World Bank Launches Sustainable Development Bonds in Scandinavian Currencies While Raising Awareness for Gender Equality and Health

The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD, Aaa/AAA) priced Norwegian krone- and Swedish krona-denominated Sustainable Development Bonds raising approximately US$ equivalent 440 million. The World Bank launched the bonds while raising awareness for the World Bank’s strategy, projects and programs that focus on gender equality and health, highlighting how COVID-19 disproportionately impacts women.

The NOK 2 billion 5-year fixed rate bond and SEK 1.75 billion 5-year fixed rate bond both mature on March 16, 2026. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) acted as lead manager for the transactions.

Investors in the bonds included Church of Sweden, Cliens Kapitalförvaltning, the Folksam Group, Handelsbanken Asset Management, Nordea Asset Management, SpareBank 1 SMN, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank, SEB Företagsobligationsfond Hållbar, SPP/Storebrand, Swedbank Robur, and Telia Company.

Norwegian investors accounted for 71% of the NOK bond with the remainder placed in other parts of Europe and Asia. Banks and bank treasuries made up 71% of participation followed by central banks (25%) and asset managers (4%). The SEK bond was placed entirely with Swedish investors with asset managers accounting for 75% of participation and pension funds, insurance funds, and corporates making up the balance.

“We thank investors for their ongoing support for the World Bank and their continued focus on gender equality and the health and well-being of women, particularly as the pandemic threatens to widen gaps and reverse development gains made over the past decades,” said Jingdong Hua, World Bank Vice President and Treasurer.

“The bond issued today addresses two of the SDGs the Folksam Group has decided to focus on,” said Ylva Wessén, CEO of the Folksam Group. “Our most important sustainability work is to prevent injuries or accidents from occurring. Prevention provides greater security for our customers and also lowers the resource consumption in the world. Companies with gender-equality make better decisions which creates increased profitability. We therefore place high demands on the companies we invest in, not least around gender equality.”

“Although gender equality and health are issues that have been part of the public debate for a long time, there is unfortunately still much to be done,” said Thomas Bäck, Senior Portfolio Manager, Swedbank Robur. “That is why we are very pleased to invest in the World Bank’s new Sustainable Development Bond while raising awareness of gender equality and health. These issues are important parts of a sustainable development and are also well in line with Swedbank Robur’s long-standing work to improve gender equality on boards through our role as major owners.”

“Acknowledging and managing diversity is the source for internal wealth and external beauty,” said Christopher Flensborg, Head of Climate and Sustainable Finance, SEB. “We at SEB are proud support these transactions highlighting gender equality and health.”

Transaction Summary


World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD)

Issuer rating:

Aaa /AAA (Moody’s/S&P)








NOK 2,000,000,000

SEK 1,750,000,000

Settlement date:

March 16, 2021

March 16, 2021

Maturity date:

March 16, 2026

March 16, 2026

Issue price:



Issue yield:




NOK 10,000

SEK 10,000


1.25% per annum

0.25% per annum


Luxembourg Stock Exchange

Luxembourg Stock Exchange




Clearing system:



Lead manager:

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, Stockholm

About the World Bank

Public Release. More on this here.