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 insulin API 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

Eliminating waste of water

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. 

As a part of the new Circular for Zero environmental strategy, Novo Nordisk will challenge water demands, and continuously pursue water savings, with a special focus on water stressed areas.

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 2018, water consumption decreased by 5% compared to 2017, with a total of 3,101,000m3 water used at our production facilities around the world.

We have three facilities in areas subject to water stress (Algeria, Brazil and China), consuming 14% of the total water used at Novo Nordisk. There were no incidents of water shortage in 2018, and overall water consumption at these facilities decreased by 5% in 2018.

Novo Nordisk water consumption 2018

How we report

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


1. Water Footprint Network