Beginning in early 2020, Plainsboro-based Novo Nordisk’s global production will be completely powered by renewable electricity, with a ten-year goal of achieving zero carbon emissions from operations and transportation.
The announcement follows a $70 million investment in a 105-megawatt dc solar energy installation to be built in Pender County, North Carolina. When completed, ground-mounted solar arrays will harvest sunlight and provide renewable electricity to all existing Novo Nordisk US offices, laboratories and manufacturing facilities as well as to support the new manufacturing facility under construction in Clayton, N.C. Developed and constructed by Cypress Creek Renewables, the solar panel installation will be one of North Carolina’s largest solar sites.
Construction of the solar site began in March 2019, and is creating approximately 900 construction-related jobs this year. Last year, Novo Nordisk US production sites in Clayton and New Hampshire emitted 13,460 tons of CO2 from electricity use. With the new solar project, the company’s net CO2 emissions from electricity will go down to zero.
The solar site is an example showing how, over the next decade, Novo Nordisk is taking steps to clean the air, minimize consumption and turn waste into resources, designing and producing medicines, packaging and devices so they can be recovered and re-used, and collaborating with suppliers to embed circularity in its supply chain.
The goal is part of the company’s new ‘Circular for Zero’ strategy, aiming for zero environmental impact globally.
“Reducing our environmental impact is part of our corporate responsibility to the patients we serve, the communities in which we operate and future generations,” says Chad Henry, corporate vice president and general manager of the Diabetes Finished Products site in Clayton, N.C. “For us, the call to act is clear, and we are making a significant financial investment in new renewable energy production in North Carolina to supply Novo Nordisk offices, manufacturing facilities and laboratories across the United States.”
In 2015, Novo Nordisk made a commitment with The Climate Group and The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) by joining RE100, a collaborative, global initiative of businesses committed to using 100% renewable power. Once the solar site is completed in early 2020, Novo Nordisk expects to be the first pharmaceutical company in the RE100 to achieve this goal.
The North Carolina facility will be joining the ranks of other Novo Nordisk sites from around the world that already benefit from renewable energy. Novo Nordisk’s production in Tianjin in China uses 100% wind power. In Monte Claros in Brazil the company uses 100% hydropower and in Europe all production sites use 100% wind power. In Denmark, all facilities, production sites and offices, run on 100% renewable power.
In addition to the zero emissions target, the Circular for Zero strategy commits the company to a significant shift towards circular thinking within three focus areas:
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