The world’s first gender-lens investing asset class by and for the Global South and the 99%. 

March 8th, SINGAPORE – Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) has launched the Orange Bond Initiative™, a global coalition to create the world’s first gender-lens investing asset class by and for the Global South and the 99%. The Initiative will mobilize the multi-trillion bond market to empower 100 million women and girls as solutions to achieve the UN’s 17 SDGs and build a more inclusive, climate-resilient future for all. Orange is the color of UN SDG 5: Gender Equality –  and the Orange Bonds are expected to unlock US$10 billion for gender-lens investing by 2030.

The Orange Bond Initiative founding signatories represent a global group from private and public sectors, across the sustainable finance ecosystem including, the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), global asset manager Nuveen, among others. The group aims to create a set of standards for gender bonds, catalyze capital through innovative debt securities for gender-lens investing, and collaborate with practitioners by equipping them with data analytics, market intelligence, and training to build a gender-empowered financial system.

Founder and CEO of IIX, Durreen Shahnaz said, “We will not stop innovating finance until the world recognizes the power of investing in women as the greatest untapped economic and social accelerator of our time. The Orange Bond Initiative™  will lay the foundation for a gender-equal financial system that includes the 99% and the Global South. Despite important progress, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis have jointly exacerbated the regressive effects on gender equality and the eradication of the global gender gap is still set back by a century. In 2022, IIX will address these issues head-on by issuing the first ‘Orange Bond’ based on the award-winning IIX Women’s Livelihood Bond Series structure.” IIX will also partner with other Steering Committee members to design a Sovereign Orange Bond for Africa.

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Christine Clarke said “As we look to a future economic recovery from the pandemic, women must not be an afterthought. Inclusive growth builds on leadership from emerging markets, and innovative financial instruments can put women at the centre. Australia commends IIX for bringing together the Orange Bond Initiative to realise our shared vision of economic growth and women’s empowerment.”

Executive Secretary of the UNCDF, Preeti Sinha said, “Over 150 million women and girls could beat poverty by 2030 with a comprehensive strategy to achieve gender equality by improving access to financing. The Orange Bond Initiative is a step in making this a reality and empowering women in the last mile to accelerate progress on all 17 of the UN SDGs.”

“Similar to how the Green Bond Principles built momentum for climate investments, the Orange Bonds will create the robust framework necessary to guide capital towards the gender-lens investing movement at scale,” said Stephen M. Liberatore, CFA, Head of ESG/Impact – Global Fixed Income at Nuveen. “This new asset class will help mobilize billions so that we go beyond talking about gender-lens investing to actually committing capital towards it.”

The Orange Bond Initiative will complement and cut across existing sustainable investment initiatives, such as ICMA Green and Social Bonds Principles and the 2X Initiative, to supercharge the 2030 Agenda using a gender lens. The benefits to women participating equally in all spheres of life are unparalleled with a potential $28 trillion injection to global GDP left untapped by not advancing women’s equality to its full potential. The Orange Bond Initiative will amplify this effect when women participate in the economy as agents of climate action and COVID-recovery.

The founding signatories call on organizations and individuals who can help to drive the movement by singing the Orange Bond Pledge to indicate support and subsequently be invited to participate in quarterly round tables to shape the Orange Bond ecosystem.

Read more about it here.