Julie Becker, CEO of LuxSE; Credit: LuxSE

The Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Bonds SA, sponsored by Symbiotics Investments, have announced the display on the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX) of an INR 244.6 million (approximately €2.9 million) gender-focused social bond from the Luxembourg-based platform for impact investing.

According to LuxSE, 2022 was a key year for gender finance, which saw an increase in gender-focused bond issuance and the launch of a specific gender-focused bond flag on LGX. As this important year draws to a close, LuxSE and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Bonds (Symbiotics Investments) have announced the display on LGX of this new INR-denominated gender-focused social bond from the Luxembourg-based platform for impact investing. The proceeds from the bond will be dedicated exclusively to providing loans to female entrepreneurs in India.

The bond, which is the world’s first INR-denominated gender-focused social bond, aims to promote gender equality in India and is expected to be the first in a series of such gender-focused bonds to be arranged by Symbiotics Investments, admitted on LuxSE and displayed with the gender-focused bond flag on LGX. 

"We are delighted to welcome this gender-focused bond on our exchange. When we started to highlight gender-focused bonds on LGX earlier this year, our aim was to promote gender finance, help reorient capital flows towards projects that advance gender equality across the world and make it easier for investors to identify investment opportunities that contribute to the empowerment of women and girls. With its specific focus on women entrepreneurs in India, this bond issuance arranged by Symbiotics Investments marks a very important moment in the development of gender finance", said Julie Becker, CEO of LuxSE.

The bond is anticipated to generate approximately 6,000 loans to female entrepreneurs in India and will contribute to advancing women’s empowerment in the region.

"We are very happy to have arranged the world’s first INR-denominated gender-focused bond admitted on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. We are excited to be able to partner with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange which has been at the forefront of facilitating social bonds – on this key development objective. We consider this the starting point of our increasing focus on gender balance social bonds", commented Yvan Renaud, CEO of Symbiotics Investments.

In addition to bringing its gender-focused bond to LGX, which is the world’s leading platform for sustainable securities, Symbiotics Investments will also avail of the LGX Assistance Services to establish leading gender reporting practices. As part of this agreement, the sustainable finance expert team at LGX will provide insights into best practices in the field of gender reporting and assist Symbiotics Investments in integrating the gender dimension in its social bond framework.

In May 2022, LuxSE and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen their cooperation and promote joint initiatives to advance financing for gender equality and women's empowerment. The MoU sets an agenda of joint work to advance sustainable debt for gender equality and promote gender lens investing – an initiative that is continuing to develop with the display of this new gender-focused bond from Symbiotics Investments on LGX.

"At UN Women, we urge all financial market participants to look at the variety of gender gaps that they can help reduce. Through bonds that pursue gender equality objectives, issuers, investors and exchanges like the Luxembourg Stock Exchange can work together to help resolve the fact that women and men do not have equal opportunities, equal pay, equal access to higher paying jobs, equally share the burden of unpaid care work or can live a life free from physical and sexual violence, including harassment", said Anita Bhatia, UN Women Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General.