How to develop a sustainability strategy

If you want to make sustainability an integral part of your business, you must identify material sustainability issues, develop a sustainability strategy and form sustainability targets.

To be at the forefront, any company must make sure that the next sustainability trends are incorporated in the overall company strategy. A best practice is to have a formal process of trendspotting including assessing the materiality of these trends to your business. Novozymes has a systematic approach to trendspotting which feeds into the development of our sustainability strategy and targets.

Novozymes materiality overview

Together with stakeholders, Novozymes spots trends and assesses the potential impact of those trends on Novozymes’ business and its stakeholders. Based on this, a sustainability materiality overview has been developed. The materiality overview is reviewed once a year to incorporate material trends and issues reflecting our prioritizations. Issues that have a high level of importance for our stakeholders and for our business can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the matrix. These issues are critical to our immediate and long-term success and are an important part of our sustainability strategy. Innovation, climate change and energy efficiency are issues that strongly influence our success as we continue our journey toward sustainability in collaboration with our customers. The issues that are marked with a pink dot are issues for which we have defined corporate targets. Issues located in the box in the lower left-hand corner are less immediately relevant but are issues that we monitor as emerging trends of growing relevance to our stakeholders and to our business.


Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholders are indispensable to the current and future success of Novozymes. Hence we have created an organizational setup that integrates stakeholder concerns into our strategic decision-making. Hence, listening to and learning from stakeholders is part of all focus areas.



As an innovation focused solution provider, this aspect is of great importance to Novozymes, and our stakeholders. We focus on research and development and continuously improve this complex, global, and highly diversified process, to ensure our long term success.


Job creation

There is a growing prominence among stakeholders regarding job creation, and we are aware of the potential of our technology, especially in sectors like biofuels development. Our business supports the creation of jobs, in areas where we operate.

  • Green growth in Africa


Climate change

Reducing CO2 emissions and mitigating climate change is one of the top priorities for Novozymes and our stakeholders. Hence we have set targets to reduce our CO¬2 emissions and enable our customers reduce their CO2 emissions through our solutions.


Human rights and labor standards

As a responsible global organization, Novozymes commits to protect human rights and labor standards. Our social minimum standards are based on U.N. Global Compact and cover aspects such as diversity, freedom of association, elimination of child and forced labor, etc.


Energy efficiency

Improving energy efficiency is a top priority for Novozymes and our stakeholders in order to reduce the risk of negative impacts from rising energy prices, energy insecurity, and climate change. We have set targets to improve our energy efficiency. Additionally, our solutions help our customers save energy too.


Health and safety

It is vital for both our employees and our business to maintain a safe and healthy working place and good work-life balance. Accordingly, we have set targets to prevent occupational accidents & hazards, and reduce employee absence rate.


Health and nutrition

Health and nutrition are becoming increasingly important to consumers and thereby to Novozymes’ customers. Several of our solutions for the food industry address specific health and nutrition issues that our customers and society benefit from.


Biodiversity and bioethics

As a responsible biotechnology business, issues such as protection of biodiversity, fair access to genetic resources, gene technology and GMOs, animal testing etc. are important to Novozymes. Hence, we engage, take action, and position ourselves accordingly, in order to mitigate associated risks.


Business integrity and transparency

As a responsible global business, values such as responsibility, accountability, openness, and honesty are central to Novozymes. Our business integrity rests on six principles such as no to facilitation payments, clear limits for gifts, and others.


Water scarcity

Water scarcity is an issue of increasing global importance and is becoming increasingly important to both our consumers and our business. Novozymes has targets for water efficiency in our own production and many of our solutions help reduce water consumption during production processes and treat wastewater.


Water efficiency

Water is increasingly becoming a critical sustainable development issue. Novozymes mitigates water-related risks, especially in regions exposed to water scarcity. We have set targets to improve our water efficiency, and the majority of our solutions help our customers reduce water and treat wastewater.


Product safety

It is vital to our business to ensure that our products are safe in handling, non-toxic, and legally sold. We provide our customers with clear information about our solutions to comply with consumer and regulatory requirements.


Diversity and equal opportunity

As a growing global organization, it is important to develop a diverse workforce, fostering innovation and an inclusive culture. Hence, we have set targets related to gender and nationality for new leaders recruited.

Sustainable energy

Growing resource scarcity requires solutions that can be based on renewable energy. As a part of our effort in strengthening the pull of sustainable solutions in society, we have set a target to ensure that the U.N. Sustainable energy for All (SEFA) initiative promotes biofuels as an opportunity area.

Employee satisfaction & development

We believe employee satisfaction leads to better performance both at the individual and team levels. Our aim is to be an attractive and high performing workplace with a culture based on our 'Touch the World' values. Accordingly, we have set targets to measure employee satisfaction, development opportunities, and employee turnover.


Corporate citizenship

As a responsible corporate citizen, Novozymes commits resources to community engagement activities. We contribute with our competencies within biotechnology and environmental responsibility in projects and partnerships worldwide.



Contributing to education, especially within science understanding is important for Novozymes’ ability to attract the brightest scientific talent in the future, retain our license to operate, and give back to our communities around the world.


Sustainability excellence

Sustainability indices and ratings help us benchmark ourselves against sustainability leaders, ensure credibility of our work, and stay in touch with the latest trends. Accordingly, we have set a target as a benchmark for our performance.


Supply chain management

A reliable and safe supply chain is essential to secure production, cost, and efficiency. Accordingly, we have set a target to ensure supplier adherence to commercial, quality, and sustainability performance.



Improving energy efficiency is a top priority for Novozymes and our stakeholders in order to reduce the risk of negative impacts from rising energy prices, energy insecurity, and climate change. We have set targets to improve energy efficiency.


Waste management

As a result of growing scarcity of resources and issues associated with waste, there is a need to effectively handle waste. We make efforts to reduce the amount of waste and to recycle as much as possible. We also provide solutions to our customers that help them reduce waste and treat wastewater.


Sustainable agriculture

Novozymes’ bio-agricultural products help reduce dependence on oil based fertilizers, contributing to the development of sustainable agriculture. Our enzymes in animal feed products also help reduce some of the adverse impacts during production.


Food security

There is growing prominence among stakeholders regarding food security, and we are aware of the potential and relevance for our technology. We address some aspects of this issue through the Clean Star Mozambique project. Furthermore, some of our solutions have a positive impact on land use, as well as help produce more food with fewer resources.


Transparency in public policy activities

Transparency and integrity in public policy activities and industry association is a theme of increasing focus globally. Novozymes is committed to conduct these activities in a transparent manner and is working to develop a position on how we engage with public policy stakeholders.


Socioeconomic impact

As a result of increasing resource scarcity, the focus on sustainable and renewable raw materials is increasing. Novozymes’ products pave the way towards a bio-based economy. Novozymes is working with its customers to develop substitutes for oil-based products. Novozymes is also exploring different sustainable raw materials in its production.


From trend to sustainability targets in Novozymes

The inputs and trends Novozymes gains from stakeholder engagements are anchored in the Sustainability Board (SB). Trendspotting is used to monitor trends systematically through engagements with stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, investors, peers, retailers and NGOs. Trends are then analyzed, in a materiality assessment, to identify related risks and opportunities for Novozymes’ business and stakeholders from both a corporate and a regional perspective. In this process, the Corporate Sustainability department selects key trends to present to the SB. The SB decides which trends to integrate into the business through corporate strategy, corporate sustainability targets, and global and regional sustainability projects. Target-setting and strategy development are determined by the Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors based on the recommendations from the SB. The SB reports directly to the Executive Leadership Team, which evaluates and endorses the sustainability targets and strategy input for the Board of Directors' final approval.