Peter Faaborg Andersen
Global Marketing Director Novozymes
For a company which is located in various parts of the world, is it actually difficult to enforce sustainability at the ground level in all the branches? While doing so, what are the challenges that you often come across?
With the world seeking to get more from less and desiring inventive solutions that benefit society at large as well as the environment, sustainability makes good business sense. We see sustainability as one of our key business drivers and an integral part of everything we do – and the majority of our employees are attracted to work with us because of the sustainable nature of our business, so enforcing this is fortunately not an issue for us.
In terms of textile production, our solutions can decrease dependence on chemicals, lower the consumption of energy and water, and bring down costs – all while maintaining superior product quality. And this helps textile manufacturers meet the demands of the retailers, who are increasingly focusing on sustainability and setting their own ambitious goals.
In 1941 Novozymes launched its first enzyme, trypsin, extracted from the pancreas of animals and used to soften leather. This is not so eco-friendly. How have the company’s policies changed over the years?
The discovery of trypsin was, at the time, truly ground-breaking. But since then, technology has advanced tremendously and now enzymes are effectively, and sustainably produced using fermentation.
Do you think political instability is one of the major reasons in not so developed countries for lack of implementation of essential steps to save the environment?
With environmental concerns and climate-change issues gaining traction, sustainable solutions are quickly becoming priority in the political agenda of every country including developing countries. However, in order to fast-track the adoption of sustainable solutions, especially in the developing countries, there is a need for the governments to further support through clearer and stricter policies, and incentives for the adoption of the technology, especially by the fragmented players.
Tell us about the importance of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and methodology for it.
It is important to document and support the sustainability claims of products by using tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCAs can help build and validate environmental claims and measure how biosolutions contribute to more sustainable business practices. They assess the environmental impacts of solutions covering the entire life cycle from cradle to grave – from raw material extraction, through production, use, and transport, to final disposal or recycling.
In the case completed in collaboration with customers, and address various environmental of enzymatic solutions, LCA studies can compare the environmental impact of both conventional and enzyme-assisted solutions delivering the same benefit to the users across various industries, agriculture, and in private homes. They are usually indicators, such as global warming, acidification, nutrient enrichment, and smog formation, and various resource indicators, such as fossil fuels, agricultural land, and minerals. LCA studies should be carried out according to ISO 14040 standards and subject to external expert review or published in peer-reviewed journals. At Novozymes, we validate the sustainable claims of our products through a peer based LCA process.
What is the role of huge corporate companies in bringing better ethical laws and practices and certain countries?
Large, respected companies can certainly have the power to influence – especially if the unite and fight for a common goal. In terms of the textile industry, the first example that springs to mind is the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an industry-wide group of over 80 leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, nonprofits, and NGOs working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products around the world. The goal is to lead the industry toward a shared vision of sustainability.
Some of the desired outcomes of the coalition focus of vital issues such as better water use and quality, reducing energy use and emissions, waste management, and a focus on social and ethical performance impacts of all companies and products.
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