While not proud of it, I must confess that last weekend I binged on Netflix’s ‘The Secrets of the Blue Zones’ series. Blue Zones are the areas in the world with the highest concentrations of healthy centenarians. Whilst the original report is more than a decade old, the current TV series brings visuals to the commonalities of people in these regions to live a long and healthy life.
From an investment viewpoint, ‘centenarians’ in the Blue Zones are the equivalent to our long-term, core investment ideas in our Investment Themes. Those companies that we have owned for more than a decade and will continue to own. One such company within our Health theme, is Danish listed Novo Nordisk, a global leader in diabetes management. Novo Nordisk is a core strategic holding in the Climate Assets Balanced Fund since 2011 and consistently a top contributor to returns. Interestingly, this year Novo Nordisk is also celebrating its 100 years of existence – a true centenarian.
Novo Nordisk overtook French luxury conglomerate LVMH as the largest European company early in the month with its market value rising over fourfold since 2018. Whilst Novo Nordisk is not a household name, Wegovy, its bestselling weight loss/obesity drug has gained brand recognition across the UK.
Obesity is a chronic disease and in the last 50 years its prevalence has nearly tripled. The World Obesity Federation expects the economic costs of obesity to reach 3% of global GDP annually by 2035. This cost includes the impact on healthcare spending, reduced work productivity and premature death or retirement. Obesity is the fifth-highest risk for global death, with a knock-on effect on diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and mental health. Thus, this area of healthcare remains a critical focus across our investable universe.
To learn more about how we identify investment opportunities across our Health theme, please read here.