The Novozymes Touch
- Vision, values, and fundamental principles
- Support for the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
- Support for the United Nations Global Compact
Environment and bioethics policy
Position on global warming and energy
Position on biofuels
Scope and approach
Novozymes provides solutions to industrial processes. Our customers increasingly demand up-to-date solutions, for example, solutions that are resource efficient and low in greenhouse gas emissions. Contributing to such solutions by making use of the potential of modern biotechnology is an important driver for Novozymes.
Using product lifecycle assessments (LCA), we look at the impact on the environment at every stage of a product’s lifecycle and find that the use of enzyme technology generally provides environmental benefits. For further information on lifecycle assessment, please refer to principles 7 and 8.
Responsibility and activities
One of the most urgent issues on the global agenda is climate change. In recent years, global warming as a consequence of burning fossil fuels has prompted greater awareness of energy consumption and CO2 emissions. As part of the efforts to be able to meet this challenge as a company, Novozymes adopted a new energy and climate strategy. An important element of the strategy is to bring Novozymes’ technology into play in order, together with suppliers and customers, to help solve some of the problems of climate change.
Carbon Footprint project
Product lifecycle assessments (LCA) of Novozymes’ products conducted during the past five years show major environmental advantages of using enzymes in industrial production. Climate change is high on the agenda these days and this has inspired us to estimate the total effects on climate change of all Novozymes’ products produced in 2007.
CO2 emissions of an order of magnitude of 25 million tons were avoided due to the application of enzymes sold by Novozymes. In other words: A small "investment" of greenhouse gas emissions in enzyme production is justified from an environmental point of view by the much larger reduction in greenhouse gases obtained by using the enzymes.
The study is conducted at screening level, which means that the results of the study only indicate orders of magnitude. The study takes into account all significant greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, and CO) and all significant processes in the product chain from raw material extraction through production and use, covers about 90% of Novozymes’ sales.
Reductions in CO2 emissions were driven by a broad range of Novozymes’ products, some of the most important being detergent enzymes because they help reduce laundry wash temperature; fuel ethanol enzymes because they help save gasoline; feed enzymes because the help save animal feed; and starch, textile, and brewing enzymes because they help save energy and raw materials in industrial production. The only exception in the LCAs was in production of a sugar called fructose which contributed negatively to the overall result.
Novozymes' climate strategy incorporates the complete lifecycle of our products from the extraction of raw materials to use of our products. The strategy's main areas of focus are a) the opportunities for exploiting the potential of our products’ ability to reduce CO2 emissions in our customers' application of our products, and b) reducing the CO2 emissions related to our own activities. In 2008, the climate strategy was revised, and the visions underlying the long term targets were identified:
- Supplier perspective: We will reduce our carbon footprint and our sensitivity to changes in energy and GHG emission markets
- Customer perspective: We will reduce the energy-saving potential of our technology to increase customers’ demand for our products
- Society perspective: We will sell our application of biotechnology as a key to energy efficiency and reduction of GHG emissions
- The Novozymes perspective: We will strive for a continuous improvement of our energy efficiency in a Novozymes perspective world wide
In continuation, the following concrete objectives for 2008 were set and achieved:
- To develop new lifecycle assessment procedures for evaluation of products in the pipeline
- To give a material/realistic estimate of the total CO2 reduction achieved when our customers use our enzymes
- To revise Novozymes' energy and climate strategy, and to identify specific plans and improvement targets for the coming years
Collaboration with DONG Energy to reduce CO2 and support renewable energy
In 2008, Novozymes entered into a partnership with DONG Energy. The partnership is in complete accordance with Novozymes' climate strategy, exploring the potential of our products’ ability to reduce CO2 emissions in our customers’ applications, as well as reducing CO2 emissions related to our own activities. The collaboration will lead to identification and execution of energy-saving projects covering all sites in Denmark. The cost reductions gained from the savings will be used to buy green energy from a new wind farm called Horns Reef II, which is located off the Western coast of Denmark. The economic outcome of the energy savings will be reinvested in renewable energy, which wil be supplied by the coming wind farm. The agreement will cover more than 30% of the combined capacity of the wind farm and is seen as a step towards solely depending on green electricity usage at all Danish sites by 2012. In this way we will contribute significantly to the Novozymes’ overall goal of decoupling growth in the CO2 emission from the company’s overall growth.
Over the last four years, many of Novozymes’ products have undergone a thorough evaluation of their environmental impacts in the form of LCA. Now it is the turn of products in the pipeline. In order to further promote the CO2 reduction potential of our products in the pipeline, all new discovery and development projects in Research & Development must pass through a "mini lifecycle assessment", known as Pipeline LCA. Pipeline LCAs are based on assumptions concerning the production of the enzyme together with its effects and effectiveness during use. Pipeline LCAs provide information about the carbon value of the new products and thus strengthen our opportunities to further improve the environmental performance of Novozymes’ products. In 2008, we reached a milestone, completing Pipeline LCA studies on all discovery and development projects.
Environmental safety and supplier performance
To further expand the scope of sustainability and responsible sourcing in our supply chain, Novozymes is currently developing a comprehensive supplier performance management system. The system covers all aspects of our supplier performance management from approval of new suppliers to performance evaluation. Based on an integrated set of evaluation criteria, including environmental, employee health and safety, human rights, and business ethics, the system will provide risk profiles on all suppliers in Novozymes’ Enzyme Business. Implementation of the system will be initiated in April 2009, and full implementation is expected to be in place by 2010.