Novo Nordisk is yet again setting the standard for sustainability reporting. For year we have seen the number of pages grow and grow, and effort to make it all fairly accessible have been increasing difficult. This year however they are going new ways in order to integrate their reporting and at the same time reaching the key stakeholders effectively.
As always the company is thinking about their key stakeholder in the world of diabetes even though they have many other activities. Novo Nordisk is keeping their customers at the core of their CR activities. Many other companies have a tendency to forget why they were actually put in the world and fragment their communication and branding efforts creating a inconsistent picture of the company and how it relates to its core business concept.
“We have continued our efforts to improve access to care throughout the world, donating a portion of income from our net insulin sales to the World Diabetes Foundation and supporting improvements in the ability of healthcare systems to diagnose and treat diabetes”
The company is also signaling that they will get into the “obesity market” by communicating that they are preparing products for phase 3 testing. Obesity is closely linked to type 2 diabetes.
One of the controversies that Novo Nordick has been faced with is the high price that has been pit on their market. In the face of global recession there has been more than one voice that has spoken out against the company and others. In the Q&A section of the report Lars Rebien Sørensen, Novo Nordisk’s chief executive officer explains the company’s position:
“We understand the budget constraints governments are facing. Medical costs can be an easy target in times of tough political choices. While there may be short-term savings, the cost to society can be greater over a longer time frame. The cost of treatment is usually a small fraction of overall spending on diabetes care, with most spending allocated to treat serious complications related to inadequate medical care. In the US and Europe, for instance, insulin accounts for 3% of the total costs associated with treating diabetes.”
While this might be true there are still huge gaps in what premium companies take for the products and the ability of the consumers and customers’ ability to afford that extra cost. Novo Nordisk has been able to charge extra because they have a very well established brand and a significant market share. Novo Nordisk does have a program that ensures that is differentiation on price towards the least developed parts of the world, but this does not come to the benefit of Greece, Ireland or the US for that matter. Even through the recession there has not been any decrease in the ability to make a buck quite the opposite actually.
The report shows that Novo Nordisk continues to be consistent in the reporting maintaining a high level of commitment to their core values and at the same time show that they are able to develop their business. The core principles that the company is build on are:
- We create value by having a patient-centred business approach.
- We set ambitious goals and strive for excellence.
- We are accountable for our financial, environmental and social performance.
- We provide innovation to the benefit of our stakeholders.
- We build and maintain good relations with our key stakeholders.
- We treat everyone with respect.
- We focus on personal performance and development.
- We have a healthy and engaging working environment.
- We optimise the way we work and strive for simplicity.
- We never compromise on quality and business ethics.
And even though there are issues of concern and inconsistencies in what the organisation say and what they do is remaining a beacon in the world of CR reporting.