Excerpted from The Domini 2021 Impact Report
Valuing human dignity requires helping people to plan for, and thrive into the future. This is why we believe preventative health care is part of our goal of advancing human dignity. In 2021, we were invested in two companies at forefront of providing preventative care: Pfizer and Moderna.
In 2020, Pfizer partnered with BioNTech to develop the first Covid-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Moderna had been working with mRNA technology for more than a decade, researching and developing treatments for rare diseases and vaccines for underserved populations. Through their partnership with U.S. agencies, Moderna was able to gain approval of its first product. These were the first two mRNA vaccines to receive regulatory approval anywhere, an outstanding achievement in medical innovation.
Although both companies were meeting our goals for healthcare – producing innovative, preventative, products – we recognized that there were likely to be chal-lenges to universal access to mRNA vaccines. Therefore, we joined other investors to engage Pfizer and Moderna to influence them to develop and pursue reasonable solutions to promote global access to their vaccines.
We focused on a known solution to problems of health access technology transfer: teaching others the methods of producing the vaccines while decentralizing global production. By the time we spoke to Pfizer, it had already taken steps to expand global manufacturing capacity, specifically adding to capacity in Brazil and South Africa. However, dialogue with Moderna revealed a hesitancy to share its vaccine know-how, and only vague promises about global production.
Finding ourselves at an impasse with Moderna, we joined Oxfam in requesting from the company a feasibility report to assess the opportunities, benefits, and risks of global manufacturing and technology transfer. We filed a proposal on the company’s annual proxy statement to allow other shareholders of the company to weigh in on this important matter related to global health access.
At Domini we invest in companies that we believe on balance are addressing their key sustainability challenges. We also use our voice as investors to work to improve corporate behavior and create alignment with our goals of promoting ecological sustainability and human dignity.
You can watch our webinar, Health Justice: Attaining Global & Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines, at https://www.domini.com/insights/global_vaccine_webinar