Environmental Finance's Sustainable Debt Awards 2024

Social bond of the year - supranational: IFC

In November 2023, International Finance Corporation (IFC) issued a three-year social bond, raising $1.5 billion to support low-income communities in emerging markets.

The transaction marks IFC's largest-ever social bond – which it reports received its largest-ever orderbook – and was the biggest US dollar social bond issued by a supranational in 2023.

The issuance attracted a diverse range of investors, including central banks, official institutions, commercial banks, and asset managers. Unprecedented demand resulted in $6.7 billion in orders and prompted IFC to raise the issuance amount from $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

The bond was priced at an equivalent of 8.2 basis points over the three-year US Treasury, representing the tightest US Treasury spread in this tenor for a sovereign, supranational agency issuer in 2023.

Proceeds from the bonds fund a range of social projects which include: affordable basic infrastructure (e.g. clean drinking water, sewers, sanitation, transport, energy); access to essential services (e.g. education and vocational training, healthcare, financing and financial services); affordable housing; women-owned micro, small and medium-sized businesses who lack access to finance; and companies that incorporate people at the "base of the economic pyramid" into their value chain; as well as food security.

IFC has been issuing social bonds since it launched its Social Bond Program in 2017, with over $8 billion issued through 93 social bonds and across 14 different currencies.

The social bond programme aligns with the Social Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).

Deal highlights

Issuer: IFC
Size: $1.5 billion
Maturity: 15 January 2027
Coupon: 4.375%
Use of proceeds: Access to essential services, affordable basic infrastructure, affordable housing, employment generation including through the potential effect of SME financing and microfinance, food security, socioeconomic advancement and empowerment
Lead managers: BNP Paribas, TD Securities, Wells Fargo
Credit rating: Aaa/AAA (Moody's/S&P) all stable