The Impact Investment Exchange’s Women’s Livelihood Bond Series was the world’s first gender-lens impact investing security listed on a stock exchange and has since gone on to raise $78 million in blended capital.
It said that by addressing the three dimensions of risk-return-impact it has “created a new kind of financial instrument that delivers stable returns and sustainable impact to investors”.
It claims to have supported one million underserved women and girls in south and southeast Asia to transition to more sustainable livelihoods.
Issuances have scaled up with each bond, with the recent WLB4Climate bond raising $30 million. This is its largest issue to date.
The bonds target an increasing number of UN Sustainable Development Goals, with the core objective of unlocking large-scale private capital to drive the gender equality goal.
The proceeds have been used to make loans to 21 underlying borrowers which have passed through social screening. These are women-focused enterprises across the region that are positively benefitting underserved communities.
The portfolio includes enterprises such as sustainable agriculture entities, ethical garment manufacturers, or clean water and sanitation facility developers.
They have also provided loans to microfinance institutions that assist women in increasing their socio-economic resilience. This includes assisting home/land ownership or providing access to affordable credit.
The first bond’s proceeds were used for projects in Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam, directly impacting over 453,000 women. Later projects expanded into the agriculture sector and impacted Indonesia and Sri Lanka as well.
The latest and largest issuance in the series plans to impact 500,000 woman and girls and will enter the clean energy and skills development sectors.
Environmental Finance Bond Awards judges said the series showed “several great examples of significant positive impact”.