Every year we use large amounts of energy to manufacture medicines, and the expectation is that production will continue to increase, hence so will our overall energy consumption. Reducing non-renewable energy consumption and ensuring that we transition to renewable energy are top priorities. 

As part of our environmental strategy, Circular for Zero, we have set the target, that all offices and laboratories will source renewable power by 2030.

Energy consumption for production increased by 8% compared to 2021 primarily due to increased production volumes and ramp-up activities within production sites. Energy-saving projects implemented in 2022 within production sites resulted in annual savings of 63 thousand GJ.

Energy consumption in office buildings and laboratories increased by 11% as facilities were utilised more through the year compared to 2021.

In 2022, 100% of power sourced for production sites was from renewable sources. Since 2020, we have transitioned to sourcing 100% renewable power through a mix of solutions, primarily Renewable Electricity Certificates (REC’s), Power Purchase Agreements as well as on-site renewable solutions.

Every year we use billions of litres of water. All our production sites are certified according to ISO14001. This means we are committed to continuous improvements, which also includes optimising water use. Each production facility has the opportunity to submit water innovation projects for approval, leading to an overall decrease in water use. It is our goal to achieve ‘no waste of water’ by optimising production, using existing production capacity better and by reusing water whenever possible.

We continuously monitor and report on water use at all production sites globally. Water is included as one of the three prioritised areas in our environmental strategy, Circular for Zero, with a focus on reducing water use and reusing water whenever possible at our production sites.

Annual targets for relevant business units are in place to increase water use efficiency and the reuse of water. We acknowledge that water use should ideally decrease, however as a consequence of expansion in operations and increased produced volumes within our portfolio, water consumption is forecasted to increase. This emphasises the importance of finding optimisation potentials in the production of our portfolio. 

For information about our position on water, click here.

In 2022, production sites consumed 3,918 thousand cubic metres of water, an increase of 12% compared to 2021 due to higher production volumes and ramp-up activities within production sites.

Production sites in France, Brazil, China, Iran and Algeria are located in areas subject to water stress or high seasonal variations. They consume 13% of the total water for global production. Overall, water consumption at these facilities increased by 7% compared to 2021 due to an increase in production volumes. Implementation of water conservation projects in water-stressed areas led to savings of 6 thousand cubic meters of water.

In 2022, total wastewater generated was 3,552 thousand cubic metres. This includes process wastewater, sanitary wastewater and wastewater used for irrigation.

We aim to have zero environmental impact across our value chain. This work is organised across the company and in our environmental management system.

Our Executive Management is responsible for the overall environmental policy and for setting strategic direction for environmental areas. Our Corporate Environmental Strategy team is responsible for the environmental policy and strategy. In addition, there is a dedicated department, NN Environment, which is responsible for the environmental management system and ensuring environmental compliance in Novo Nordisk.

All our production facilities are certified according to ISO 14001, environmental management. The ISO 14001 certified Environmental Management system ensures continuous improvements through a systematic approach. The production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in Kalundborg, Denmark, is also certified according to ISO 50001, energy management.

We have on-site Environmental coordinators at all production facilities. The coordinators monitor environmental progress and environmental compliance at our sites worldwide.

For information about our Circular for Zero strategy, click here.

For information about our environmental policy, click here.

In 2022, there were 75 breaches, an increase from 12 breaches in 2021. The increase is mainly related to wastewater and approximately 90% of the breaches were related to a single site. For all breaches, mitigation mechanisms are now in place and they were reported to the authorities.

As a part of our goal to be a circular company, our ambition is to eliminate environmental footprint from operations and drive a circular transition across the company aiming for zero environmental impact.  

We work to reduce our environmental impact across all areas of our operations and transportation. As part of our ambition to switch to circular sourcing and procurement, we collaborate with suppliers to encourage them to shift to sustainably sourced materials, thus reducing our environmental impact.

Focusing on CO2 emissions from operations, we are building on the achievement in 2020 of using 100% renewable power across our global production network. The next step is to transform our business processes to eliminate the negative environmental footprint from all our operations. It is our ambition to have zero net emissions of CO2 from our own production facilities, global office buildings and laboratories by 2030 (i.e., Scope 1 & Scope 2), and are striving to reduce our emissions year-on-year.

With regards to CO2 emissions from transportation, we have made progress towards achieving our target of transitioning to 100% electric company cars by 2030, with 50% of vehicles in our home market of Denmark now using electrical or plug-in technology. Additionally, we have entered into an agreement with the Danish shipping company, Maersk, to transport our products using sustainable biofuels. All Mærsk shipments are covered in this agreement and represent an estimated 50% sea-freight in primary distribution. We have entered into a partnership with SKYNRG with the aim of reducing our emissions from product distribution's air freight by 27% as of 2025. Additionally, we are also minimising emissions from business air travel by using digital platforms for virtual collaboration whenever possible.

Our supply chain accounts for the vast majority of our total CO2 emissions. We are stepping up our work with supply chain partners to seek to ensure they also use renewable power when producing for Novo Nordisk.

We expect all our direct suppliers to source 100% renewable power by 2030, thus reducing Scope 2 emissions within the supply chain. Successful conversion to renewable power among all our suppliers would result in a further estimated 300,000 tonnes of CO2 being eliminated every year.

For more information about our position on climate, click here.

For more information about our alignment with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), click here.

Click the links for more information about the carbon footprint of our products: FlexPen®FlexTouch®NovoPen® 4NovoPen® 5 & 6 | NovoPen Echo® & Echo® Plus

In 2022, Scope 1 emissions decreased by 1% compared to 2021 due to an increase in usage of renewable energy sources as a result of two production facilities, in the US and France, having converted to using biogas. Scope 2 emissions were in line with 2021.

In 2022, we have expanded our Scope 3 reporting to include all categories of emissions from the GHG protocol relevant to Novo Nordisk. The highest portion of Scope 3 emissions was in purchased goods and services and capital goods. These two categories together make up to 85% of the overall

CO2 emissions from operations and transportation were higher in 2022 than in 2021, partly reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on 2021 activities (in 2022, CO2 emissions from operations and transportation decreased by 29% compared to 2019), but especially due to increased emissions from transportation, as supply chain constraints have forced us to increase our use of airfreight to ensure timely delivery of our medicines to patients globally.

Due to our extensive supply chain, we have a target for all our 60,000+ suppliers, to be reached by 2030, to source 100% renewable power when supplying us. Already more than 500 of our key suppliers have committed to source renewable power, which has resulted in a saving of more than 30,000 tonnes of CO2 since 2019.

Partnerships will be an essential part of addressing the supply chain challenge. In 2022, we made alliances with Kuehne+Nagel and SkyNRG for Sustainable Aviation Fuel that will reduce our emissions from air transport significantly. The collaboration with SkyNRG, for example, will enable us to cut CO2 emissions from airfreight by around 19,000 tonnes every year (equal to 1% of our emissions in 2022) starting in 2027.

Overall, CO2 emissions intensity per employee (Scope 1,2,3) in 2022 was 38.65 tons per employee.

For the latest reporting on CO2 emissions, please refer to the quarterly company announcements in the section Financial results and events.

Operational waste management
We are committed to reducing waste and have a target of sending zero production waste to landfill by 2030. The next step is to transform our business processes to eliminate the negative environmental footprint from all our operations and driving a circular transition across the company.

End of life challenge management
Cutting CO2 emissions is only a part of our ambitious goal of creating a business with zero environmental impact.  We also recognise the need to minimise the use of fossil-based plastic, which is one of our major challenges, as we produce more than 600 million pre-filled pens every year, which are an essential daily companion for people living with diabetes. We seek to find good solutions to minimise the use of fossil-based plastic by innovating new products, shifting to more sustainable material, and establishing recycling opportunities for our pre-filled pens globally.

  • Take back program: We use more than 12,000 tonnes of plastic every year in the production of our devices. As medical waste, they are difficult to recycle. However, a pioneering take-back initiative piloted over the past year in Denmark shows that it is possible to reclaim and reuse the plastic that makes up three-quarters of these devices (energy supply processes, including through the use of carbon capture). Over the next three years, we also aim to roll out pen recycling pilots in other markets. Further out, we are investigating the potential to develop non fossil fuel-derived plastics by harnessing waste carbon and hydrogen from energy supply processes, including through the use of carbon capture.
  • Circularity of products: We are working to ensure existing and new products are fit for circularity and have developed a circular design guideline within R&D to reduce the environmental footprint of our devices. As part of our environmental strategy, Circular for Zero strategy, we are seeking to address the end-of-life challenges associated with many of our medical devices. Through recycling our production waste, we have been able to successfully recycle insulin pens, providing materials for the manufacture of lamps and office furniture. We are pursuing greater re-use and recycling of our devices and aspire to achieve this in coming years.

In 2022, waste from production sites increased by 18% compared to 2021 due to an increase in production volumes, expansion and ramp-up activities within production sites. 95% of the total waste was either recycled, used for biogas production or incinerated at plants where energy is used for heat and power production.

The amount of waste recycled increased by 18% from 151,244 to 179,003 tonnes primarily due to an increase in production volumes. The amount of waste sent for energy recovery increased by 7% from 21,471 to 22,920 tonnes, primarily also due to an increase in production volumes. Less than 1% of total waste was sent to landfill.  In 2022, 16% of the waste was categorised as hazardous waste.

Our take-back of insulin pens initiative, piloted in Denmark, in 2022 achieved a good return rate with a monthly average of 18.3%.