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Fixed income

Community and economic development

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We identify impact investments within the community and economic development theme using “direct and measurable” criteria:


Community and economic impact objectives and project types that adhere to our impact framework:

Impact objectives
  • Increase access to finance for small businesses
  • Increase skills and knowledge to attain/sustain employment and livelihoods
  • Improve availability of healthcare and medical services
  • Create more inclusive and sustainable communities
  • Sustainably increase farm productivity to improve rural livelihoods
  • Reduce food insecurity
  • Support recovery from disaster, conflict, or crisis
  • Support macroeconomic development and institutional capacity building
Project type
• Benefits underserved and/or economically disadvantaged communities
• Services: financial, hospital/medical, and educational
• Urban revitalization: community centers, reconstruction activities
• International development and humanitarian activities: disaster relief, economic aid, and agricultural support

Amount invested in 2019: $547.8 Million

Community Facilities built 210,039 square feet
Full-time jobs created 1.1 million
Farmers and fishers trained 4.8 million
People who benefited from access to basic products and services 205.0 million (equivalent to nearly 2/3 of the population of the U.S.)2
People reached through community programs 37.4 million

Impact case study: Women’s Livelihood Bond 2 (WLB2)

Sector:  High yield, financial institution
Womens livelihood 

The scope, detail and frequency of the WLB impact reports provide remarkable clarity for investors. This transparency represents the gold standard of reporting.

— Stephen M. Liberatore, portfolio manager and Head of ESG/Impact – Nuveen Global Fixed Income

Women’s Livelihood Bond 2 (WLB2) is the second in a series of multi-country, gender-focused bonds managed by Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) — a Singapore-based financial institution whose mission is “to create an inclusive financial system where women, the environment and disadvantaged communities are valued and have a voice.” Investors in WLB2 benefit from both public and private credit protection, with a 50% loan portfolio guarantee from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and first loss capital provided by The Rockefeller Foundation.3

WLB2 aims to help transition women in Southeast Asia from subsistence to sustainable livelihoods. Specifically, the bond's proceeds provide capital to seven borrowers in four countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka) that operate in three sectors: small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) lending, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. These borrowers, in turn, provide low-cost capital and financing to women in these target populations.

IIX has developed an impact assessment framework that includes five primary outcomes for the bond's beneficiaries:

Intended outcome Women benefitted and measurable Impacts4
(1) Improved income generation ability 27,500 women have taken advantage of micro loans to meet productive or other business-related needs
(2) Improved financial resilience 21,690 have availed themselves of micro savings products
(3) Increased ownership of assets
190 have acquired micro insurance coverage
(4) Improved productivity 2,700 have enhanced their knowledge and skills through training sessions
(5) Improved access to market 1,775 women farmers are being sourced for agricultural goods 

Other examples

International Development Association (IDA)

Sector: Investment grade, government related – credit
International Development Association 

The IDA is an international organization established in 1960 and owned by its 173 member countries. It is the largest multilateral channel for providing favorable financing and knowledge services to the world’s poorest countries and is one of the five institutions of the World Bank Group.

Use of proceeds

Net proceeds from the sale of these notes will be used to support sustainable development projects and programs in IDA’s member countries.

Measurable impact

Between fiscal years 2018 - 2019, IDA programs had measurable impacts that included:

  • 172.3 million people benefited from essential health, nutrition, and population services
  • 22.8 million people benefited from access to electricity
  • 66,000 people benefited from access to financial services
  • 4.4 million farmers trained
  • 847,222 MWh of energy saved
  • 14.2 million MT of CO2-equivalent emissions avoided

Starbucks Coffee Company

Sector: Investment grade corporate bond
Starbucks coffee company 

Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. Practices, an ethical program for sourcing coffee, was developed in 2004 with Conservation International, an environmental NGO. C.A.F.E. Practices include standards related to quality, economic, social, and environmental performance. C.A.F.E. Practices also promote environmentally responsible growing methods, ensure minimum wages and fair working conditions, and advocate for economic transparency and resource management.5

Use of proceeds

With the inaugural May 2016 issuance of a $500 million sustainability bond, Starbucks made a commitment to use the bond’s proceeds for improving its supply chain’s environmental and social impact. Proceeds from the issuance were used in its first year to elevate the positive impacts of Starbucks coffee supply chain in three ways:

  • Adding 86 new Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices-verified supply chains, primarily represented by new coffee farms and mills. This provides a portion of nearly 650 million pounds of coffee sourced by Starbucks from May 2016 to May 2017. Over 2.7 billion pounds of C.A.F.E. Practices-verified coffee was also available for other roasters to purchase during the same period.
  • Developing5 new Farmer Support Center and operating 8 existing Farmer Support Centers
  • Providing loans to farmers across the globe through the Global Farmer Fund
Measurable impact

88,000 coffee farmers were trained through the nine farmer support centers in 2019.

Coffee Thumb 
We invested $3 million in a sustainability bond issued by Starbucks

1 Reporting methodology The Nuveen Responsible Investing team developed this report to provide an indication of the aggregate social and environmental impact created by the projects and organizations financed in part by the Strategy. Given the difficulty of attributing impact in proportion to the size of the Strategy's share of each bond issuance (which ranges from 0.015% to 100%), the data reflect total impact generated by the project, program, or issuer rather than the Strategy's share alone. The report represents bonds that are classified under the Strategy's proprietary impact framework and for which relevant data are available. All impact data are sourced from publicly available issuer disclosures at the bond or project level when possible, or the program or issuer level if not. Metrics selected for each impact theme reflect the information most commonly reported by issuers, and each metric includes data from between 2 and 46 issuers. In cases where the Strategy has a large position in a certain issuer, we prioritize selecting metrics reported by that issuer.

2 U.S. census data.

3 Impact Investment Exchange, Women’s Livelihood Bond 2 Successfully Closes (press release), 15 January 2020.

4 Impact Investment Exchange, Women’s Livelihood Bond 2 (“WLB 2”) Summary Semi-Annual Impact Report Q1–Q2 2020.


A word on risk

Because ESG criteria exclude some securities, investments in ESG-focused products may not be able to take advantage of the same opportunities or market trends as products that do not use such criteria. Investment products in general may be subject to market and other risk factors.

The investment advisory services, strategies and expertise of TIAA Investments, a division of Nuveen, are provided by Teachers Advisors, LLC and TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC. Securities offered through Nuveen Securities, LLC.

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