Novo Nordisk → Susanne Stormer: A Corporation With Sustainability in its DNA

Susanne Stormer is a foremost global authority in corporate sustainability and serves as VP, Corporate Sustainability and Chief Sustainability Officer for the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, a globally recognized sustainability leader. Susanne sets strategic direction for the Novo Nordisk as a sustainability leader and pioneer in demonstrating long-term business value of incorporating economic, social and environmental perspectives into its market proposition. She and her team manage sustainability-driven programs, the company’s Annual Report, engagements with ESG investors and stakeholders in the professional sustainability community, and communicate the value of the company’s Triple Bottom Line business principle. 

In this episode, topics discussed include the following:

  • Sustainability in the DNA of a company
  • Born with a social purpose in 1923: Novo Nordisk helps people with diabetes live better lives
  • Scandinavia has a heritage of respecting the environment; and lessening environmental footprint
  • What should we call a corporate environmental/social commitment ?
  • A discussion about the Triple Botton Line
  • Financial responsibility is tied to social responsibly
  • Circular economy and environmental responsibility
  • Relevant – Responsible – Resilient → the three keys to being a sustainable business
  • Employee engagement as related to Millennials → people would like to work for a company that has a clear purpose and values-driven
  • Sustainable engagement
  • If you have a highly engaged workforce, there is lower absenteeism, fewer sick days, and higher productivity
  • Patients are at the center of all decisions; one example is injectable devices
  • Innovation inspired by patient engagement
  • Customer loyalty → hospitals, Ministries of Health: companies look at the company behind the product
  • Training the sales staff to tell the company story and share the companies mission, ‘story’ and values.  When a bigger context is given, there is a higher rate of sales calls and in-person engagement
  • Market value is higher than the value of what can be accounted for with tangible assets
  • Intangibles are created through an engaged workforce, quality of management, strong purpose, anticipating business constraints or ability to be flexible as a company
  • The personality traits of a CSO
  • The importance of a supportive CEO
  • The details of building a strong sustainabilty team and leaders within a company
  • Embedding TBL values within the organization through storytelling
  • Tips for great integrative reporting
  • Sustainability tracking and roadmaps to corporate sustainabilty; the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • The Future-Fit business benchmark → what is needed at a minimum to do no harm to the environment and society – and tied to accounting
  • Crafting stories that appeal to stakeholders
  • Mistakes in messaging sustainability
  • Great stories help earn the trust and confidence of stakeholders who sometimes become ambassadors and defenders of the brand, for example, in cases of crisis
  • Making a business stable and resilient during disruption
  • Key questions, what might disrupt our business in the next 5 – 10 years?    
  • The importance of feasibility in achieving sustainability goals


Novo Nordisk

Susanne Stormer

International Integrative Reporting framework

John Elkington – triple bottom line

Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business

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