Principles, positions and policies

Our principles

The way we do business is shaped by a set of guiding principles. These include:

  • The Triple Bottom Line and Novo Nordisk Way
    The Triple Bottom Line principle is anchored in the company’s Articles of Association and the Novo Nordisk Way as the way we do business. It is applied to ensure that business decisions balance financial, social and environmental considerations, always keeping in mind the best interests of the patients we serve.

  • UN Human Rights Guiding principles
    We are committed to meeting our responsibility to respect human rights as defined by the?UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

  • UN Global Compact
    We are committed to the principles of responsible business conduct promoted by the United Nations Global Compact. The UN Global Compact is the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative that calls on companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption and take actions that advance societal goals. Novo Nordisk has been an active participant to the UN Global Compact since 2002.

    Read our most recent UN Global Compact Communication on Progress.

  • ‘Leave no one behind’ principle
    ‘Leave no one behind’ is a principle which is at the core of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

    We see the 17 universal SDGs as an opportunity to align our priorities with those that can support global development. Read more about our approach to the SDGs.

  • Pre-cautionary principle
    The precautionary principle was introduced in the United Nations Rio Declaration in 1992 and specifies that ‘In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.’

    We apply the precautionary principle to seek to avoid or diminish any harm to people or the environment from our actions in situations where scientific understanding is yet incomplete, for example in use of genetically modified organisms. Read more about our approach to bioethics.

  • IIRC Reporting principles
    We account for our performance in an integrated annual report which is prepared in accordance with the International <IR> Framework for Integrated Reporting. The framework is developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and consists of a set of content elements and guiding principles intended to improve the quality of information available to providers of financial capital.

    The guiding principles for integrated reporting are: strategic focus and future orientation, connectivity of information, stakeholder relationships, materiality, conciseness, reliability and completeness, and consistency and comparability. See how Novo Nordisk applies the <IR> Framework and read our most recent Annual Report.

  • 3R principles (animal ethics)

    Novo Nordisk considers the use of animals to be essential for the discovery, development and production of pharmaceutical and medical products. Ethical considerations and animal welfare are given high priority and we support the principles of the 3Rs (Reduce, Refine and Replace) and apply these principles in all our process and procedures.

    Read more about animal ethics


Our positions

We have formulated positions on issues of relevance to our business and our role as a global corporate citizen.

Our positions cover the following areas: Access to diabetes care, animal ethics, circular economy, climate change, clinical trials ethics, counterfeit medicines, gene technology ethics, human biosamples, intellectual property rights, medicines donations, pricing, stem cell ethics, the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and water.

See our positions


Our policies

The Novo Nordisk policies provide guidance on how we conduct business.

14 areas are covered by global policies: bioethics, business ethics, communication, environment, finance, global health, information security, information technology, legal, occupational health and safety, people, procurement, quality, and risk management.

The Novo Nordisk policies provide a link from the Novo Nordisk Way to how we operate in Novo Nordisk. The Novo Nordisk policies serve as internal guidance and are anchored with relevant headquarter functions that oversee adherence to the policies.