The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation divested its investment portfolio of McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Exxon Mobil stock worth a total of $2.7 billion in the final quarter of 2014, Lauren Streib of Bloomberg reported on 17 February.
A spokesperson for the Gates Foundation told Bloomberg the trust doesn’t comment on investment decisions or holdings. The foundation’s 2013 investment policy states that in instructing their investment managers, the Gateses consider ‘issues beyond corporate profits, including the values that drive the foundation’s work’ and ‘areas in which the endowment will not invest, such as companies whose profit model is centrally tied to corporate activity that they find egregious’.
Last June, the trust sold its entire stake in G4S Plc, a British security services provider that was criticized for its contracts with prisons in Israel.
Alongside this measure of disinvestment, the Gates Foundation has announced a $52 million investment in the German pharmaceutical firm CureVac, the philanthropy’s largest such business stake and a reflection of its growing emphasis on using investments as well as grants to back the development of new medical treatments, Forbes wrote on 3 March.
CureVac is pioneering technologies to use mRNA – a messenger chemical that carries information from genes to the parts of cells that make proteins – as a basis for drugs and vaccines that, in effect, instruct the body to produce disease defences.