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Leon Kaye headshot

Long a Trailblazer in Integrated Reporting, Novo Nordisk Leads Again

By Leon Kaye

The pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk released its latest integrated financial and sustainability report, a task the company has achieved annually for over a decade.

As always, the report incorporates financial, environmental and social statements for the past year, in addition to a management review. A participant within the UN Global Compact, Novo Nordisk also presents to stakeholders a "communication on progress" report, which details how the company's agenda eventually becomes concrete actions on a wide range of issues related to human rights, the environment and transparency.

This report is important because once again, it demonstrates to stakeholders that paying heed to environmental and social challenges hardly get in the way of a company's financial performance - and in fact, can even bolster a firm's bottom line. After all, Novo Nordisk keeps going strong, with almost $18.5 billion generated in revenues over the last fiscal year. The company, which specializes in diabetes treatment, says is is providing some level of care to almost 28 million people worldwide, and has a long pipeline of new drugs slated for approval on both sides of the Atlantic.

Novo Nordisk is also a leaner, greener and more efficient machine. The report's authors claim that conservation measures enacted across the company saved an estimated 18,000 gigajoules (or 5,000 megawatt hours) of power and 100,000 cubic meters (over 2.6 million gallons) of water. The company also noted another decrease in its annual carbon emissions, and says it is confident about having all of its power at its production plants come from renewable sources by 2020. Finally, all but 4 percent of the company's waste is either recycled or reused.

When companies communicate their overall performance to their stakeholders, regulators and the general public, they should look to Novo Nordisk's report, as it stands out as a template. Quite bluntly, the report shows that "less is more." Its brevity is punctuated by what more companies should do: simply lay out the facts, from the financial numbers to the social and environmental performance metrics, in a simple table format - and let the analysts crunch the numbers themselves. In the case of Novo Nordisk, its communication efforts are a success - the company is consuming less, yet continuing to grow as profits tick upward.

Image credit: Siebuhr/Flickr




Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye