ESG integration

E = Environment, S = Social, G = Governance



E = Environment

Novozymes’ Commitment to Climate Change

Addressing Climate change is well-integrated in our business strategy. Novozymes has been recognized as a global corporate leader for climate action, as our biosolutions enable climate change mitigation across the value chain.

Mitigating climate change impacts across the value chain

Novozymes believes that a transition toward a bio-based economy, one that relies on renewable biological resources, can assist the planet to be more resource efficient and to tackle climate change. Novozymes' biosolutions typically offer customers reduced CO2 emissions due to lower energy, water, raw material and chemical consumption compared with conventional technologies. Novozymes measures how its biosolutions contribute to more sustainable business practices, and since 2004 has used lifecycle assessment (LCA) studies to assess the environmental impact of new and existing biological solutions from cradle to grave. These findings are shared publicly, and Novozymes works closely with customers to help them realize and demonstrate emission reductions within their own operations.

By 2020, Novozymes aims to save 100 million tons of CO2 annually through customers’ application of its products. See the Novozymes Report for more information on annual savings of CO2.

Lowering Novozymes’ operational footprint

With growing constraints on global resources, Novozymes is dedicated to optimizing its operations year on year, so as to reduce the consumption of natural resources and mitigate the negative environmental impact of its production processes. Novozymes has been investing heavily to continuously improve its productivity and reduce the impact of its production processes on climate and natural resources like energy and water. We have operational targets on reducing CO2 intensity of operations and improving energy and water efficiency that help drive positive performance in the organization. Our target on renewable energy drives the shift away from fossil based energy. Learn more about our targets and our performance in The Novozymes Report.

Commitment to product stewardship and safety

Many of Novozymes’ biological enzymatic solutions serve as ingredients in consumer goods or are used as industrial processing aids. Novozymes is committed to ensuring product safety across the value chain.

Enzymes do not generate adverse environmental impacts under applied uses, where concentrations are typically low. In addition, enzymes are biodegradable, water-soluble, and do not contain any high-priority toxicants. However if enzymes are not handled correctly, some human health hazards, such as respiratory sensitization and skin irritation can occur. These hazards are intrinsic characteristics of active enzyme proteins and cannot be eliminated.

Novozymes’ approach to product stewardship is outlined in the Quality and Product Safety Policy and Our approach to REACH. In addition, Novozymes has developed position papers on a variety of topics related to product safety and stewardship, such as animal testing and labeling of enzymes. Structured and documented processes for product stewardship, from development to delivery of a product, are enforced globally and audited by the independent body Bureau Veritas. While this approach is implemented through a number of cross-functional teams, primary responsibility rests with the Vice President for Intellectual Property (IP), Regulatory and Product Safety.

Novozymes’ approach to product stewardship is centered largely on eliminating the risk of potential harm to human health by lowering exposure risk across the value chain. It is based on 6 pillars:

  1. Safe strains and raw materials: Novozymes continuously monitors the pathogenic and toxigenic potential of its microbial production strains. The company conducts standard environmental evaluations of all other raw materials used in production, and has a negligible exposure to substances listed on the REACH Candidate and Authorization Lists. Learn more about Novozymes’ approach to REACH.
  2. Product design and formulation: Novozymes regularly assesses the potential exposure level of enzyme dust/aerosol in all applications. The company strives to design products with lower exposure risk, wherever possible, and is continuously working on new and improved granulate or liquid formulations. Learn more about enzymes and safety
  3. Safety assessment and risk monitoring: Safety assessment is a key milestone in the development and application of new products. Novozymes has adopted EU REACH limits for exposure to enzyme dust/aerosol as its globally recommended safe limit.  Before promoting any enzyme for defined applications, Novozymes’ global sales force must ensure that the toxicological and safety profiles of the intended application has been assessed and approved.
  4. Customer training and support: Safe handling and use of enzymes depends on occupational safety practices at customer’s production sites. Novozymes actively shares information about the manufacturing of its products and their properties, advises customers on how to ensure compliance with relevant chemical safety regulations and helps customers identify and monitor exposure risk in their operations. All customer complaints related to products are systematically registered, handled and coordinated by the Quality department.
  5. Additionally, Novozymes has developed a harmonized set of safe handling procedures, based on its extensive, internal occupational health and safety program called Zero Enzyme Allergy (ZEAL). These guidelines are summarized in an easy-to-read booklet called “Enzymes and You” (available in 8 languages on Novozymes Market) and as an e-learning program (available on Novozymes TV). Its global sales force is trained on these safe handling guidelines and responsible for actively promoting them to customers.
  6. Regulatory compliance: Novozymes is very positive towards chemical safety regulation, and its approach to product stewardship is aligned with the developments in chemical safety regulation globally such as EU REACH, TSCA reform in USA, etc. In Europe, Novozymes works actively in Enzyme REACH Consortium to develop policies, guidance documents and tools for smooth and correct registration of enzymes.
  7. Stakeholder engagement: For more than 40 years, Novozymes has worked to improve product stewardship practices across various sectors through its engagement with regulatory authorities and trade associations.

Novozymes is the Chair of the Enzymes Safety Working Group at the Association of Manufacturers and Formulators of Enzyme Products (AMFEP). In 2016, AMFEP has been leading a collaboration with the European Federation of Manufacturers and Suppliers of Ingredients to the Bakery, Confectionery and Patisserie Industries (FEDIMA) to develop safe handling guidelines for enzymes within the bakery.

Novozymes is also Vice-Chair of the Enzyme Safety Task Force at the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (AISE). The AISE Enzyme Safety Task Force recently revised its comprehensive guidelines for safe handling of enzymes in the detergent industry. Additionally, in 2016, the group continued to expand its outreach via a free, interactive webinar series on the fundamentals of enzyme safety and risk management.


Biological diversity & Nagoya protocol

Novozymes' position statement on biodiversity Including confirmation of compliance with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya protocol

The United Nations Convention on Biodiversity is an international legal instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was inspired by the world community's growing commitment to sustainable development.

The CBD has been in force since December 1993. With the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization in October 2014, the CBD was complemented with more specific guidance on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS).

Novozymes supports the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in terms of "the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources". Novozymes endorses the globally recognized principles on the utilization of genetic resources according to the CBD.

Novozymes acknowledges and respects the principles of both the CBD and the Nagoya protocol, and the company has internal procedures to ensure that it lives up to its commitments.

Novozymes promotes fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promotes appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed. We regularly assess outcomes of CBD meetings with a view to undertake a broader strategic discussion on its management and reporting of biodiversity issues.

S - Social

Social commitment to human rights and corporate citizenship

Novozymes' work on social responsibility is based on a two-pronged model: on the one hand ensuring that good labor practices and human rights are respected  throughout the organization; while on the other strengthening Novozymes' role as an active corporate citizen. Compliance with  the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights Novozymes has a long-established commitment to support the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR). Since 2012, Novozymes has been committed to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and has thereby implemented the UN’s “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework. Please see The Novozymes Report 2018  for more information on human rights impact assessments. 
Furthermore, our People Policy and our position on Human Rights and Labor standards are available here

Corporate citizenship

Novozymes has a long-term target of educating 1 million people about the potential of biology by 2020. This ambition builds on the legacy and best practices of its previous corporate citizenship program, Citizymes.

Management system set up

Projects under the EDUCATE program are anchored and driven by our regional presidents and their Regional Management Teams (RMT). Time and cash contributions used on these activities are decided on regionally, however, a minimum budget is assigned for each region.

EDUCATE steering group

We have formed a steering group which consists of members from the global sustainability team and all regional sustainability managers. The group interacts regularly to share best practices, explore opportunities for scaling successful projects across regions and streamline the process of monitoring actual number of learners achieved.


External measurement
We engage learners from primary school up to university level across our main regions of operation including Brazil, China, India, North America and Denmark. Please see - The Novozymes Report 2018 for more information on our performance.

Modern slavery and human trafficking statement

The U.K. Modern Slavery Act of 2015 requires companies carrying out business in the U.K. to publish a statement describing steps taken to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in the company’s business operations and supply chains.

Read Novozymes’ modern slavery and human trafficking statement - 2016

Read Novozymes' modern slavery and human trafficking statement - 2017

Read Novozymes' modern slavery and human trafficking statement - 2018

Read Novozymes' modern slavery and human trafficking statement - 2019

Read Novozymes' modern slavery and human trafficking statement - 2020

Read Novozymes' modern slavery and human trafficking statement - 2021

G = Governance

Distribution of value to society

Novozymes’ economic impact on society goes beyond traditional financial results. Our economic stakeholders include a wide range of stakeholder groups such as suppliers, authorities, employees, and local communities. It is important for Novozymes to make a positive contribution in the countries where we operate. Our economic contributions consist of taxes, duties, VAT, employee taxes, employee pension and benefit programs, procurement from local vendors and development of workforce, among others. Annually we look at Novozymes’ broader economic impact on society at a large. We monitor and disclose data on who benefits from the value that we create as a company on a yearly basis.

Tax strategy

Novozymes’ overall tax strategy and transfer-pricing policy support a positive tax contribution to society and governments in the countries in which Novozymes operates. Novozymes continuously works to fulfill our tax obligations in the countries where we operate. We seek to obtain a competitive tax level in a fair and responsible way, and with full regard to national and international laws and regulations. Besides taxes, our economic contributions consist of duties, VAT, employee taxes, employee pension and benefit programs, procurement from local vendors and job creation, among others. Please see our position on Tax. 

Grievance mechanisms

Novozymes’ Whistleblower System, hosted by a third party, allows both internal and external stakeholders to anonymously report concerns related to fraud, business integrity, human rights, antitrust and other serious violations. Direct links and training on how to use it is included in the annual employee training on business integrity and antitrust.

Another grievance mechanism available to Novozymes’ employees is the annual People’s Opinion survey, where employees are encouraged to be open and honest on overall satisfaction and on the working environment in the team, and in Novozymes in general.

Novozymes also has an ombudsperson institution, which consists of a global network with a local ombudsperson in each of the five major regions in China, India, Europe, South America, and North America. Having local ombudspersons who speak the local language ensures that the institution is easily accessible throughout Novozymes. And the Global Ombudsperson will ensure that we have a consistent approach throughout the whole of Novozymes. Their function is to ensure that the guidelines in values and policies are met.

ESG integration in our supply chain

Novozymes as a supply chain partner

We live up to customer expectations by setting ambitious targets for our performance as well as a strong organizational setup to ensure integration of sustainability into all business functions.

Read more on responsible purchasing and our supplier management program, or download our responsible purchasing standard.