Novartis target: environmentally neutral operations by the end of the decade

  • Janez Magyar, Mayor of the  Municipality of Lendava, Robert Ljoljo, President of the Board of Management of  Lek and Novartis Country President Slovenia, and Dr. Simon Rečnik, Head of  Solids Lendava, planted a friendship tree to mark the launch of the Green Team  at the Novartis site in Lendava.
  • Novartis Slovenia exceeded 5,000  employees in the first quarter.
  • The range of original and  biopharmaceutical products with high added value continues to grow at Novartis  Slovenia sites.
  • The recently published  Sustainability Report 2020 shows that they reduced the total water consumption  by 14% and, despite more energy-intensive production, reduced energy  consumption by more than 1% and increased the amount of waste delivered to  authorized contractors by 6%.
30. 6. 2021

Novartis plans to be fully carbon neutral across the value chain as well as being water and plastic neutral by 2030*. Employees are involved in further building the environmental sustainability culture and green improvements with their proposals. So-called Green Teams,  groups of motivated collaborators who improve the sustainability culture and facilitate green change by collecting ideas and suggestions, have begun to operate at all sites in Slovenia.

Mayor of the Municipality of Lendava Janez Magyar, President of the Board of Management of Lek and Novartis Country President Slovenia Robert Ljoljo and Dr. Simon Rečnik, Head of Solids Lendava, planted a friendship tree together at the Lendava site today, which was given to the employees by the Mayor to mark the beginning of the Green Team. He emphasized that efforts to use natural resources responsibly connect employees and improve communities. "We are proud that Novartis is one of the environmentally responsible international pharmaceutical companies and we are committed to achieving ambitious environmental goals in the future as well," said Robert Ljoljo. He thanked the employees at the Lendava site for reducing water consumption per unit produced through numerous measures in the past year and achieving a higher volume of production through lower energy consumption per employee.

As can be seen from the recently published Sustainability Report 2020, Novartis Slovenia has directly invested 3.7 million EUR in environmental protection and 22.1 million euros in the last five years, and all sites have strived for the efficient use of natural resources. "I am pleased that despite more demanding and intensive production with various measures and projects, we have managed to improve efficiency indicators and reduce energy and water consumption," said Eva Podgoršek, Head of the Health, Safety and Environment unit in Slovenia.

In total, Novartis sites in Slovenia used a good percent less energy compared to the previous year, even though the increasing production of original and biopharmaceutical products is energy-intensive. Energy efficiency projects have saved 45,102 GJ of energy, thus preventing 3,617 tons of CO2e emissions into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to the amount absorbed by 180,850 trees per year **. Direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 2%.

Measures and improvements also significantly reduced total water consumption by 14%; 482 thousand m3 of water saved the equivalent to the amount of water needed to fill 193 Olympic pools. Mainly due to the increased quantities of waste mycelium, which is a non-hazardous and biodegradable waste with a water content of 95%, the total quantities of waste handed over to authorized contractors increased by 6%.

Energy efficiency per employee improved by 9% and water efficiency per ton of product by 8%; total waste per ton of product increased by 13%. However, if waste mycelium was excluded, the measured efficiency would improve by close to 3%.

The sustainability culture, especially diversity and inclusion, is also one of the many reasons why Novartis won the international title of 'Top Employer' in Slovenia at the beginning of the year. In the first quarter of this year, it exceeded 5,000 employees, while it ended 2020 with 4,890 employees and 649 new employees.

The unthinkable circumstances that marked the past year, in addition to caring for patients and the health of employees, community support was also at the forefront. At the beginning of the pandemic, Novartis employees took the initiative and organized the production of disinfectant. More than 27,000 liters of disinfectant was donated to 106 health centers, hospitals, retirement homes and local communities throughout Slovenia. The Slovenian Red Cross and the Association of Friends of the Youth of Slovenia received $500,000 to help manage the pandemic in Slovenia, and the youngest members of socially vulnerable families received 182 computers with all the necessary software needed to distance learn.

Lek, which is part of Novartis, also by publishing the Sustainability Report follows the requirements of the international environmental standards EMAS, POR and ISO 14001, which is voluntarily enforced at all Novartis sites, and thus undertook additional independent assessments.

The report is available at:

* Carbon neutrality is represented by zero net carbon emissions into the air, which is achieved by reducing and/or preventing emissions and eliminating emissions that cannot be avoided. Water neutrality is represented by zero net water consumption and means that the quantities of water taken from the local environment are equal to the quantities we return to it. Plastic neutrality is represented by the equalization of the quantities of used and recycled plastic packaging.

** Trees absorb CO², so reducing electricity consumption is equivalent to planting new trees that would be needed to absorb CO² assuming one tree absorbs 20kg of CO² per year.

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Novartis is the leading provider of medicines in  Slovenia, where Lek d.d., Novartis Pharma Services Inc., Podružnica v Sloveniji and Sandoz d.d., 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. Over the last nine years, the company has created more than 3,350 new job opportunities, making us one of the biggest employers in Slovenia. Novartis invested in Slovenia more than EUR 2.7 billion since 2003.

About Sandoz
Sandoz, a Novartis division, is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. Our purpose is to pioneer access for patients by developing and commercializing novel, affordable approaches that address unmet medical needs. Our ambition is to be the world’s leading and most valued generics company. Our broad portfolio of high-quality medicines, covering all major therapeutic areas, accounted for 2020 sales of USD 9.6 billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area.

Sandoz is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @SandozGlobal at

About Novartis
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 110,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at

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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:
Gregor Makuc
Communications & External Engagement
Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.
Phone: +386 1 580 22 43