Leading international law firm Clifford Chance has advised Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays pro bono as Placement Agents on the fifth issuance of Impact Investment Exchange (IIX)’s US$50 million bond offering under its Women’s Livelihood Bond™ (WLB) Series. Closing of WLB5 marks the world’s first sustainable debt security in the market issued in compliance with the Orange Bond Principles™ and the first multi-continent bond in the Series.
Orange Bonds – which draws its name from the orange hue of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 5: Gender Equality – is a new class of sustainable financial instruments that aims to eliminate gender bias, improve women’s equality and living standards by mobilising new sources of capital for women’s empowerment and building a gender-empowered financing system. The latest offering by IIX’s WLB Series, which has mobilised US$128 million to date, will look to create livelihood and empower about 300,000 women across Asia and Africa.
Partner Gareth Deiner and counsel Ying Chiang Chong led the deal, with support from associates Michelle Lee, Didi Hu and trainee associates Joel Sherard and Daniel Ng.
Tokyo Co-Managing Partner Leng-Fong Lai, senior consultant James Booth and senior associate Jason Hitch acted on behalf of the trustee, the Bank of New York Mellon.
Gareth commented, “We are proud to bring our leading global capital markets expertise to advise on the world’s first Orange Bond, which represents a strategic inflection of the global sustainable financing market to adopt new and unique ways of blending ‘orange’ and ‘green’ themes towards accelerating the global ESG agenda.”
The proceeds of the WLB5 will be used to make loans to high-impact enterprises in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and the Philippines that operate across six sectors: microfinance, SME lending, clean energy, sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, and affordable housing. The WLB5 also complies with the ICMA Sustainability Bond Guidelines, the ASEAN Social Bond Standards, and the UN SDG Impact Standards.
Leng-Fong added, “WLB5 continues to push the boundaries of financial markets and sets the standard for future Orange Bond transactions to come. Clifford Chance previously provided pro bono advice on IIX’s Women’s Livelihood Bonds™ 3 (WLB3) issued in 2020, and we are proud to be at the forefront of advising on novel, market-first transactions that reflect our commitment towards social responsibility.”