Novo Nordisk: Managing Sustainability at Home and Abroad
(11 pages of text)
AWARD WINNING CASE - Corporate Social Responsibility Award, 2012 European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Case Writing Competition. This case study deals with the opportunities and challenges faced by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk with regard to its sustainability approach in China as of 2012. Novo Nordisk is well known for striving to integrate its business activities in a financially, environmentally, and socially responsible way, and many Novo Nordisk employees proudly refer to Novo Nordisk as a “triple bottom line (TBL) company.” Novo Nordisk has been active in China for more than 50 years; however, since the Chinese economy has expanded tremendously, this increase in wealth and a more sedentary Western lifestyle have led to growing problems with obesity. As a result, China’s insulin market is booming.
Novo Nordisk therefore faces new challenges concerning how best to organize its TBL program in a way that ensures a comprehensive approach throughout the organization, yet allows Novo Nordisk China to adopt initiatives that fit the Chinese business context. Furthermore, with ever-increasing competition for access to China’s lucrative insulin market, Novo Nordisk’s competitors are also engaging in sustainability, which means that Novo Nordisk must keep innovating to stand out, and must use sustainability as a source of competitive advantage.
The case was written to help students develop skills in analyzing the potential strategic purposes of sustainability when applied to a global business context. The case focuses both on internal organization issues in a multinational organization, as well as on how to develop a sustainability strategy in a highly competitive business context in China. It also raises some general issues in terms of how to organize initiatives across a large global company and how to stand out from competitors. Students can work on the development of an integrated strategy for Novo Nordisk, discussing the political and social issues that must be addressed in any market entry to China.
Health Care Services
China and Europe, Large, 2011
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