Wolk added that these discussions will help Johnson & Johnson determine pricing for its vaccine, which the US drugmaker intends to sell on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic.”The more demand we have the better and lower that cost would potentially be,” Wolk said.The company aims to begin manufacturing the vaccine later this year, depending on its success in clinical trials, he added.In its Thursday earnings call, J&J said it plans to start its first human trials of its COVID-19 vaccine on July 22 and could kick off late-stage studies as soon as September.Topics : The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would focus on allocating any vaccine it acquired to developing countries, Wolk added. Reuters previously reported that J&J is also in talks with the European Union.”Nothing has been finalized yet. We continue to have those discussions,” Wolk told Reuters. “People from the countries and the organizations we mentioned want to lock in a certain minimum level of capacity that they would get.”Wolk said that the “general construct” of the discussions is likely to take a form similar to AstraZeneca Plc’s deal with the US government, which provided $1.2 billion in drug development aid to the U.K. drugmaker in exchange for locking in a delivery of around 300 million doses for fall 2020.AstraZeneca has also signed a contract with France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands for up to 400 million doses of its potential vaccine. It has also partnered with non-profits to ensure distribution to developing countries. Johnson & Johnson is in talks with the government of Japan and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation about locking up allocations of its potential COVID-19 vaccine as it prepares to kick off human trials, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk told Reuters in an interview.More than a hundred vaccines are under development to try and stop the COVID-19 pandemic, and drugmakers including J&J are working to ramp up supply for their vaccines in the face of unprecedented demand.J&J has already agreed to prioritize an allocation to the United States as part of its funding agreement with the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Wolk said.
Much pension fund regulation operates on a “disclose if you consider ESG” basis, giving the impression stewardship and ESG integration are optional, according to a report on responsible investment regulation by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).The organisation responsible for the UN-backed principles said the report found that investors were still sceptical about whether responsible investment regulation was driving “real change”, even though they believed some of it was useful in terms of increasing awareness of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.The report has forewords from high-profile politicians and regulators, such as Valdis Dombrovskis, the financial services European commissioner with responsibility for the EU executive’s Capital Markets Union (CMU) project, and Frank Elderson, executive director of the Dutch pension fund supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).The report is the outcome of an analysis of almost 300 policy instruments covering pension fund and corporate disclosure rules, with the authors also deciding to assess the impact of voluntary stewardship codes. The PRI also carried out interviews with policymakers, investors and stock exchanges across the world, focusing on investors’ perceptions about the impact of regulation on investment practice.The report said it was “the first global study to analyse the impact of responsible investment-related public policy initiatives”.In a statement, the PRI said “the analysis suggests that, while regulation is having an impact, regulatory frameworks aren’t fully aligned with sustainable development. Underpinning this is a belief that governments are failing to clearly signal the importance of ESG issues.”The authors of the report note that few of the “highest-profile government sustainability commitments […] articulate the role investors are expected to play”, and that they therefore excluded these.Out of “thousands of individual environmental or social-protection regulations” that exist around the world, their analysis focused on those with an investment component.The report said “many regulations fail to send a strong enough signal and position responsible investment as a voluntary activity, or conflate financially material ESG issues with beneficiary preferences”.It examined corporate disclosure regulations and investor regulation.With respect to the former, it found that government-led mandatory ESG reporting improved corporate risk management and said voluntary disclosures were “a useful stepping stone towards more formal rules”.Pension fund regulation and stewardship codes are correlated with better ESG risk management by companies, but “we can’t prove that regulation is responsible for the result”, according to the PRI report.Problematic poor policy designThe report picked out some shortcomings in policy design – for example, stating that much pension fund regulation operates on a “disclose if you consider ESG” basis, and that financially material ESG issues were conflated with the ethical preference of members.“While it’s right that regulations give flexibility to funds to respond to their members’ ethical preferences, this is separate and distinct from the requirement to consider financially materially ESG issues,” said the report.The way in which rules are worded can also have an impact by potentially giving investors “easy opt-outs”, according to the PRI.This could happen if terms are poorly defined or phrases such as “give consideration to” are used without guidance on what this means.Nathan Fabian, director of policy and research at the PRI, said: “Too often, the drafting of ESG regulation treats ESG as an optional add-on, which investors can ignore if they so choose.”The PRI also said it found little monitoring of policy with ESG-related clauses, and that, even in those markets where individual investors were held to account, investors “remained extremely sceptical of the impact – they didn’t feel they’d seen their peers and competitors change behaviour”.The report adds: “Interviewees openly questioned whether ESG issues were a priority for the government, suggesting ESG clauses were introduced just to respond to pressure from civil society – or even debated whether the clause in question existed.”The PRI is calling on policymakers – which it distinguishes from regulators – to “make the crucial link between sustainable development and the finance industry”.As part of that, they should “build the evidence base on investor practice” – that is, collect and publish more information about how investors contribute to or undermine sustainable investment objectives.
Kwesi Appiah has named the team that will start Ghana’s final group match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.The Black Stars take on Guinea-Bissau in Suez this evening, with a place in the Round of 16 at stake. Black Stars need a victory to qualify after two straight draws against Benin and Cameroon. READ: Guinea-Bissau v Ghana: Kick-off time, team news, head-to-head, form and moreAppiah has made four changes to the team that drew 0-0 with Cameroon, with Joseph Aidoo, Kwabena Owusu, Samuel Owusu and John Boye all starting. For Aidoo it’s his first appearance at the tournament, taking the place of Jonathan Mensah who failed to recover from a knock he picked up against the Indomitable Lions. Samuel Owusu and Kwabena Owusu have been rewarded with their first starts following the impressive showing on Saturday. John Boye, who missed Cameroon game due to suspension, has replaced suspended Kassim Nuhu.Kwadwo Asamoah has been dropped to the bench after delivering a below-par performance.The seven players to keep their place are Richard Ofori, Baba Rahman, Andy Yiadom Mubarak Wakaso, Thomas Partey, Jordan Ayew and Andre Ayew.Ghana Line-up: Richard Ofori; Andy Yiadom, Baba Rahman, John Boye, Joseph Aidoo, Mubarak Wakaso, Thomas Partey; Samuel Owusu, Kwabena Owusu, Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew.