Pfizer Issues COVID19 SDG Bond

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Pfizer announced the issuance of a US$1.25 billion ten-year “sustainability” bond aiming to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDGs 1, 3, 6, 7, and 9. According to Pfizer, the funds can also be directed towards efforts to counteract the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.

    According to the pharmaceutical company, proceeds from the bond will go towards capital investments in the manufacturing and development capacity of medicines and vaccines, including work to address the global COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

    Proceeds will also be used to help manage the company’s environmental impact, and support increased patient access to medicines and vaccines, especially among underserved populations, and strengthen healthcare systems. Among other projects, the bond’s proceeds will be channelled towards drive long-standing strategies to become more energy-efficient, conserve more water, reduce waste and increase recycling associated with our operations and construct “green” buildings.

    Pfizer will publish a report on the allocation of proceeds and the resulting outcomes every year, starting in 2021one year from the date of issuance. Reporting on the use of proceeds will be accompanied by a statement from management confirmed by an examination report from an independent accountant. Sustainalytics reviewed Pfizer’s sustainability bond framework and confirmed it supports various United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the second opinion, “Sustainalytics is of the opinion that the Pfizer Inc. Sustainability Bond Framework is credible, impactful and aligns with the Sustainability Bond Guidelines 2018.”

    “Investing in programs that enhance our environmental stewardship and favourably impact the health of society is a goal Pfizer colleagues feel passionately about,” said Sally Susman, Pfizer Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. “As we work to achieve our purpose– ‘breakthroughs that change patients’ lives’ — how we go about our work is just as important as the medicines and vaccines we work to deliver to those who depend on us.”

    This bond will provide Pfizer with some much-needed support for its sustainability credentials. According to MSCI’s ESG Rating, Pfizer is an ESG “Laggard”, ranking among 32% lowest-rated companies in the pharmaceutical industry. It is rated as a laggard on “product safety & quality” and average on “corporate governance”, “corruption &instability, “human capital development” and “toxic emissions & waste”. MSCI does, however, recognise Pfizer as an ESG Leader when it comes to access to healthcare.

    The SDG bond pays a 2.625% semi-annual coupon and matures on April 1, 2030. According to Pfizer, this is its first-ever sustainability bond and a first for a biopharmaceutical company.

    Image by Coolcaesar via Wikimedia Commons

    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe is an economist with 8 years of experience in macroeconomic and financial analysis for the Economist Intelligence Unit, the UN World Institute for Development Economic Research, the Stockholm School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies. Filipe holds a MSc in European Political Economy from the LSE and a MSc in Economics from the University of London, where he currently is a PhD candidate.

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