• A $8 billion sustainability bond issued by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to help member countries increase laboratory capacity, invest in detection equipment, train health workers and solve supply problems.
  • One $750m social link (vaccine) issued by the International Finance Facility for Immunization for funding core immunization programs from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and its COVAX Advance Market Commitment program, which pools funds for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines for participating countries.

Outside of pandemic bonds, notable investments over the past year include Tesco’s first sustainability bond contributing to its target of reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 60% d 2025. The growth of these sustainability-related social bond issuances has been significant in recent years. years and the report calls for future publications to consider the intersection of social and environmental impact.

Nigel Kershaw OBE, Chairman of The Big Issue Group and Co-Founder of The Big Exchange, said: “Our goal with this partnership was to bring the general public into social investing by giving ordinary people, as well as institutional investors, the opportunity to see their savings and their investments do good for society. Having reached just over £408 million in assets under management[2], the success of the fund shows that more and more people want to be able to plan and save for the future while helping to create a more inclusive UK – it’s finance for the people. I am incredibly proud of what the fund has been able to accomplish, not just over the past year, but over the past seven years.

Simon Bond, Manager of the Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund, said: “It has been fascinating to watch the bond market’s rapid and effective response to one of the most pressing social challenges of our time. This offered investors in our fund the opportunity to support an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, while generating returns on their investments. Developments in recent years also reflect the growth of the “S” in environmental, social and governance investing – social bond issuance was up 129% year-on-year to end-September. There will be many more opportunities to put investments to work for social good, and I look forward to continuing to manage the fund in this way.

The Annual Impact Report was produced by Big Issue Invest’s Impact team, led by Joshua Meek, Head of Social Impact. Joshua and his team were recently the recipients of Pensions for Purpose’s inaugural “Best Impact Reporting Content Award” for Big Issue Invest’s 2020-21 Impact Report.

You can access the annual impact report here.

The Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund pays a portion of its annual management fee to The Big Issue Group, as well as to the Columbia Threadneedle Foundation.


[1] The fund’s investments are primarily focused in the UK, with a particular focus on promoting inclusive development and tackling regional inequalities by targeting regions outside the Greater South East. The past three years have also seen an increase in investment in bonds targeting development results globally, including in countries in Europe, Africa and Latin America (representing 18% of total holdings). bonds as of June 30, 2021).

[2] As of January 31, 2022. Source: Columbia Threadneedle Investments