Novo NordiskBlazing the trail towards circularity and sustainability
Novo Nordisk’s environmental goals have continued to grow in the face of the global climate crisis. Their bold and simple dream of becoming a company based on circular economy principles and thereby leaving zero environmental impact meant dramatically rethinking and changing ways of working and leading across a global organisation.
Every day, millions around the world depend on Novo Nordisk’s insulin therapies and delivery devices. This is an organisation employing more than 40,000 people in 80 countries worldwide, driving change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases like haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity.
So, for an organisation of this kind of scale, becoming a circular company with zero environmental impact is a massive statement. And by no means an easy task. But then, when it comes to setting ambitious environmental goals and achieving them, Novo Nordisk has a pretty impressive track record.
Back in 2006, Novo Nordisk sought to reduce carbon emissions by 10% by 2014. Thinking outside the box, Novo Nordisk entered a collaboration with the Danish energy company Ørsted (a sustainability pioneer in its own right), pledging to purchase 33% of a new major wind farm’s power output. This meant that Novo Nordisk could power the entirety of its Danish operations with renewable energy. It also meant that Novo Nordisk reached its target four years ahead of time.
This was followed up in 2015 when Novo Nordisk signed up to the RE100 with the bold aim of ensuring all global production would be powered by renewable electricity by 2020. Currently, all production in Brazil is hydro-electric powered, in China and Europe it’s wind-powered and in North Carolina, USA, it’s solar-powered.
The only true solution to environmental challenges is leaving no harmful impact on the planet. How do we achieve this? We can start by switching our focus in the business world from short-term impact to long-term strategic action plans. That’s why Novo Nordisk isn’t simply focusing on reducing carbon emissions – they have a deep-rooted and comprehensive aspiration to become a fully circular company, keeping resources in circulation to create value for as long as possible and using sustainable resources to transform waste into value.
Moving away from the classic “take, make and dispose” mindset, was the starting point of Novo Nordisk’s new environmental strategy towards 2030. Instead, the company wanted to infuse circular economy principles into its thinking and become an organisation focused on eliminating waste and continually reusing and recycling resources. This meant launching one of the world’s most ambitious sustainability strategies, transforming existing business models and embedding an entirely new way of thinking across supply, operation and products with three focus areas:
A corporate-wide strategy process rooted in design principles and involving the entire organisation was launched. The strategy initiative was anchored in executive management and key stakeholders, using four key principles to help design and accelerate implementation:
Novo Nordisk is now on track to becoming a fully circular company with zero CO2 emissions from operations and transportation by 2030. By shifting its ways of working and applying circular economy thinking in innovation across the organisation, Novo Nordisk can increase resource efficiency and transform waste into value.
The Circular for Zero strategy enables Novo Nordisk to make profound choices with an embedded circular mindset across its leadership and organisation that takes sustainability out of the CSR reports and puts it at the very top of the strategic agenda.
Designing for profit-driven decision-making.
Implement Consulting Group