How we take action

Working to reduce our carbon footprint

We have reduced CO2 emissions by increasing the efficiency of our activities and by using renewable energy.

We are committed to responsible consumption and production in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 12. In 2015, we joined the RE100 initiative, pledging that all our power consumption for production will come from renewable sources by 2020. Already we have transformed more than 75% of our production power.

Read more here

About our journey to go 100% renewable


Novo Nordisk employees at wind farm in China

“We are fully committed to push the boundaries of what we know and what we can do to reduce carbon emissions.”

Dorethe Nielsen, senior director of Corporate Environmental Strategy, Novo Nordisk

In 2014 we produced an Environmental Profit and Loss Account (EP&L) that showed that the indirect environmental impact from our supply chain, along with a number of other business-related activities, is many times higher than our direct impact. We are now increasingly including impact assessments across the full value chain.


Our tips for success

  • Unite your organisation so that environmental responsibility is embedded in your way of thinking.
  • Engage with your stakeholders in strong partnerships as these are fundamental to the success of an environmental strategy.
  • Develop strong environmental data that enables you to set science-based targets and monitor progress.
  • Discover your carbon footprint by tracking carbon emissions at each step in the value chain.
  • Collaborate with partners and suppliers to achieve carbon reductions outside your immediate control.


Improving production processes

We continuously work to improve our production processes. Over the years, production optimisations have led to substantial decreases in CO2 emissions, waste and the relative use of resources. When we build new production facilities, more efficient technologies are used. Our focus on environmentally sound design further strengthens energy efficiency. 

Our position on circular economy


“We have annual global energy meetings where we learn from experiences and facilitate the exchange of best practice across the organisation.”

Zhanqiang Wang, Energy Steward, at Novo Nordisk’s production site in Tianjin, China


Collaborating with suppliers to reduce CO2 emissions

We collaborate with our suppliers to help them reduce CO2 emissions and increase their energy efficiency. The number of suppliers in this programme increased in 2017. This collaboration has been very well received by our suppliers.


Climate collaboration with suppliers


Watch this video to learn more about how we collaborate with our suppliers




Reducing emissions from transportation

Distributing as many products as possible by sea is our priority, as it reduces CO2 emissions and costs. To reduce business travel, we encourage the use of virtual meeting platforms like Skype for Business, video conferencing (VCON) and telepresence.  


Novo Nordisk eletric car

Furthermore, in 2017 we adopted guidelines for company cars which will lead to increased use of electric and hybrid cars across the company. In Denmark, a small fleet of leased electric cars has reduced the use of taxis for transportation between our sites, and bicycles are available for short distances.

To encourage commuting by public transport, we offer employees in Denmark participation in a scheme that gives a tax deduction of up to 50% of their total transportation cost.


Identifying hotspots in research & development

We use life cycle assessments to identify environmental hotspots and areas for potential improvement. We optimise the environmental profiles of our products within the framework of the high regulatory standards that our products must meet, but we never compromise on safety and efficacy.

We want to give patients the best possible treatment, and environmental assessments are integrated into our device development process. However, there may be potential environmental impacts that we need to take into account when developing new devices. 

Read more here.


Mapping our products’ carbon footprint

Healthcare professionals are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the medicine they prescribe, as well as other impacts related to caring for patients and treating illness.1 Chronic diseases such as diabetes require life-long treatment. Patients may also be concerned about the carbon footprint of their medicine, such as injection pens and needles. 

We want to know the carbon footprint of our products so that we can reduce their environmental impact and alleviate concerns from doctors and patients.

Watch this video to learn more about how we map the carbon footprint of our products




How we calculate our product carbon footprint

The product carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of CO2 emitted throughout the entire life cycle of a product, including raw material production, product manufacturing, distribution, use and waste management. Understanding the carbon footprint for each product requires extensive data collection and analysis. 

Our calculations confirmed that the environmental impacts from all stages of the product life cycle are relevant. Raw materials and energy consumption are the biggest factors, while packaging accounts for approximately 5% of the total carbon footprint. The footprint for one day of insulin treatment in an injectable prefilled device is equivalent to making a cup of tea.

We calculated a one year treatment scenario that includes the active ingredient, the injection pen, needle and the packaging. Each of these elements uses several processes that contribute to the product’s carbon footprint. 


Product carbon footprint

The product carbon footprint reports are made according to international Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) standards and guidelines and the reports are validated by a third party.


We consider the carbon footprint of the healthcare industry

We also consider the carbon footprint associated with a patient's lifetime as seen from a healthcare system point of view. The patient carbon footprint takes a holistic approach to the healthcare-related CO2 emissions, which include the product carbon footprint, the product footprint related to additional medical devices (e.g. blood glucose monitoring), and the healthcare system itself (e.g. care management, other medication, and hospital admissions).


Patient carbon footprint

Together with other stakeholders, we engage in dialogue on how pharmaceutical companies can play a role in reducing the environmental impact of the healthcare system


1. Sarfaty et al, Ann Am Thorac Soc; 2015; 12(2): 274-8.