Experience level: 
Intermediate
Intended Audience: 
Faculty

Nestle and Helping Developing Nations During COVID: Comparing The Common Good to Four Other Ethical Frameworks

Nestle and Helping Developing Nations During COVID: Comparing The Common Good to Four Other Ethical Frameworks According to the World Bank in August 2021, 1.1% of people living in low-income countries have received [not] even one dose of a vaccine (Banerjee & Blake, 2021). Currently, Nestle is participating with the United Nations and other global organizations to bring relief to developing nations during Covid. This global outreach appears to be driven by their corporate ethical values. Many people have had easy access to the vaccine in the United States, but what about people living in developing countries? Online sources reveal Nestle’s involvement with Covid in developing nations. In addition, Nestle employees have attested to Nestle’s culture and ethical values. What is the problem? As seen in the last three years, people are continuing to die COVID in developing nations (There Have Been 7m-13m Excess Deaths, 2021). While first world nations have seen a decrease of cases, the virus in developing nations continues to spread. (Third Wave of COVID-19, n.d.) What is the cause of the rise in cases? First, we see that a limited number of people have access to COVID vaccine in developing nations. One of the main reasons for this is that the TRIPS Waiver is stopping the less-developed nations from receiving the vaccine. The definition of TRIPS Waiver is a set of intellectual property rights protections for technologies needed to prevent, contain, or treat COVID-19, including vaccines and vaccine-related technologies (Gupta and Namboodiri, 2021). Currently, the EU is opposing a waiver to TRIPS (IPStars, 2021). “Proponents of the waiver argue that IP rights hinder the urgent scale-up of vaccine production, as there are vaccine manufacturing resources which cannot be utilized because of IP barriers. They further argue that innovation surrounding COVID-19 relief was driven by public funding and government support rather than IP rights.” (Proponents of Text-Based, 2021). Opponents point to IP as an incentive for innovation and argue that IP is only one of many factors affecting the manufacture and distribution of vaccines. They further argue that there is a lack of evidence showing that IP rights act as any barrier to access to COVID-19 related medications and technologies. The proposed waiver currently faces opposition by the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and South Korea.” (Devex.com, 2021) A second reason why developing nations don’t have access to the COVID vaccine is because wealthy nations are using the majority of available vaccines (Psaledakis, 2021). In general, vaccines are expensive and only wealthy nations can afford them. Furthermore, wealthier nations have bought more than they need (Banerjee & Blake, 2021). At the moment, the United Nations (UN) and World Bank are being asked to be involved (Banerjee & Blake, 2021). Activists around the world are protesting outside of pharmaceutical companies to encourage organizations to donate more vaccines to those in need (Brackley, 2021). In addition, there is a lack of education around vaccines, social distancing, and handwashing that is making the situation worse and where aid from Nestle or other organizations can also help. (Banerjee & Blake, 2021) What are the solutions? What is right? Possible solutions will be reviewed to include the contribution of Nestle to COVID relief. Solutions will be reviewed in light of the ethical frameworks such as the Common Good, Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics (Rights/Duties), Virtue Ethics, and Justice/Fairness.