Renewable Energy Will Power all of Novo Nordisk’s Production Facilities by 2020

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Novo Nordisk is about to hit a new target, but this target is one of environmental sustainability, as opposed to a drug hitting its endpoints.

Late Tuesday, the Denmark-based company announced it will achieve its goal of solely relying on renewable electricity in its global production facilities by 2020. The company first set its sights on achieving zero carbon dioxide emissions in its global manufacturing in 2015. When the company first announced those plans, its production sites in Denmark, Brazil and Japan were already using electricity from renewable sources, the company said.

One reason the company will be able to hit this 2020 goal is its increased investments in sustainable energy. The company recently invested in a 672-acre solar panel installation, roughly the size of 500 football fields, in North Carolina. That solar panel facility is expected to provide power to Novo Nordisk's entire U.S. operations by early 2020, the company said. The U.S. isn’t the only area where Novo Nordisk is using renewable power. Its production site in Tianjin China uses 100 percent windmill power, as do all of its production sites across Europe. In Monte Claros, Brazil, its facility uses 100 percent water power. Novo Nordisk said in all of its facilities in Denmark, production as well as offices, all power is from 100 percent renewable resources.

Novo Nordisk said it is the first pharmaceutical member company of RE100, is a global initiative of businesses committed to using 100 percent renewable electricity, to use only renewable electricity in production. AstraZeneca, Biogen and Johnson & Johnson are also members of RE100.

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Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, president and Chief Executive Officer of Novo Nordisk said that more than 29 million people across the globe use Novo Nordisk medications. Next year, each one can do so knowing “that they're produced using only renewable electricity.”

But Novo Nordisk isn’t done challenging itself to become more environmentally friendly. With its 2020 goal in sight, the company announced a new target of achieving zero CO2 emissions from all operations and transport by 2030. The new goal is part of the company’s “Circular for Zero” environmental strategy that has the ultimate goal of making Novo Nordisk a company that has zero environmental impact. The Circular for Zero commitment means the company will take steps to minimize consumption, turn waste into resources and “design and produce products so that they can be recovered and re-used and collaborate with suppliers to embed circularity in its supply chain,” the company said.

Jørgensen touted the lofty goal as one that will be important for the company and its customers.

“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,” he said in a statement.

As Novo Nordisk leads the way in the industry for renewable energy, other companies are also taking a stand. AstraZeneca notes on its website that 61 percent of its total electricity use is generated from renewable resources.

On its website, Biogen said it has committed to “establishing a science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target” that aligns with global efforts to prevent the earth’s average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.

“As a company built on innovation, we are not content to settle with past achievements, including carbon neutrality, so we are developing a comprehensive climate change strategy to generate a net positive impact on our business and society and to transition our business to the low-carbon economy of the future,” Biogen said in its climate change statement.

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