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Biotechnology companies join RE100 - News

25 November 2015, 0:00 GMT 3 min read

Two major international biotechnology companies have joined RE100 and made commitments to 100% renewable power.

US-based Biogen develops therapies for patients worldwide living with serious neurological, autoimmune and rare diseases. The company became 100% renewable for electricity in 2014 and buys renewable energy certificates equal to all of its electricity. It has been driving operational efficiencies for years and is now working to engage its supply chain and source renewable power more directly.

Novo Nordisk is based in Denmark but has operations in 75 countries. The company has more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care and also helps people to defeat serious chronic conditions like haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity. It has set itself an ambitious target to be entirely powered by renewable electricity by 2020 – including all its production sites around the world.

So why are these companies so keen to be powered by renewables?

“Going 100% renewable aligns with Biogen’s mission of improving the lives of patients – we believe that caring for our patients and our people goes hand in hand with caring for our environment”, says Johanna C. Jobin, Director, Global EHS & Sustainability at Biogen.

“The business community is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions so we should also be a significant driver of the solutions. It’s not only the right thing to do – it adds value to our business and drives innovation in our products and operations.”

Henrik Wulff, Executive Vice President and Head of Novo Nordisk Product Supply agrees that there is a powerful business case for action: “Switching to renewable electricity makes sense from both a climate and cost perspective. As more companies invest in renewable electricity, the technology is likely to get even more efficient and less costly.”

Brand, environmental responsibility, innovative opportunities and cost are among the key drivers for change.

Novo Nordisk also has the additional goal of achieving zero carbon emissions from electricity at its production sites by 2020. Its plants in Denmark, Brazil and Japan are already sourcing renewable electricity, and in October 2015 its production site in Tianjin in China signed a purchase agreement to source electricity from a windfarm in Inner Mongolia. Other production sites in the US, France, Russia, Algeria and Iran will enter similar agreements in the coming years.

Biogen also has a long-term aim to maintain its carbon neutrality, and is seeking ways to eventually move from being ‘net zero’ to ‘net positive’ – saving more emissions than it produces. Having already met its 100% renewable electricity target, the company is now turning its attention to its supply chain, which accounts for around 70% of its total associated emissions. While working to become more efficient in its own operations, the company will encourage its suppliers to do the same.

There are now 43 companies in RE100, including Alstria, Autodesk, Aviva, Biogen, BROAD Group, BT Group, Commerzbank, DSM, Elion Resources Group, Elopak, Formula E, Givaudan, Goldman Sachs, H&M, IKEA Group, Infosys, J. Safra Sarasin, Johnson & Johnson, Kingspan, KPN, La Poste, Land Securities, Marks & Spencer, Mars Incorporated, Nestlé, Nike, Inc., Novo Nordisk, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Proximus, RELX Group, Salesforce, SAP, SGS, Starbucks, Steelcase, Swiss RE, UBS, Unilever, Vaisala, Voya Financial, Walmart and YOOX Group.