April 8th, 2022 – Impact Investment Exchange’s (IIX) Women’s Livelihood Bond™ (WLB) Series wins Environmental Finance’s 2022 Bond Awards for Innovation. The award recognizes IIX for its use of proceeds in the latest issuance in the WLB™ Series, the US$30M WLB4Climate, which is set to impact an estimated 500,000 women and girls across South and Southeast Asia, transforming them into agents of climate action.
The US$150 million WLB™ Series is an innovative debt securities that disburses funds to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) creating sustainable livelihoods for over 3 million women across developing countries. While the series has supported women-focused enterprises since 2017, WLB4Climate has a third of its proceeds going to support women to mitigate and adapt to climate change in India, Indonesia, Cambodia, and the Philippines.
Founder and CEO of IIX, Durreen Shahnaz said, “We are leveling up the impact of the Women’s Livelihood Bond™ (WLB) Series with WLB4Climate. Environmental Finance’s award for innovation was made possible by our unwavering belief that women who regularly uplift their communities and countries will now prove that they give back exponentially to the planet as well.”
South and Southeast Asia are amongst the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change and UN data shows that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women.1 Women in the region rely heavily on natural resources with close to 60 percent of the female labour force in the region engaged in agriculture. Women facing gender discrimination are often challenged with access to financial, educational, and social capital.
The WLB™ Series is transitioning women from victims of climate change to agents of climate action. The Climate portion of the Bond proceeds either transitions women to clean and affordable energy or increases their climate adaptive capacity by equipping small-scale female farmers with capital to better respond to climate-related environmental shocks and stresses.
With women in Asia 70% less likely than men on average participate in the labour force,2 the WLB™ Series invests in women’s financial inclusion to empower them to remain in the workforce by facilitating financing for basic necessities with Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) loans and funding their micro-businesses.
To date, IIX has launched four SGX-listed bonds mobilizing a total of US$78 million, through the only gender-lens social bonds to be listed on a public stock exchange. IIX’s inaugural Orange Bond Initiative™, launched in March, leads a coalition informing the world’s first asset class to financing gender equality, with a mission to empower 100 million women and girls worldwide through unlocking US$10 billion by 2030. The next bond in the WLB series will inaugurate the first orange bond issuance.
Read more about it here.
Read more on the WLB series here
More information on the Orange Bond Initiative
1. Gender and Climate Change. Global Gender and Climate Alliance, UNDP. 2016
2. Women in the Workforce: An Unmet Potential in Asia and Pacific. Asian Development Bank. 2015.