Water stewardship

According to the World Economic Forum, water crises - from drought in the world’s most productive farmlands to the hundreds of millions of people without access to safe drinking water - is the single biggest risk the world faces. The private sector is increasingly concerned about water, recognising it as essential to their business operations. Lack of access to sufficient water quantities or quality is a material risk to a growing number of companies.1


Our approach: conserving water while expanding production

Our production sites use water for production. Our largest production site, located in Denmark, has the highest water consumption of all our facilities. We have a long tradition of water conservation and are becoming even more efficient when building new and expanding existing production sites. We give priority to re-using water where possible, and map production sites in regions subject to high water stress.


How we take action

Reducing water use in production

The production and filling of insulin is water dependent. Very high water quality is needed to secure the quality of our products. This requires a number of water treatment steps. Increased water consumption is a consequence of both increased production and more production facilities. 

We monitor and report on water consumption from our production sites. We optimise our production processes to reduce water consumption. As part of our Environmental Management system, we conduct water saving projects at our production sites. 

Engaging with our stakeholders

We engage with stakeholders around water saving projects. For example, the Kalundborg Industrial Symbiosis includes reuse/reduction of water consumption at our largest production site. 

About the Kalundborg Industrial Symbiosis



In 2017, water consumption remained at the same level as in 2016, with a total of 3,276,000m3 water used at our production facilities around the world. We expect to save more than 100,000m3 of water during 2018, due to our water projects implemented in 2017.

We have two facilities in areas subject to water stress, consuming 7% of the total water used at Novo Nordisk, an increase from 6% in 2016 due to increased production in order to meet market demands. There were no incidents of water shortage.  

For 2017, the amount of water used in areas subject to high water stress remains low. 

All of our production sites have local KPIs on water consumption.


Water consumption in areas subject to water stress


How we report

More information about water consumption can be found in the Novo Nordisk Annual Report 2017.


1. Water Footprint Network