World’s First Orange Bond: Financing Global Gender Equality

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling provided pro bono legal representation to the Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) for the Women’s Livelihood Bond™ 5 (WLB5), the fifth bond in the IIX Women’s Livelihood Bond Series™ (WLB Series). The transaction raised $50 million and is the first sustainable debt issuance that aligns with the Orange Bond Principles, a set of guidelines developed by a coalition of impact investors and other market participants led by IIX to promote gender-lens investing.

The WLB5 uses a blended capital structure to pool together a portfolio of high-impact enterprises that promote gender equality across multiple countries and sectors. It aims to empower 300,000 women and girls across Asia and Africa by building economic resilience and advancing climate action. The WLB5 also has a “green” aspect, with a portion of the proceeds allocated to empowering women to advance climate action. To date, the WLB Series has mobilized $128 million and has met or exceeded all its impact targets, collectively empowering 1.3 million women and girls from emerging markets in Asia and Africa.