September 18, 2023

Novo Holdings commits to the Science Based Targets initiative as part of increased focus on planetary health

Today, Novo Holdings launched its Responsible Investment Report for 2022. The Report offers a comprehensive review of Novo Holdings’ commitments and activities, including the commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to achieve emission reductions for companies within the investment portfolio by 2030.

Science Based Targets are scientifically formulated goals that define the level of greenhouse-gas emission reductions required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, as outlined in the Paris Agreement. The targets provide companies with a roadmap to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions in a manner that is both environmentally effective and economically viable.

The specific targets for Novo Holdings will be established next year in line with SBTi standards. This commitment underscores Novo Holdings’ focus on aligning its activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement and contributing to the urgent need for a sustainable future.

Kasim Kutay, CEO of Novo Holdings, said: “We recognise that the health of people and the health of our planet are intricately intertwined, and we are determined to play our part in securing a more sustainable future. By setting science-based emission reduction targets, we are taking a vital step towards striving for a sustainable and prosperous future for all.”

Maja Pedersen, Head of Sustainability & Impact at Novo Holdings, said: “In our pursuit of a more sustainable future, we approach ESG from a Health, Planet, and People perspective. Our commitment to setting Science Based Targets underpins our planetary health ambitions, and we look forward to working with our portfolio companies in progressing the sustainability agenda.”

A growing bioindustrial portfolio
As part of its focus on planetary health, Novo Holdings has expanded its portfolio of investments in bioindustrial companies.

Bioindustrial companies are innovative enterprises that harness the power of biotechnology to develop solutions, products, and services that address pressing environmental challenges. These companies utilise biological processes and materials to create products that are more resource-efficient and more sustainable than conventional solutions.

Examples from the Novo Holdings portfolio include Biomason, a US-based bioindustrial company that has the potential to transform the construction industry by using bacteria and natural minerals to create sustainable building materials such as bricks and cement. According to the World Green Building Council, buildings are currently responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions, which partly can be attributed to the manufacturing methods of conventional cement.

AM Silk is another example of a bioindustrial portfolio company. The Germany-based company produces bio-based materials inspired by nature, such as silk proteins with advanced properties for various applications. These materials can replace traditional resource-intensive materials in sectors such as textiles, cosmetics, and medical devices.

In 2022, Novo Holdings had established a dedicated team of investment professionals to manage and grow the bioindustrials portfolio. So far, the team has closed three new investments in 2023 and is looking to add several new assets in the near future.

Anders Spohr, Senior Partner and Head of Bioindustrial Investments, said:

“We are in the midst of the golden age for biotech innovation. This year alone, we have been approached by more than 200 innovative biotech companies seeking growth capital. This keeps me optimistic about the green transition of society. The innovation is flourishing, and our willingness to back the best of these bioindustrial companies is greater than ever.”

In addition to the bioindustrial companies of the Novo Holdings Investment Portfolio, Novozymes, one of Novo Holdings’ strategic assets, is among the world’s leading companies within biosolutions. Its impending merger with Chr. Hansen is expected to grow the company further in its quest as a biosolutions powerhouse, delivering enzymes, bacteria and other ingredients at scale to industries worldwide.

Furthermore, Novo Holdings is involved in the global energy transition, directly and indirectly, through its Capital Investments vertical.

Through participating in the founding and investing in Glentra, an energy transition–focused investment company, Novo Holdings is committed to advancing renewable energy sources. Additionally, Novo Holdings’ ownership stake in the European Energy Partnership contributes to the acceleration of renewable energy adoption, aligning with the company’s broader sustainability goals.

“We’d like to approach environmental sustainability through a holistic lens. In order to have real impact, we believe that investing in companies that deliver tomorrow’s green technologies, and funds that are directly targeting the energy transition, combined with supporting portfolio companies in reducing their emission targets is the optimal way forward to honour our ambition of being a leading responsible investor,” Kasim Kutay said.

Learn more in the Novo Holdings Responsible Investment Report 2022.

About Novo Holdings A/S
Novo Holdings is a holding and investment company that is responsible for managing the assets and the wealth of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The purpose of Novo Holdings is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet by generating attractive long-term returns on the assets of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
Wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Novo Holdings is the controlling shareholder of Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S and manages an investment portfolio with a long-term return perspective. In addition to managing a broad portfolio of equities, bonds, real estate, infrastructure and private equity assets, Novo Holdings is a world-leading life sciences investor. Through its Seeds, Venture, Growth, and Principal Investments teams, Novo Holdings invests in life science companies at all stages of development.
As of year-end 2022, Novo Holdings had total assets of EUR 108 billion.

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation
Established in Denmark in 1924, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is an enterprise foundation with philanthropic objectives. The vision of the Foundation is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet. The Foundation’s mission is to progress research and innovation in the prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic and infectious diseases as well as to advance knowledge and solutions to support a green transformation of society.

Further information

Marie-Louise Jersin, Senior Communications Partner, +45 3049 4957,