Imagine the scene: at this very moment, a woman is being exposed to toxic fumes in her home. Another is engaged in the time consuming and dangerous daily search for fuel, taking her time away from more productive economic activities and often leading to environmental degradation in her homeland. The cause of such hazards? The basic and necessary act of cooking meals for the family. Sadly, such scenes are commonplace, as millions of households around the world still use traditional cooking practices, which are inefficient and a health hazard. It is estimated that over four million people die prematurely every year due to indoor air pollution, and women are disproportionately affected by the threat.
Setting out to boldly address the situation, IIX is proud to announce its latest offering to the development of the Impact Investing space: The Women’s Impact Bond (WIB). Launched officially at the recent Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting, the WIB represents IIX’s commitment to the CGI. CGI member commitments address some of the world’s most pressing issues. Here at IIX we have chosen to create a bond focused on the needs of women, given that they are one of the most important groups in the equitable and sustainable development equation.
Many organizations – including both NGOs and Social Enterprises— do recognize the importance of focusing on women in development. Unfortunately, existing funding channels fall drastically short of the needs. The WIB was created to change this and provide impact organizations with the capital they need up-front to support women in the most vulnerable communities today.
The WIB will raise US$10 million through a bond which will be listed on our Impact Exchange. IIX has identified the market for clean cook-stoves as an ideal investment for the WIB. Many clean cook-stove businesses already have a proven business model, empowering women by improving their disposable income, social capital and health, but lack the funds to scale. The WIB is a pooled fixed income security issued by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) created by IIX. The capital raised by the WIB will be deployed as loans to a selected group of cookstove related businesses, and the bond will have a maturity of 4 to 5 years. Pooling together the borrowers makes the WIB very exciting, as it enables the enterprises to access an affordable source of capital that would otherwise be unavailable to them. As a listed security, the bond will also allow retail investors to connect with these businesses for the very first time. The WIB is expected to impact on the lives of over 525,000 women over its tenure.
IIX will work together with its partners to develop and list the WIB. These partners include the international law firm Shearman & Sterling (legal support for the bond development), the UPenn Center for High Impact Philanthropy (provide independent reports on the WIB) and UNCDF (support IIX on the scoping of the cookstove market and underlying borrowers). IIX is also in advanced discussions with established investment banks, international development agencies, a development bank and a ratings agency on partnerships related to other aspects of the WIB.
The success of such an innovative and pioneering bond will require the support of organizations who share IIX’s vision and drive to support women. IIX is seeking such organizations as partners for the WIB. Selected partners will be instrumental in delivering the first Women’s Impact bond to the world, and enabling retail investors to connect with millions of women beneficiaries and their families through investments in clean cook stove social enterprises.
If you would like to learn more about how you can be a part of this exciting new CGI commitment, you can register for updates from the Impact exchange, including the latest news on the WIB here: http://impactexchange.asiaiix.com/investor-contact-page/
For organizations that would like to partner with IIX on the WIB, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Srina Patel
Business Development, IIX