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Sustainable Investing in World Bank (IBRD) Bonds

The World Bank is the world's largest source of development assistance, providing about $20 billion in loans annually to its member countries. Using its twin goals of reducing poverty and increasing shared prosperity, the World Bank uses its financial resources, its highly trained staff, and its extensive knowledge base to help each developing country onto a path of stable, sustainable, and equitable growth. Through its activities in the capital markets, the World Bank is able to fund projects in member countries in areas such as health, education, and essential infrastructure. It also works with countries on important cross cutting priorities such as job creation, gender equality, environmental protection and climate change activities. For use of proceeds, see the"Process".

  Investing in Sustainability

A Film on World Bank Project Examples

The World Bank raises money in international capital markets by issuing bonds that bring solid returns to investors.  We invest in member countries so their economies can grow sustainably.  So people can help themselves and their environment.
(The film is available with Chinese, English, Italian and Japanese Subtitles).



Use of Proceeds: Supporting sustainable development in IBRD's member countries

The net proceeds from the sale of the Notes will be used by IBRD to finance sustainable development projects and programs in IBRD’s member countries (without being committed or earmarked for lending to, or financing of, any particular projects or programs). IBRD’s financing is made available solely to middle-income and creditworthy lower-income member countries who are working in partnership with IBRD to eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, so that they can achieve equitable and sustainable economic growth in their national economies and find sustainable solutions to pressing regional and global economic and environmental problems. Projects and programs supported by IBRD are designed to achieve a positive social impact and undergo a rigorous review and internal approval process aimed at safeguarding equitable and sustainable economic growth.

IBRD integrates five cross cutting themes into its lending activities helping its borrowing
members create sustainable development solutions: climate change; gender; jobs; publicprivate
partnerships; and fragility, conflict and violence.

IBRD’s administrative and operating expenses are covered entirely by IBRD's various
sources of revenue (net income) consisting primarily of interest margin, equity contribution
and investment income (as more fully described in the Information Statement).

Key Elements of the World Bank Project Cycle

All of the work at the World Bank is anchored in two goals: ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. Reaching these ambitious goals requires the World Bank to deliver the world’s best ideas, knowledge, and experience in development. Country-based teams are the chief interface with clients and are responsible for developing country and regional strategies. They foster selectivity in country programs, ensure that these programs account for the relevant country's individual context and political economy, and integrate public and private sector solutions. To support the country-based programs and marshal the best development knowledge available, the World Bank Group has Global Practices that bring together knowledge and expertise in 14 sectors and 5 cross-cutting areas that range from adapting to climate change to boosting food security or increasing access to energy. Sector Global Practices provide world-class, integrated, evidence-based solutions to help clients address their most complex challenges, while Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas focus the World Bank’s resources on corporate priorities.

I. Project eligibility criteria:

Proceeds from World Bank bonds are used to support financing of projects designed to alleviate poverty and promote shared prosperity in an environmentally and socially sustainable way that protects natural resources, making World Bank bonds especially attractive to investors with ethical or sustainable investment strategies. Examples of projects include:

  • Invest in people, particularly through basic health and education
  • Protect the environment
  • Strengthen the ability of the governments to deliver quality services, efficiently and transparently
  • Promote reforms to create a stable macroeconomic environment, conducive to investment and long­term planning
  • Focus on social development, inclusion, governance, and institution building as key elements of poverty reduction

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, all World Bank projects are subject to the World Bank's environmental and social safeguard policies. A description of these safeguard policies can be found at: www.worldbank.org/safeguards

II. Process for selecting projects:

All World Bank projects are carefully selected in partnership with client countries prioritizing the areas where the World Bank can help the most. The process involves five steps.

Step 1: Perform a systematic country diagnostic study to identify the biggest constraints and opportunities for reducing poverty and inequality based on analysis of the country’s conditions and its own development aspirations.

Step 2: Define a Country Partnership Framework (CPF) that lays out which of the country’s own development objectives the World Bank can help the government achieve based on its comparative advantages and the alignment with the World Bank’s own mission of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity.

Step 3: Identify, assess and appraise individual projects and programs identified with the country including conducting feasibility studies that assess the environmental, social and financial sustainability of the proposed projects.

Step 4: Present every project for approval by the Board of Executive Directors: a resident Board with 25 chairs representing its member countries approves projects that demonstrate consistency with the agreed Country Partnership Framework and how they contribute to achieving the twin goals of the World Bank to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.

Step 5: Monitor and learn from project implementation: government agencies report the projects’ progress and the World Bank monitors the agreed milestones towards achieving the project’s objectives including a formal review at least twice a year. The World Bank also conducts a review of the lessons learned at the conclusion and each project is also subject to an independent evaluation.

For more information about the World Bank’s country engagement strategy, please see:


III. Management of bond proceeds:

The proceeds of the World Bank bonds are invested in accordance with IBRD’s conservative liquidity policy until they are used for the support of the World Bank’s financing of eligible projects and programs. Disbursement requests for eligible projects take place in accordance with IBRD’s established policies and procedures. Disbursements are often made over a period of several years, depending on when each project milestone is reached.

IV. Monitoring and reporting on impact of projects:

The World Bank supervises the implementation of all its projects. Client countries implement the development projects in accordance with the project loan agreement. This includes regular reports by the implementing government agency on project activities, including a mid-term review of project progress. The project's progress, outcomes and impacts are monitored by the government and the World Bank throughout the implementation phase to obtain data to evaluate and measure the ultimate effectiveness of the operation in terms of the objectives it was set to achieve. This documentation is publically disclosed with the project documentation. There is also an audit by the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group following completion of the project.

V. Ensuring transparency and compliance:

The World Bank safeguards, policies and procedures apply to all projects. This includes reviews by the World Bank’s financial management and procurement specialists to ensure that adequate fiduciary controls on the use of project funds are in place at the country/project level.

In terms of transparency, there is access to documents, results data and information about projects and operations through the World Bank's Open Data initiative. The World Bank Treasury website provides links to selected projects' information and to newletters that also provide highlights of the World Bank's activities.

World Bank Projects

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. It is not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development across all sectors including education, health, nutrition, and access to essential infrastructure.

The World Bank works across intersecting and complex sectors supporting client development priorities around the world. In FY17, IBRD committed $22.6 billion through over 125 projects to help developing countries find solutions to the toughest global and local development challenges.

Some examples of individual projects that are eligible for World Bank financing are highlighted below. This is provided for illustrative purposes only and no assurance is given that disbursements for projects with these specific characteristics will be made by the World Bank during the lifetime of the any specific bond. There is no specific allocation of the proceeds of a World bank bond to one specific project.

For information on all World Bank projects please see: http://www.worldbank.org/projects


Project Examples



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Featured Sustainable Investments Products

Sustainable Development Goals
World Bank Launches Financial Instrument to Expand Funding for Sustainable Development Goals

The World Bank has issued bonds that for the first time directly link returns to the performance of companies advancing global development priorities set out in the Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality, health and sustainable infrastructure.
Sustainable Development Bonds

Examples of a few labeled Sustainable Development Bonds (SDBs) that highlight the World Bank’s critical development work:
SDB for retail investors in Italy
SDB for a private investor in Japan
Three SDBs for retail investors in Japan
SDB for a private investor in Japan showcasing World Bank health projects.
All World Bank bonds are used to finance projects and programs aimed at reducing poverty and inequality in a way that is environmentally, socially, and fiscally sustainable. These projects help countries transition to greener and more equitable growth that improves living standards and sustains environmental assets – water, land, air, ecosystems, and the services they provide – for this and future generations. They cover a variety of sectors from education and health to essential infrastructure.
Inaugural World Bank "Green Bond" The offering is the first time both the World Bank and SEB have offered bonds to raise funds identified to a specific World Bank program and is one example of the kind of innovation the World Bank is trying to encourage within its “Strategic Framework for Development and Climate Change” launched in early 2008.
More information about the World Bank's green bond is available here.
World Bank Green Fund Ten new World Bank green bonds were issued primarily for the launch of new World Bank green bond funds, managed by Nikko Asset Management, aimed at investors primarily in Japan and Europe.
"World Supporter Fund"

The first fund comprised principally of World Bank bonds in a variety of emerging market currencies. The fund , managed by Nikko Asset Management, offers Japanese investors the opportunity to participate in a diversified emerging market investment portfolio which will support the mission of the World Bank.
Eco 3Plus Note:
First Eco3Plus Note
Second Eco3Plus Note
Third Eco3Plus Note

The notes are the World Bank’s first public offering linked to an environmentally-focused equity index for investors in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Germany.
World Bank Bonds for Ethical Investors

The issue allowed retail investors in Germany to contribute to the World Bank’s sustainable development mandate through a portion of their investment portfolio.
CER-Linked “Cool” Bond:
First CER-Linked Uridashi Bond
Second CER-Linked Uridashi Bond
These were the first Uridashis that reference the emission reductions generated from specific projects under the framework defined by the Kyoto Protocol.

DISCLAIMER: This update has been prepared by the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD) for information purposes only and the IBRD makes no representation, warranty or assurance of any kind, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of any of the information contained herein. This website may include information relating to certain IBRD securities. Any such information is provided only for general informational purposes and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation for an offer to buy any IBRD securities. The securities mentioned herein may not be eligible for sale in certain jurisdictions or to certain persons.


Videos and Publications about World Bank Sustainable Development Bonds




Overview of the World Bank's bonds offering both a financial and social return, including examples of how projects make a difference in people's lives.

Sustained growth is necessary to achieve the urgent development needs of the world’s poor. There is substantial scope for growing cleaner without growing slower. Green growth is necessary, efficient, and affordable. It is the only way to reconcile the rapid growth required to bring developing countries to the level of prosperity to which they aspire.

World Bank Project Example in Mexico:
Efficient Lighting and Appliances Project
An Inside Look at a World Bank Project in Colombia:
National Urban Transport