As part of its commitment to positive impact investing, the Praxis Mutual Funds Impact Bond Fund invested $1.5 million in Bank of America’s first sustainability bond in 2020. This involvement grew through an additional $2 million investment in the bank’s second sustainability issue the following year.
Bank of America issued its first sustainability bond in September 2020 – known as the Equality Progress Sustainability Bond (EPSB) – and their second issue in December 2021, for $2 billion each.
The first issue received a-second-party opinion from Sustainalytics, which confirmed the EPSB’s alignment with Social and Green Bond Principles, as well as Sustainability Bond Guidelines. The principles and guidelines in these documents are the standards used for impact bonds around the world.
Sustainability bonds combine the goals of green and social bonds, leading to a more diverse impact on society and the environment. The first issue of the EPSB aimed to promote socioeconomic empowerment of marginalized groups – primarily black and Hispanic communities – by having the proceeds fund social and green projects. This bond funds projects for affordable housing, clean transportation, and renewable energy projects.
The Sustainalytics accreditation aligned the EPSB’s purpose with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 7, 8, 10, and 11. Collectively, these goals strive to achieve social equality, improve human well-being, and create more sustainable and affordable living communities.
Bank of America’s second issue expands the goals of the EPSB by focusing on the empowerment of women within the marginalized groups already targeted.
In October 2021, Bank of America released its EPSB report for the first sustainability bond issue, offering details on where the proceeds were allocated.
With the net proceeds split about half and half between green and social projects, 6,300 units of affordable homes were financed through about $425 million in mortgages.
And about $971 million was invested in renewable energy among multiple projects. An EPSB report for the second sustainability bond issue has not been released yet.
The Praxis Impact Bond Fund seeks to make a positive impact through stewardship investing, a values-based approach to socially responsible investing that incorporates:
- Values-based restrictive screens and active environmental, social and governance (ESG) data integration.
- Change-oriented corporate engagement.
- Positive impact bond investments benefiting the climate and communities.
- One percent of fund assets is committed to community development investing.
Learn more about the Praxis Impact Bond Fund here.