Innovative ideas shaped by Lek associates generate savings of 34 mio euros

  • From last year on, all Novartis employees have been submitting their innovative ideas through an online application, which was successfully introduced in Slovenia as the first country to do so within Novartis. Over five years, the employees in Slovenia alone contributed more than 5,500 innovative ideas.
  • Innovation promotors at all Novartis development-production and production sites across Slovenia promote open, critical and constructive thinking mindset.
  • The major part of the new publically disclosed report on Lek’s environmental, social and economic impacts is once again dedicated to environmental impacts, with a special emphasis on the importance of innovation and improvements.
  • In the previous year, total emissions of volatile organic compounds were reduced by 24%, water use efficiency was improved by 7% and quantities of waste produced per tonne of product were reduced by 10%.
10. 9. 2018

Innovation is a key part of Novartis’ culture. As Darja Ferčej Temeljotov, Head of Strategic Programs, explains; mass innovation has become a continuous process also in Slovenia. Due to the impact of the continuous improvement and innovation on the sustainability indicators, emphasis is given to them also in the recently published Sustainability Report 2017 for Lek d. d.

Slovenia was the first to launch a pilot application Th!nk Novartis in 2012 to encourage the employees to shape new ideas. From last year on, the application has been available for all Novartis associates at the global level. Over five years of the application operation, the employees from Slovenia have submitted more than 5,500 propositions which were then reviewed by the experts. The implemented improvements have brought to Lek alone, 34 million euros in savings.

At all Novartis sites in Slovenia, all associates are also encouraged to adopt an open, critical and constructive thinking mindset by designated innovation promotors. Significant innovations and improvements do not occur only in research and development and on the basis of the strongly developed cooperation with the scientific–research sphere, but also through continuous ideas from the associates, implementation of process and technological improvements and transfer of new technologies and processes. It is interesting, that a large proportion of ideas for improvements in technological processes is generated during informal contacts between the associates which then later evolve into solutions that bring tangible economic benefits.  

A significant number of Lek’s technological and process improvements focus on high-quality management of environmental impacts. 21.5 million euros were dedicated to investments in environmental protection over the last six years, 5 million euros in the previous year alone. Among others, Mengeš Production reduced the total amount of emissions of volatile organic compounds by 33% despite increased production volume, and by 55% since 2012. The Lendava site reduced the consumption of fresh water by 11% by optimizing the consumption of closed-loop cooling water and increasing the efficacy of cooling. Although the levels were significantly lower than the maximum permitted limits, the Ljubljana site has reduced the noise level even further by installing an additional silencer, while the Prevalje site is implementing a strict Novartis standard for a low percentage of APIs in waters, which is significantly stricter than the standard set in European legislation.

»With a number of measures, Lek reduced the total amount of emissions of volatile organic compounds by as much as 24% in 2017 and improved water use efficiency by 7%,« said Mojca Bernik, responsible person for environment.

The effectiveness of Lek’s efforts to improve the efficiency of environmental indicators is reflected in the data, that despite increased production, the volume of waste produced decreased by just under 1% and quantities of waste produced per tonne of product by 10%. The energy consumption has increased by 0.4%, while the efficiency of energy consumption was improved by 9%.

This sustainability report for Lek d.d. is the seventh in the row and one of the few publically disclosed reports of its kind in Slovenia. It has been prepared according to GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards and in compliance with Novartis policy of responsible business conduct, EMAS recommendations and Program of Responsible Care for the chemical industry (POR), although according to the new Slovenian legislation, Lek as part of an international corporation is not obliged to disclose it. The reports are available on the web link:

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Novartis is the leading provider of medicines in Slovenia, where Lek, Novartis Pharma Services and Sandoz, operate. Together we are building and maintaining the reputation of a dynamic, ethical, and trusted pharmaceutical company. Lek develops, manufactures, and markets effective, safe, and high quality medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients. With our knowledge, quality, and experience we have gained an important role in Novartis' organizational structure, especially in the Novartis Technical Operations, Global Drug Development, Novartis Business Services, and the generic division Sandoz. We are the leading Sandoz development center, and one of the key development sites for technologically complex projects. We invest a great deal in the development, education, and training of our employees. Novartis invested in Slovenia more than EUR 2 billion since 2003. More than half of this investment has been devoted to development, and the rest to modernize and expand our production capacities.

Sandoz is a global leader in generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals. As a division of the Novartis Group, our purpose is to discover new ways to improve and extend people’s lives. We contribute to society’s ability to support growing healthcare needs by pioneering novel approaches to help people around the world access high-quality medicine. Our portfolio of approximately 1000 molecules, covering all major therapeutic areas, accounted for 2017 sales of USD 10.1 billion. In 2017, our products reached more than 500 million patients and we aspire to reach one billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area.

Sandoz is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Sandoz_global at is external).

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2017, the Group achieved net sales of USD 49.1 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 124,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

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This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.

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For additional information contact:
Katarina Klemenc
Corporate Communications 
Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.
Phone: +386 1 580 22 43
Fax: +386 1 580 24 32