Notable ESG scores:
Human Rights & Community Relations (+17),
Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion (+4)
Supply Chain Management (+4)
Product Quality & Safety (-5)
The food and nutrition side of Bayer’s business distinguishes the company from its pharma rivals, and its ESG efforts and successes reflect that. Bayer’s sustainability mission “Health for All, Hunger for None” encompasses its pharma and over-the-counter divisions, as well as its agriculture business, which was bolstered by its buyout of Monsanto.
The company recently won recognition from the United Nations’ Public Private Partnership for its Better Life Farming program which supports smallholder farmers in Indonesia, India and Bangladesh.
But Bayer was also recognized for efforts in its consumer health and pharma division. The company earned high scores on human rights and community relations, thanks to a newly launched nutrient program. Its Nutrient Gap Initiative run through Bayer Consumer Health, has a goal to combat malnutrition by providing access to vitamins and minerals to 50 million people in underserved communities per year by 2030.
Alva also noted Bayer’s effort to support CureVac’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate. In February, Bayer announced it would help manufacture CureVac’s vaccine, while also helping in R&D, regulatory affairs, supply chain management and possibly even marketing.
On the negative side, Bayer’s product-safety score suffered because of its Monsanto acquisition and the much-litigated herbicide Roundup. Bayer was dinged for “a failure to warn shareholders sufficiently of the risks from unresolved lawsuits against Bayer’s acquisition target Monsanto,” Alva researchers wrote.
Bayer plans to defend itself, and although it had set aside $2 billion for lawsuits, a U.S. federal judge recently rejected a proposed settlement.
After the setback, Bayer announced a five-part plan to deal with legal and commercial challenges, including rethinking the residential market for Roundup and possibly replacing the product’s active ingredient glyphosate.
Bayer is also being sued along with other big crop chemical makers by wholesalers and retailers for allegedly violating anti-trust laws by inflating prices of crop inputs for farmers.
In pharma, Bayer was penalized on its affordability score, as its solid tumor cancer drug Vitrakvi made the list of 20 most expensive prescription drugs in 2021, with a list price of $32,800.