using the SDGS
I believe we are witnessing a truly fascinating global shift in the role of businesses. A realization is now kicking in that some of the world’s most pressing challenges – climate change, dwindling natural resources, rising population – are also some of our biggest future business opportunities. When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were published in September 2015, we started working on ways to integrate them into Novozymes’ business, because, as we asked ourselves: what’s better than a shared commitment from 193 countries? The SDGs highlight environmental, economic and social issues of global importance such as eradicating poverty, investing in sustainable water, energy and transport infrastructure, and enabling food security. The goals aim to unite governments, non-governmental organizations, companies and communities to work together to achieve the greatest impact. It’s clear that the private sector plays a key role and bears a big responsibility to drive the global sustainability agenda, and the SDGs point towards the many opportunities for companies that spring from this agenda. They provide a signpost that points companies in the right direction to deliver solutions that contribute to sustainable growth. Seen in this way, they’re a trilliondollar business opportunity for the companies that get it right – and I work to make Novozymes one of them.
Sustainability is intrinsic to our business Novozymes is the world leader in biological solutions, producing a wide range of industrial enzymes and microorganisms. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts. When one substance needs to be
Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Denmark bio-technology company, Novozymes, on what his company has learned so far transformed into another, nature uses enzymes to speed up the process. Enzymes in the stomach, for instance, ensure that food is converted into energy. Our customers use enzymes in the manufacture of a wide variety of products, including biofuels, textiles, beer and bread. The enzymes are not part of the end product, but they save on raw materials, energy, water and waste in the production process, and they can replace harsh chemical alternatives. Enzymes are also used directly in products such as laundry detergents, where they help remove stains and enable low-temperature washing. Like enzymes, many microorganisms have natural properties that can be put to use in a variety of processes. In our strategic BioAg Alliance, Novozymes is working on microorganisms that will give the world’s farmers a new biological toolkit for increasing yields and protecting crops.
How Novozymes working with the SDGs While our solutions are microscopic, we believe they can have a big impact and help address some of the major challenges the world is facing. The SDGs have guided Novozymes’ own long-term targets for fulfilling the company’s stated purpose of finding biological answers for better lives in a growing world. Among those targets is an ambition to reach six billion people with our biological solutions, deliver 10 transformative innovations, catalyze five global partnerships for change, and save 100 million tons of CO2 through the use of our products – all by 2020. This is our interpretation of where we can make a difference in the world. In addition to corporate strategy, we are developing a way to assess our pipeline of innovations and partnership opportunities using factors that include their potential contribution to the SDGs. By understanding the societal contributions of our technologies, we develop a new lens through which to view business development activities. This way of working isn’t entirely new ground for us; environmental and social issues have long been a consideration in the way we set priorities, and we have many years of experience with Life Cycle Assessments, which have successfully been used to dimension our research and measure the effect of our biological solutions on the environment. Our technology puts us in a good spot to help achieve specific SDGs, particularly those relating to food security, sustainable agriculture and energy supply.