Novo Nordisk on track for 100% renewable energy use by 2020

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

Solar panel field, North Carolina. Image: Novo Nordisk
Solar panel field, North Carolina. Image: Novo Nordisk

Related tags Novo nordisk sustainability Renewable energy

The Danish company is set to use only renewable electricity to run its global production facilities by 2020, after an investment of $70m in a 672-acre solar panel installation.

Novo Nordisk is part of the RE100, a group of business that committed to using 100% renewable energy, and will become the first pharmaceutical company within this organisation to reach the target by 2020. Other pharmaceutical companies that are part of the RE100 include AstraZeneca, Biogen, and Johnson & Johnson, among others.

To attain this goal, the Danish company announced that it had invested in a 672-acre solar panel installation (pictured​), which will provide the power for Novo Nordisk’s operations in the US, beginning in early 2020.

Dorethe Nielsen, senior director of corporate environmental strategy at Novo Nordisk, told us, “At Novo Nordisk, we ensure that business decisions balance financial, social and environmental considerations – this is part of our Triple Bottom Line, which is anchored in the company’s Articles of Association.”

The company set itself the renewable energy aim in 2015​ and, now that it looks set to meet this target, it further announced that it plans to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions from all operations and transport by 2030.

Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, CEO of Novo Nordisk, said, “By committing to achieve zero emissions across our operations and transport by 2030 and by applying a circular mindset across our entire business, we are working towards a day when we will be able to say that Novo Nordisk is a company with zero environmental impact.”

According to the company, its ‘circular mindset’ involves working to reduce waste sent to landfill and to ensure zero loss of water, energy and resources, internally. In addition, it is updating its own products to be reusable and recyclable.

Externally, the company is working with supply chain partners to increase the use of recycled and carbon-neutral materials and resources.

In 2015, when Novo Nordisk announced its aim to produce its products using renewable sources, the company’s sites in Europe, Brazil and Japan were already compliant. In Europe, this was achieved through the use of windmills, in Brazil via water power, and in Japan by purchasing ‘green power certification’​.

During the intervening years, the company has arranged for its Chinese operations to run via windmill power, and in the US through the North Carolina-based solar panel installation.

Nielsen explained that the company’s renewable energy focus is paid annually and therefore did not require an upfront investment.

However, Nielsen added, “The US solar solution was unique because Novo Nordisk will be investing upfront approximately $70m [€62m]. This is part of a 10-year contract for solar power.”

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