World Bank and Japanese Investors Highlight Efforts to Support Nutrition through Sustainable Development Bonds

TOKYO – The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD, Aaa/AAA) has issued a total of US$250 million equivalent in Sustainable Development Bonds to Japanese investors while highlighting the importance of good nutrition to build human capital. This engagement with investors began with an investment from Nippon Life Insurance Company in October 2020 to raise awareness about the World Bank’s activities to address malnutrition.

The initiative has attracted both institutional and retail investors. This includes investments most recently from Meiji Yasuda and Taiju life insurance companies ahead of the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit on December 7-8, 2021 to promote global efforts to solve the nutrition crisis.

“We are very pleased to see continued interest from Japanese investors in support of the mission of the World Bank,” said Jingdong Hua, Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank. “Raising our collective consciousness on how we can contribute to solutions through investment for critical development challenges like nutrition crisis is instrumental in building a better and more sustainable future.

“The enormous human and economic costs of malnutrition fall hardest on poor people, women, and children,” said Mamta Murthi, World Bank’s Vice President for Human Development. “We welcome the strong collaboration among stakeholders, including innovative financing from the private sector and investors that support healthier foods – and improving nutrition where the needs are greatest.”

World Bank bonds support the financing of sustainable development projects and programs in member countries across a range of sectors in line with its mission to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. This includes US$6 billion in projects, of which US$1.5 billion are in IBRD countries, helping to improve nutrition and addressing obesity and undernutrition. Good nutrition is critical to improving human capital — a central driver of sustainable growth and poverty reduction. However, COVID-19 and other shocks are expected to have pushed 155 million people into acute food insecurity, with 28 million at risk of famine. Millions of children will also fall into malnutrition due to pandemic related service disruptions and not achieve their full growth potential, which leads to an estimated US$44 billion economic productivity loss a year. There is an urgent need to ensure that the world’s poor have access to the knowledge, resources, and services needed to achieve optimal nutrition.