A group of 65 institutional investors including eight Dutch pension funds has sent a letter to four pharmaceutical companies calling on them to integrate the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines into their executive remuneration policies.

The group of 65 investors, which is led by Dutch institutional investor Achmea Investment Management and has combined assets under management of over $3.5trn (€3.1trn), drafted an Investor Statement which was sent to the presidents of the Executive Remuneration Committees of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Pension fund signatories include Huisartsen (the fund for Dutch general practitioners), Fysiotherapeuten, Bakkers, Vervoer, ING, PME, PGGM and Achmea’s own pension fund. Other European signatories include the UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme, Italy’s Cometa and Sweden’s Folksam.

The investors want the vaccine makers to integrate the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goals to distribute COVID-19 vaccines equally around the world into their executive remuneration strategy in a meaningful, measurable and transparent way.

“We deem the integration of the WHO goals into executive remuneration policies as a salient financial and material step. The manner and timing in which this is done provides important information that enables shareholders to make informed voting decisions on topics regarding executive remuneration and board appointments,” the statement said.

The investors will evaluate the actions taken by the vaccine producers during this year’s AGM season.

A spokesperson for Achmea IM said it will vote against remuneration policies and board appointments if the pharmaceutical companies in question fail to do enough to ensure a fair and equitable vaccine distribution.

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