Donald Trump promises that a vaccine for COVID-19 is going to become available very, very soon. It's his ace in the hole to fend off Joe Biden.
Fox News has suggested that a COVID-19 vaccine debuting in the Fall could tip the race for the White House back toward Trump.
A vaccine bail-out of Team Trump would be the ultimate irony, considering the administration’s failure to take COVID-19 seriously in January after reports of its spread in China is why the US has lost more people (135,000-plus) than any other country in the world.
While I doubt that even a narcissist like Trump could stoop so low as to claim credit for a COVID-19 vaccine, a coronavirus cure would be a PR bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry.
The New York Times has reported that about 150 COVID-19 vaccines are under development. Other companies are working to get supply chains in place for the manufacturing and distribution of a vaccine. Cooperation among fierce competitors is the order of the day.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, drug companies were saddled with the image of being greedy price-gougers, responsible for such outrages as the opioid epidemic.
The Financial Times editorialized on July 12 that the pandemic, “has offered the industry a shot of redemption—both with the general in public and in the eyes of markets.”
The pharma sector has a chance to “shine a light on both its current societal condition and past live-saving work that was overshadowed by episodes of bad behaviors.”
It can’t afford to blow it.
SEC Commissioner Elad Roisman worries about “greenwashing” when it comes to sustainable investing.
In his speech at the Society of Corporate Governance, Roisman called for improved disclosure of investment funds branded with environmental, social and governance labels.
He talked about the extent to which retail investors “may be prioritizing environmental or social goals" above the fund’s economic returns. “To me, it seems likely that a significant portion of those who invest in ESG funds want to 'do well' while 'doing good'—seems like a win/win,” he said.
Roisman brought up greenwashing, which occurs when asset managers convey a false impression to retail investors that a given product is environmentally friendly.
He saw an ad for a “green bond fund” that advertised an impressive annual environmental impact: avoiding millions of metric tons of CO2 emissions; reducing air pollutants by hundreds of metric tons; and generating hundreds of millions of mega-watts of renewable energy.
A footnote in the fine print description, though, told a different story. It calculated the total green impact of every project that the investment manager had invested in, rather than just the one fund being advertised.
“Whether you are supportive of, opposed to, or neutral to ESG-focused investing strategies, I think many would be interested in such disclosures and whether these asset managers’ actions match their rhetoric,” said Roisman.