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 (GHG) emissions. Contributing to such solutions by exploiting the potential of modern biotechnology is an important driver for Novozymes.
Using product life cycle assessments (LCAs), we look at the impact on the environment at every stage of a product’s life cycle and find that the use of enzyme technology generally provides environmental benefits. For general information on life cycle assessments and Novozymes’ LCA studies, 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 has 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
LCAs of Novozymes’ products conducted over the past five years show major environmental advantages in 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 2009.
CO2 emissions of an order of magnitude of 27 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, covering 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; biofuel enzymes because they help save gasoline; feed enzymes because they 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 the production of a sugar called fructose, which contributed negatively to the overall result.
Novozymes' climate strategy incorporates the complete life cycle of our products from the extraction of raw materials to use of our products. The strategy's main areas of focus are (a) opportunities for exploiting the potential of our products to reduce CO2 emissions in our customers' application of our products, and (b) reducing the CO2 emissions related to our own activities. There are four perspectives to the long-term targets of the climate strategy:
- Supplier perspective: We will reduce our carbon footprint and our sensitivity to changes in energy and GHG emission markets
- Customer perspective: We will increase the energy-saving potential of our technology to increase customers’ demand for our products
- Society perspective: We will market 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 in our energy efficiency in a Novozymes perspective worldwide.
Reduction of CO2 related to own activities
To reduce CO2 emissions from own production/ activities, in 2009 Novozymes has systematically worked on energy-saving projects, and an energy master plan has been established for each enzyme production plant. An energy organization has been set up and several projects to reduce CO2 implemented in 2009, corresponding to a CO2 reduction of approximately 17,500 tons.
Furthermore, Novozymes has developed specific CO2 reduction targets regarding both an absolute CO2 reduction and energy efficiency targets.
Novozymes’ overall vision is to decouple emissions of CO2 in our production from our business growth. Our target is an increase in CO2 efficiency by 50% in 2015 compared to 2005. Furthermore, Novozymes has set a target of using 50% renewable or CO2-neutral energy in 2020.
One way of achieving these targets is energy savings in production. The other major area comprises activities that optimize our energy supply – either by producing or optimizing our own energy supply or by purchasing more renewable or CO2-neutral energy.
Electricity from wind power to Novozymes
A collaboration between Novozymes and the Danish energy company DONG Energy, entered into in 2008, has made possible the world's biggest offshore wind farm, Horns Rev II, and increased the production of electricity in Denmark based on wind power. Novozymes’ goal is to invest in electricity from Horns Rev II corresponding to our electricity consumption in Denmark by 2012. This will represent just over 30% of the total production from the wind farm.
In 2009, we have identified even more energy savings in our production. The money saved is invested in energy from the Horns Rev II offshore wind farm, which will deliver renewable energy to the Danish electricity grid corresponding to the consumption of 200,000 households. Novozymes’ investment means that more energy used in Denmark will be produced by wind turbines. Our agreement with DONG Energy is the largest of its kind so far in Denmark, measured in terms of realized CO2 reductions.
Over the last five years, many of Novozymes’ products have undergone a thorough evaluation of their environmental impacts in the form of LCAs. 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 life cycle assessment," known as pipeline LCA. Pipeline LCAs are based on assumptions concerning the production of the enzyme together with its impacts and effectiveness during use. Pipeline LCAs provide information on the carbon value of the new products and thus strengthen our opportunities to further improve the environmental performance of Novozymes’ products.
Environmental safety and supplier performance
To Novozymes it is important to promote environmental responsibility among partners in our supply chain. In order to further expand the scope of sustainability and responsible sourcing in our supply chain, Novozymes has completed implementation of a comprehensive supplier performance management system in 2009. The system covers all aspects of our supplier performance management from initial approval of new suppliers to ongoing performance evaluation. The approach is based on an integrated set of evaluation criteria, including environmental, employee health and safety, human rights, and business ethics aspects. The system allows us to provide performance profiles on all significant suppliers to Novozymes, and to focus on the suppliers who pose the biggest risk. In 2009, 88% of total purchase spend was covered by the system. In 2010, action plans for noncompliant suppliers will be developed in order to improve performance.
Environmental risk factors are a part of Novozymes' internal controls and risk management systems. Please refer to Risk factors for more information.
See more about Novozymes' approach to Minimizing environmental impact, and the Proven environmental benefits of using enzymes in various production processes at www.novozymes.com.
For related information please refer to Financial and sustainability discussion and Environmental, social, and knowledge data.
See the list of institutions that are Novozymes' key stakeholders regarding Global Compact.