordisk is used as fertilizer on agricultural land. Since paper and pulp production is a major industry in North Carolina they were also interested to hear about enzymes made by Novo Nordisk that can reduce the amounts of chlorine used in the paper manufacturing process. The visitors had a number of questions and ideas that we will continue to work on.
On platforms all over the world
We are frequently asked to present our environmental work in local, national and international fora. In October 1995 Steen Riisgaard, member of Corporate Management and Chairman of the Corporate Environmental Board, was the main speaker at the first environmental conference for companies in Southeast Asia. The conference was arranged by the Global 500 Forum, an association of recipients of UN environmental awards.
Press conference on transgenic animals
In September 1995 we held a press conference on transgenic animals for Danish journalists. In order to address this issue as broadly as possible several external speakers were on the programme. They included Mr. Peter Sandøe, Chairman of the Danish Ethical Council Concerning Animals, and Mr. Ron James, Managing Director of Scottish PPL Therapeutics plc, in which Novo Nordisk is a shareholder. We cooperate with PPL Therapeutics on three potential pharmaceuticals: Fibrinogen to stop blood loss, Protein C to prevent blod clots, and Factor VII for the treatment of haemophilia patients.
Standpoints – a Prerequisite for Dialogue
Companies are increasingly being required not only to comply with current legislation but also to apply ethical considerations to their manufacturing processes, to the needs the products meet, and to the effects of individual products on social, economic and environmental development both locally and globally. Before we can initiate fruitful dialogue with our environmental stakeholders we have to understand these issues ourselves and to clarify our own standpoint. This applies particularly to complex issues such as bioethics, animal experiments and labelling of genetically-modified foods, and to preserving our planet's great variety of living organisms – the global biodiversity.
Based on a series of internal discussions, we have prepared seven position papers which have all appeared in our employee newspaper, Dialogue.
Various fora within our organization will continue the discussion of ethical issues which have a bearing on Novo Nordisk.
The biodiversity project of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the Capricórnio Florestal rain forest in Brazil has been discontinued on legal grounds. The DKK 500,000 contributed by Novo Nordisk will be transferred to a WWF/Novo Nordisk grant fund to support various biodiversity projects.
Biodiversity and Transfer of Technology
In 1995 we initiated cooperation on transfer of technology, microbiology and enzyme screening with Harare University in Zimbabwe. In addition, a Ph.D. student from Mysore University in India has undergone practical training at our laboratories in Denmark.
Environmental Networks for a Joint Effort
Exchanging information between companies and stakeholder organizations is an important element of our environmental communication. As well as providing an opportunity to gain new ideas from other companies and environmental stakeholders, information exchange also paves the way for initiating joint projects. Novo Nordisk participates in the following national and international networks:
"Environmental coffee club"
Four times a year senior representatives from the Danish Society for Conservation of Nature, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Krüger Group and Novo Nordisk meet for informal talks on developments in the environmental area. The "coffee club" also arranges conferences on current topics in the environmental debate. In April 1996 a conference on environmentally alien substances was held.
European Partners for the Environment (EPE)
EPE is a two-year old organization with the objective of developing and strengthening dialogue between different sectors of society to promote shared responsibility for sustainable development. Representatives from environmental organizations and consultancies, industry, local public administration and trade unions attend EPE workshops. Public meetings are also arranged at which the organizations can propose initiatives to ensure sustainable development. EPE also publishes a handbook of examples of environmental promotion initiatives and analyses of environmental development in Europe.
WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development)
This organization is an amalgamation of 120 international companies in 36 countries as a forum for the exchange of ideas and objectives to promote sustainable development at global level.
New Danish environmental assistance programme
One of our researchers has been nominated as a member of the Danish Advisory Council for Environmental Assistance, an interdisciplinary programme initiated by the Danish Ministries of the Environment and of Foreign Affairs. We have also been one of the initiators of an "Opinion Paper on Microbial Diversity"
in the EU's Working Party on Applied Molecular Genetics.
At Novo Nordisk, environmental topics are an integrated element of a series of mandatory courses. In 1995 instruction was given at 13 "introductory courses for new employees", each with around 60 participants; 12 "joint courses" for hourly-paid employees, each attended by 16 participants; and two "basic training courses" for staff at Enzyme Business subsidiaries. We also provide ad-hoc training for our production operations.
Status of 1995–96 Target: Integrate environmental issues in courses for managers and directors.
By the end of 1996 environmental issues will be an integrated element of all mandatory courses for managers and directors.
Status of 1995–96 Target: Gain an overview of environmental training of employees at our factories overseas.
All employees at our factories outside Denmark are informed at introductory courses about the environmental regulations to which production is subject. It is also emphasized that every employee can contribute to protecting the environment in his or her everyday work. Staff involved in waste water treatment and biomass spreading receive further training in environmental techniques.
- Animal experiments
- Detergent enzymes
- Labelling of enzyme products manufactured using genetic engineering techniques
- Patents and biotechnology
- Transgenic animals
- Use of genetically-modified microorganisms in production of food enzymes