Afternoon Coffee: Bain invests in EcoVadis; Coronavirus update on world supply chains, pharma, U.S.-China trade deal

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The consultant Bain & Co. announced that it has taken a minority investment in EcoVadis, a provider of business sustainability ratings for global supply chains. The amount wasn’t detailed, but a press release said the investment would help both companies with “the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of their collective clients.”

Bain will add EcoVadis' sustainability ratings into its consulting on corporate strategy, supply chain and procurement. Bain also will incorporate that information for financial investors across fund strategy, diligence and post-acquisition.

"Recognizing that social and environmental challenges are growing, timelines for addressing them are contracting, and companies are moving quickly to adapt, Bain & Co. is committed to our mission of creating value – economic, social, and environmental — for our clients," said Jenny Davis-Peccoud, co-head of Bain's global Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility Practice.

Pierre-Francois Thaler, co-CEO and co-founder of EcoVadis said, "We continue to see executives from all over the world share bold plans for sustainability and ESG transformation. Collaborating with Bain & Co. and CVC equips us to reach, enable and impact more organizations and communities globally."

China coronavirus highlights threat to world's supply chains

In 2003, the last time a China coronavirus broke out, the global economy escaped unscathed. But in the 20 years since, China has grown as a manufacturing hub for the world and its own growing economy and consumers. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at how the world’s supply chains have become more linked to China over those two decades, and why the latest deadly coronavirus outbreak, which has kept workers there at home and slowed commerce, will harm the world economy.

Consider this from the WSJ: “China now accounts for nearly a third of world GDP growth, up from around 3% in 2000. Between 2000 and 2017, the world’s economic exposure to China tripled, according to estimates by the McKinsey Global Institute.

Coronavirus threatens supply of at least 150 prescription drugs

An exclusive report by Axios says the supply of around 150 prescription drugs, including antibiotics may face a shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens. The report quoted two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration. China is a huge supplier of the ingredients used to make drugs that are sold in the U.S.

U.S. Treasury secretary says for now, no impact from virus on U.S.-China trade deal

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he did not expect the coronavirus outbreak to have a material impact on the phase one U.S.-China trade deal, but added that it could change as more data becomes available in coming weeks. Finance officials from the world’s 20 largest economies said Sunday they would keep a close watch on the fast-spreading outbreak.

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