Climate and Gender | January 31, 2022

Impact Investment Exchange lists $30 million Women’s Livelihood Bond on the Singapore Exchange

Roodgally Senatus

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, January 31 — Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange has listed WLB4Climate on the Singapore Exchange. Proceeds from the $30 million bond will be invested in social enterprises in South and Southeast Asia that can help women and girls build resilience against climate change.

Investors in the bond, the fourth in IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond series, include Nuveen, MFS Investment Management, Ceniarth, Lærdal, Grieg Investor, Blue Orchard, Kavli Trust and iGravity. 

“Being listed on a public exchange gives the assurances of credibility and transparency, which investors value,” Durreen Shahnaz, founder and CEO of IIX, told ImpactAlpha. “This helps us mobilize more private sector capital and makes the gender-lens investment market a mainstream option for impact investors.”

Also, listing the bond on the exchange gives investors the option to trade the bond if either impact outcomes or financial returns fail to meet their expectations.

Sustainable livelihoods

Since IIX launched the WLB series in 2017, it has raised a total $78 million from global public and private investors to help more than 530,000 low-income women in Southeast Asia find sustainable livelihoods. Proceeds from the earlier bonds have helped provide loans to 14 women-led and focused small enterprises in Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.

The WLB series “supports women working in informal economies that are unable to access financial services, empowering them with access to formal financial services, education and assistance with transitioning to more sustainable practices,” said Shahnaz.

Climate finance

WLB4Climate will provide loans to 10 enterprises in India, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines that can directly impact 475,000 underserved women. The bond will focus on climate-focused enterprises enabling the distribution of affordable clean energy and helping women smallholder farmers build climate resilience.

About two-thirds of the female labor force in low-income countries work in agriculture, a climate-sensitive livelihood, said Shahnaz. “If we invest in women’s economic resilience in emerging markets, we can empower them to transition from victims of climate change to solutions to climate action.”