Every year we use large amounts of energy to manufacture medicines, and the expectation is that production will continue to increase, hence so will our overall energy consumption. Reducing non-renewable energy consumption and ensuring that we transition to renewable energy are top priorities.

As part of our environmental strategy, Circular for Zero , we have set the target, that all offices and laboratories will source renewable power by 2030.

Energy consumption for production increased by 5% compared to 2020, primarily due to a new production facility and a general increase in produced volumes.

Energy consumption in office buildings and laboratories increased by 12% as facilities were utilised more throughout the year compared to 2020.

Energy-saving projects implemented in 2021 within production sites resulted in annual savings of 67,000 GJ. The breakdown by type of energy source is shown in the graph below.

In 2021, 100% of power sourced for production sites was from renewable energy. In relation to all operations, 98% of power sourced was from renewable energy. 73% of all energy used in operations (including district heat, steam, etc.) was sourced from renewable energy. In 2021, 100% of power sourced for production sites was from renewable energy.

Every year we use billions of litres of water. All our production sites are certified according to ISO14001. This means we are committed to continuous improvements, which also includes optimising water use. Each production facility has the opportunity to submit water innovation projects for approval, leading to an overall decrease in water use. It is our goal to achieve ‘no waste of water’ by optimising production, using existing production capacity better and by reusing water whenever possible.

We continuously monitor and report on water use at all production sites globally. Water is included as one of the three prioritised areas in our environmental strategy, Circular for Zero , with a focus on reducing water use and reusing water whenever possible at our production sites.

Annual targets for relevant business units are in place to increase water use efficiency and the reuse of water. We acknowledge that water use should ideally decrease, however as a consequence of expansion in operations and increased produced volumes within our portfolio, water consumption is forecasted to increase. This emphasises the importance of finding optimisation potentials in the production of our portfolio.

For information about our position on water, click here.

In 2021, production sites consumed 3,488,000 cubic metres of water, an increase of 4% compared to 2020 due to a new production facility and a general increase in produced volumes. Water intensity per FTE has been calculated as 73 cubic metres per FTE.

In 2021, total wastewater generated was 3,175,707 cubic metres. This includes process wastewater, sanitary wastewater and wastewater used for irrigation.

Production sites in Brazil, China, Iran and Algeria, are located in areas subject to water stress or high seasonal variations. They consume 10% of the total water for global production. Overall, water consumption at these facilities decreased by 10% compared to 2020 due to significant water-savings projects implemented despite increased production.

We aim to have zero environmental impact across our value chain. This work is organised across the company and in our environmental management system.

Our Executive Management is responsible for the overall environmental policy and for setting strategic direction for environmental areas. Our Corporate Environmental Strategy team is responsible for the environmental policy and strategy. In addition, there is a dedicated department, NN Environment, which is responsible for the environmental management system and ensuring environmental compliance in Novo Nordisk.

All our production facilities are certified according to ISO 14001, environmental management. The ISO 14001 certified Environmental Management system ensures continuous improvements through a systematic approach. The production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in Kalundborg, Denmark, is also certified according to ISO 50001, energy management.

We have on-site Environmental coordinators at all production facilities. The coordinators monitor environmental progress and environmental compliance at our sites worldwide.

For information about our Circular for Zero strategy, click here .

For information about our environmental policy, click here .

In 2021, there were 12 breaches, a decrease from 15 breaches in 2020. The breaches were mainly related to wastewater and process waste, and all had a limited impact on the environment. All breaches were reported to the authorities.

As a part of our goal to be a circular company, our ambition is to eliminate environmental footprint from operations and drive a circular transition across the company aiming for zero environmental impact.

We work to reduce our environmental impact across all areas of our operations and transportation. As part of our ambition to switch to circular sourcing and procurement, we collaborate with suppliers to encourage them to shift to sustainably sourced materials, thus reducing our environmental impact.

Focusing on CO 2 emissions from operations, we are building on the achievement in 2020 of using 100% renewable power across our global production network. The next step is to transform our business processes to eliminate the negative environmental footprint from all our operations. It is our ambition to have zero net emissions of CO 2 from our own production facilities, global office buildings and laboratories by 2030 (i.e., Scope 1 & Scope 2), and are striving to reduce our emissions year-on-year.

With regards to CO 2 emissions from transportation, we have made progress towards achieving our target of transitioning to 100% electric company cars by 2030, with 50% of vehicles in our home market of Denmark now using electrical or plug-in technology. Additionally, we have entered into an agreement with the Danish shipping company, Maersk, to transport our products using sustainable biofuels. All Mærsk shipments are covered in this agreement and represent an estimated 50% sea-freight in primary distribution. We have entered into a partnership with SKYNRG with the aim of reducing our emissions from product distribution's air freight by 27% as of 2025. Additionally, we are also minimising emissions from business air travel by using digital platforms for virtual collaboration whenever possible.

Our supply chain accounts for the vast majority of our total CO 2 emissions. We are stepping up our work with supply chain partners to seek to ensure they also use renewable power when producing for Novo Nordisk.

Currently, direct suppliers representing 41% of Scope 1 and 2 emissions from supply chain CO 2 emissions have committed to using renewable power. 18% of these emissions have already been reduced due to an early shift to renewable power, cutting our supply chain emissions by approximately 50,000 tonnes. We expect all our direct suppliers to source 100% renewable power by 2030, thus reducing Scope 2 emissions within the supply chain. Successful conversion to renewable power among all our suppliers would result in a further estimated 300,000 tonnes of CO 2 being eliminated every year.

For more information about our position on climate, click here .

For more information about our alignment with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), click here .

In 2021, CO 2 emissions from operations and transportation increased by 2% compared to 2020. The increase was primarily due to a rise in emissions from product distribution.

Scope 1 emissions increased by 3% due to a new production facility, increased natural gas consumption caused by a general increase in produced volumes and an increase in car fuel consumption.

Scope 2 emissions increased by 7% due to increased electricity and steam consumption caused by a general increase in produced volumes.

Scope 3 emissions increased by 1% following a 16% increase in product distribution, partially countered by a 47% decrease in emissions from business flights due to COVID-19. The increase in emissions from product distribution is primarily caused by increased use of air freight instead of sea and road freight. CO 2 reductions of 4,000 tonnes were incurred from green fuel agreements with selected transportation service providers.  It is important to be noted that the scope 3 emissions reported in 2021 include only product distribution and business flights. A full range of our scope 3 emissions can be found at CDP.net.

Overall, CO 2 emissions intensity per employee in 2021 was 4 tons per FTE.

For the latest reporting on CO 2 emissions, please refer to the quarterly company announcements in the section Financial results and events .

Operational waste management
We are committed to reducing waste and have a target of sending zero production waste to landfill by 2030. The next step is to transform our business processes to eliminate the negative environmental footprint from all our operations and driving a circular transition across the company.

End of life challenge management
Cutting CO 2 emissions is only a part of our ambitious goal of creating a business with zero environmental impact.  We also recognise the need to minimise the use of fossil-based plastic, which is one of our major challenges, as we produce more than 600 million pre-filled pens every year, which are an essential daily companion for people living with diabetes. We seek to find good solutions to minimise the use of fossil-based plastic by innovating new products, shifting to more sustainable material, and establishing recycling opportunities for our pre-filled pens globally.

  • Take back program: We use more than 12,000 tonnes of plastic every year in the production of our devices. As medical waste, they are difficult to recycle. However, a pioneering take-back initiative piloted over the past year in Denmark shows that it is possible to reclaim and reuse the plastic that makes up three-quarters of these devices (energy supply processes, including through the use of carbon capture). Over the next three years, we also aim to roll out pen recycling pilots in other markets. Further out, we are investigating the potential to develop non fossil fuel-derived plastics by harnessing waste carbon and hydrogen from energy supply processes, including through the use of carbon capture.
  • Circularity of products: We are working to ensure existing and new products are fit for circularity and have developed a circular design guideline within R&D to reduce the environmental footprint of our devices. As part of our environmental strategy, Circular for Zero strategy, we are seeking to address the end-of-life challenges associated with many of our medical devices. Through recycling our production waste, we have been able to successfully recycle insulin pens, providing materials for the manufacture of lamps and office furniture. We are pursuing greater re-use and recycling of our devices and aspire to achieve this in coming years.

In 2021, waste from production sites increased by 28% due to increased production. 96% of the total waste was either recycled, used for biogas production or incinerated at plants where energy is used for heat and power production.

The amount of waste recycled increased by 30% from 116,000 to 151,000 tonnes primarily driven by the production in Kalundborg, Denmark.

The amount of waste sent for energy recovery increased by 47% from 15,000 to 22,000 tonnes, primarily due to increased production volumes and challenges in ethanol regeneration. Less than 1% of total waste was sent to landfill.

In 2021, as in 2020, 14% of the waste was categorised as hazardous waste. A detailed breakdown of hazardous waste by disposal category can be found below.

Our take-back of insulin pens initiative, piloted in Denmark, in 2021 achieved a good return rate with a monthly average of 20%.