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New Investor ESG Communications Guidance Launched for Biopharma Companies


Pharmaceutical Executive

Investors welcome biopharma sector initiative.

The Biopharma Sustainability Roundtable, a sector-specific collaboration network that supports senior biotech and pharma executives working to drive their sustainability agendas forward, recently announced the publication of the Biopharma Investor ESG Communications Guidance.

The guidance is the outcome of almost two years of dialog facilitated by the Roundtable between biopharma companies and institutional investors to create a more effective and efficient way to communicate with each other about the sector’s most important environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics. Twelve high-priority ESG topics, shared by both investors and biopharma companies, are identified in the guidance. These extend beyond near-term financially relevant topics, to include strategically relevant topics that may also become financially relevant in future. They include (in alphabetical order):

  • Access to healthcare and medicine pricing

  • Business ethics, integrity, and compliance

  • Climate change

  • Clinical trial practices

  • ESG governance

  • Environmental impacts

  • Human capital management

  • Innovation in therapeutics, diagnostics, and business models

  • Pharmaceuticals in the environment and anti-microbial resistance

  • Product quality and patient safety

  • Risk and crisis management

  •  Supply chain management

The guidance provides a recommended structure for companies to communicate decision-useful, sector-comparable information on each topic including governance, objectives, strategy, risks, opportunities, and performance. 

Core participants in developing the guidance included Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. (MSD outside the U.S. and Canada), and Novartis. Contributing biopharma companies also included Astellas, Bayer, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Lonza, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, and Roche. Investor participants to date include Aberdeen Standard, Acadian, APG, BlackRock, Calvert, Domini, Federated Hermes, Manulife, Morgan Stanley, PGGM, Rockefeller Capital, TPG Capital, UBS and Wellington. The High Meadows Institute, a think tank and policy institute focused on strengthening the role of business leadership in creating a sustainable society, has been a strategic partner.

The Biopharma Sustainability Roundtable will continue to facilitate a collaborative dialog between the investment community and the biopharma sector to refine and extend the guidance, with the next release planned for early 2021. This will include reviewing and developing consensus on metrics and key performance indicators for the priority ESG topics identified in the guidance.

For more information or to request a copy of the guidance, contact info@meridianmc.com.

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