IIX’s WLB2 is one of 12 investments in the Zero Gap Fund, an impact investing collaboration between The Rockefeller Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Singapore | January 16, 2024 — Impact Investment Exchange (IIX)’s Women’s Livelihood Bond™ 2 (WLB2), Asia-Pacific’s multi-country, multi-sector Orange Bond has fully matured. This milestone marks the completion of a US$12 million issuance with a 4-year tenure and a 4% coupon, qualifying as both an Orange Bond and ICMA Social Bond. Aligned with 12 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, WLB2 has significantly empowered the sustainable livelihoods of over 250,000 underserved women and girls across Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the WLB2 exhibited remarkable resilience, ensuring the timely fulfillment of all coupon and principal payments, attesting to its transparent and impactful nature.

“The maturation of IIX’s WLB2 is a testament to the power of gender-lens investing to create positive social and environmental impact,” said Prof. Durreen Shahnaz, Founder and CEO of IIX. “We are proud to have pioneered this journey, growing the WLB™ Series from strength to strength and we look forward to continuing to create positive social and environmental impact through innovative financial solutions.”

WLB2 boasts a formidable coalition of partners, including the Zero Gap Fund (ZGF), an impact investing collaboration between The Rockefeller Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Standard Chartered Bank, Latham & Watkins, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, and UN Women. These partners collaborated with existing supporters from Women’s Livelihood Bond™ 1 (WLB1), such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), DBS Bank, ANZ, Shearman & Sterling, Hogan Lovells.

“On behalf of The Rockefeller Foundation, a founding partner of the Zero Gap Fund, we are proud of the deep impact generated by IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bond™ 2 (WLB2) through its support of women-owned businesses in Southeast Asia,” said Maria Kozloski, Senior Vice President of Innovative Finance at The Rockefeller Foundation. “This work underscores the Foundation’s dedication to harnessing innovative financial instruments for driving positive social change.”

Accoladed with prestigious honors, including the United Nations Climate Action Award, the P4G State-of-the-Art Partnership Award, Financial Times Legal Award, Tokyo Financial Award, and the UN Women Asia-Pacific Women’s Empowerment Principals (WEPs) Awards, the WLB™ Series has firmly established itself as a frontrunner in impactful financial initiatives.

“The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is proud of the maturation of the Women’s Livelihood Bond 2 and pleased to be a longstanding supporter of the Women’s Livelihood Bond™ (WLB) Series,” said DFC Chief Operating Officer Agnes Dasewicz. “The WLB Series is an important initiative that bridges the financing gap and fosters global economic growth, especially for women and girls in emerging markets.”

In tandem with WLB2’s maturation, IIX proudly unveiled the recent launch of Women’s Livelihood Bond™ 6 (WLB6), which is distinguished as the largest Orange Bond to date. This announcement emphasizes IIX’s unwavering commitment to expanding the Orange Movement™ with a focus on impactful transactions.

“The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) takes pride in its continued involvement since Women’s Livelihood Bond™ 1 (WLB1),” said Linda McElroy, Deputy Mission Director at USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia. “The successful maturation of WLB2 is a testament to the strength of collaboration in fostering sustainable development. We remain unwavering in our commitment to supporting initiatives that empower women and uplift communities.”

Reflecting on the success of WLB2, the anticipation of continued growth and impact with the launch of WLB6 is palpable. The maturation of WLB2 signifies a profound milestone in gender-lens impact investing, setting the stage for a future where finance becomes an unwavering force for positive change, uplifting women, girls, and gender minorities across the globe.

“WLB2 is a testament to the success of the WLB Series in shaping the gender-lens impact investing narrative. This series continues to forge new frontiers with the pricing of the latest Women’s Livelihood Bond 6 in December 2023,” said Sarah Ng, Director, Debt Capital Markets, ANZ. “ANZ is proud to participate in this innovative transaction which helps propel the Orange Movement’s mission forward. We’re committed to supporting meaningful change and fostering economic empowerment for women across Southeast Asia.”

The WLB2 is the second investment from the ZGF to reach full maturation. The first, Blue Forest, occurred in 2023 and helped finance restoration efforts on a 15,000 acre planning area on the Tahoe National Forest to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. As of 2022, the ZGF mobilized more than $795 million in private finance toward a diverse portfolio of high-impact investment strategies.