Novo Nordisk Wins Best Sustainability Performance at 2012 Social Innovation Awards

The Danish healthcare firm continues its march to sustainability, collecting another honor along the way

Justmeans hosted the 2012 Social Innovation Awards, which were held on April 25 in Boston in conjunction with the 2012 Ceres Conference: Igniting Innovation, Scaling Sustainability. The conference was marked by release of a new Ceres/Sustainalytics report that evaluated the sustainability performance of 600 leading American companies.

The Best Sustainability Performance Award went to Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO, 143.47, -4.50), a global healthcare company based in Denmark. The award recognizes the success of the company's energy-saving partnership with DONG Energy and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a multi-tiered cross-sector project that established Denmark's Horns Rev 2 wind farm and is helping Novo Nordisk achieve its CO2 emission reduction goal. The company has committed to reduce energy consumption from its production sites around the world so that by 2014, their total CO2 emissions are 10 percent less than they were in 2004.

"This award is a testament to the power of partnerships," said Novo Nordisk Corporate Sustainability Vice President Susanne Stormer. "The value of the project between DONG Energy and Novo Nordisk goes beyond our company—the new wind farm has created renewable energy equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 200,000 households."


In 2003, the company began crafting its strategic response to climate change, and three years later, it joined WWF's Climate Savers Programme, a voluntary partner program for corporations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. By 2010, the 20 firms that had signed up collectively reduced their CO2 emissions by 50 million tons—approximately the amount emitted by Bulgaria every year.

Then, in 2007, Novo Nordisk signed a landmark partnership with DONG Energy, Denmark's leading energy company (majority-owned by the Danish government), a partnership that was "a result of our search for a cost-efficient way of switching to renewable energy in Denmark," according to the company's 2009 annual report.

In 2009, thanks to the long-term financial commitment from Novo Nordisk, the world's largest off-shore wind farm was inaugurated at Horns Rev in the North Sea, a project that not only includes a pledge by the firm to convert realized energy savings at their Danish production sites into the purchase of electricity from the wind farm, but also helps the Danish government achieve its own targets for renewable energy. More than 25 organizations have since launched similar partnerships with DONG Energy.

Since 2004, the company's sustainability initiatives have resulted in an impressive $24 million in cost savings and a 10 percent reduction in global energy consumption. By the end of 2009, Novo Nordisk reduced C02 emissions by 28,000 tons. That's like taking 4,500 cars off the road every year.


Formed in 1923 by the merger of two Danish companies, Novo Nordisk is a leader in diabetes care. In 2002, the company established the World Diabetes Foundation, funding the project with two endowments totaling $227 million. The WDF has funded over 180 projects in over 80 countries, which includes the screening of more than 2.8 million people. Novo Nordisk employs about 32,700 employees across 75 countries, with products sold in over 190 countries.

Being a part of the global solution is in the company's DNA. In 2010, Fortune magazine ranked it 25th among the 100 best companies to work for. And in January, it was named the world's most sustainable company by the business magazine Corporate Knights.

"The main foundation for Novo Nordisk is the triple bottom line because that is what's protecting our license to operate," says president and CEO Lars Rebien Sorensen. "That begs and obliges everybody in the company not only to see that we become a good business—that's the financial bottom line—but that we do so in a way that is socially and environmentally responsible."

Tillykke, Novo Nordisk! Time to crack open a bottle of aqvavit (sustainably sourced, of course).



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image: Horns Rev 2 wind farm, North Sea (Novo Nordisk)