Use of chemicals

The use of chemicals is essential in our production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). We strive to avoid the use of hazardous chemicals, and most of the chemicals we use are harmless.

The use of chemicals that can be hazardous to humans or the environment is strictly regulated and they will always be handled with high caution. Finding non-hazardous alternatives and supporting the use of safe chemicals are two of our top priorities.

How we take action

We work in compliance with present legislation and monitor future legislation very closely. All our manufacturing sites comply with local environmental regulation, and we continuously follow new developments to implement new regulations in due time. We are currently focusing on the EU REACH regulation, which urges industry to phase out certain hazardous substances.

We work to substitute harmful substances. Within Research & Development (R&D) we are continuously working to ensure that hazardous substances are substituted. Though often a challenging task, we have already managed to substitute several substances from our pipeline, and today we only use a few substances of very high concern in our production.

We engage with our stakeholders to address environmental concerns. We are part of the industry-wide cooperation Pharmaceuticals in the Environment (PiE), just as we work closely with The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) to address the potential environmental impact of pharmaceuticals.


We collect waste streams containing chemicals of very high concern, and they are treated by an approved third party vendor. Thereby we ensure that such substances are not discharged into the nature.

Waste containing substances of very high concern

Graph showing amounts of waste containing substances of very high concern

How we report

More details can be found in the Novo Nordisk Annual Report.