Our position on circular economy

At Novo Nordisk we are committed to conducting our business in a financially, socially and environmentally responsible way and have worked for decades to reduce our environmental impact as a natural way of doing business. As part of our efforts to reduce our environmental impact, we work in line with the principles of circular economy.

We consider resource efficiency and ultimately zero waste as a way to promote innovation, reduce costs and minimise environmental impact. This is in line with our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal no 121 to ensure responsible consumption and production patterns.?

Novo Nordisk believes that the principles of circular economy can strengthen our efforts to reduce environmental impact across our value chain and help us adopt a full life-cycle approach in decision making.

Novo Nordisk is an EFPIA2 member and collaborates with industry peers to encourage circular economy as described in the EFPIA white paper3. The principles set out in the European Commission Circular Economy Package4 are highly relevant to continue our transition to a more resource-efficient company. ?


Novo Nordisk strives to use sustainable resources to promote a climate-resilient supply chain. We minimise our environmental impact by using renewable energy globally and have committed to RE1005 to source all electricity for production from renewable sources by 2020. Furthermore, we are collaborating with our suppliers to reduce their CO2 emissions and promoting the use of renewable sources in our supply chain, e.g. use of recycled materials in our packaging.

Novo Nordisk uses eco-design considerations when developing new products.

Environmental assessments of pipeline products are conducted to allow for optimisation before large-scale production, e.g. substitution of harmful substances. We are also continuously developing and improving manufacturing processes through our cLEAN? programme (Novo Nordisk version of LEAN). Since 2004, this programme has reduced all kinds of waste from production and thereby increased resource efficiency.


Novo Nordisk takes a patient-centred approach to how we conduct our business and how we develop our products, exploring how they can be disposed of after use in a sustainable way. We are evaluating the impact of product disposal through life-cycle assessments.

Waste management

Novo Nordisk has worked with waste management for several years and we continuously minimise resource waste from our operations. Fermentation waste is converted into biogas and thereby ensures that resources remain in the biosphere. Another example is the residues from wastewater treatment that are used as fertiliser. ??

From waste to resources

Novo Nordisk will build partnerships with companies and suppliers to enhance resource utilisation. We are a founding member of the Kalundborg industrial symbiosis6 where by-products and resources (energy, water and material streams) are exchanged between other companies in the region. Also, all food waste from Danish sites is converted into biogas and thereby the resources are reused.?