Exchange in Focus: LuxSE and UN Women join forces to advance gender finance
10 May 2022
Reducing the gender gapThe MoU sets an agenda of joint work to advance sustainable debt for gender equality and promote gender lens investing. The overarching goal of these efforts is to mobilise capital flows to meaningfully contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular to SDG 5, “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls.” Ms. Anita Bhatia, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women commented: "Today's partnership really matters because we are bringing innovation to the area of gender equality. I am so pleased that we are going to be able to build on the long-standing partnership that we have with Luxembourg to really push the envelope and to try to make substantive and visible change in the lives of women by unleashing the power of finance." LuxSE and UN Women will work together to promote sustainable debt instruments which raise financing for projects advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment across the world. The guidelines issued by UN Women, the International Capital Market Association and the International Finance Corporation in November 2021 entitled Bonds to bridge the gender gap: A practitioner’s guide to using sustainable debt for gender equality serve as a framework for these efforts. LuxSE commits to fostering awareness of gender-focused bonds in Luxembourg and beyond, especially among issuers of sustainable securities and impact-conscious investors, with the objective of becoming the reference exchange for gender-focused bonds. UN Women and LuxSE are committed to making this collaboration a turning point in the way gender equality and women's empowerment is financed globally. The CEO of LuxSE, Ms. Julie Becker stated: “By entering this MoU with UN Women, we commit to contributing to gender equality and women’s empowerment by better linking finance and gender. In many parts of the world, women are still excluded from economic activities and financial services. If we want to reduce the gender gap in the global economy, we need to make sure women have access to education, opportunities and financing. This is why gender finance and gender lens investing are so important.”
Highlighting gender-focused bondsLuxSE is home to the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX), one of the world’s largest platforms for sustainable securities, encompassing more than 1,300 green, social, sustainability and sustainability-linked bonds, raising a total of EUR 693 billion for specific green and social projects and sustainable development across the world. As part of its new commitments to linking gender and finance, LuxSE is now flagging sustainable debt instruments displayed on the Luxembourg Green Exchange which raise financing for projects advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. By highlighting securities that allocate all or a portion of their financing to concrete projects and strategies that contribute to gender equality objectives, LuxSE makes it easier for investors to identify gender-focused bonds. Gender-focused bonds are social, sustainability or sustainability-linked bonds which allocate all or part of their proceeds or set clear KPIs related to advancing gender equality in their issuer documentation and carry post-issuance reporting attesting to the issuer’s concrete actions. In addition to flagging gender-focused bonds on LGX, as part of the collaboration with UN Women, LuxSE will also leverage the LGX Academy to specifically promote and raise awareness of gender finance, coordinate work with relevant institutions in Luxembourg to better link finance and gender as well as promote superior gender equality practices within the exchange itself. To learn more about gender-focused bonds on LGX, visit: https://www.bourse.lu/gender-focused-bonds
How exchanges can advance gender equalityThe initiatives to advance financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment is one of several action areas highlighted in the new report from the UN SSE and IFC released new guidance on 'How exchanges can advance gender equality'. This work was developed in strategic collaboration with UN Women and the SSE Gender Equality Advisory Group made up of experts around the world. This SSE-IFC guidance identifies three broad areas where exchanges can play a role in advancing gender equality: the promotion of gender-focused and/or gender-aware products and services; the strengthening of market performance on gender equality; and leading by example through internal exchange actions. Each of these broad areas has further detailed actions that the SSE-IFC gender equality action plan for exchanges.
About the SSE
The SSE initiative is a UN Partnership Programme organised by UNCTAD, the UN Global Compact, UNEP FI and the PRI. The SSE’s mission is to provide a global platform for exploring how exchanges, in collaboration with investors, companies (issuers), regulators, policymakers and relevant international organizations, can enhance performance on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues and encourage sustainable investment, including the financing of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The SSE seeks to achieve this mission through an integrated programme of conducting evidence-based policy analysis, facilitating a network and forum for multi-stakeholder consensus-building, and providing technical assistance and advisory services.