Instant Karma Newsletter 7.1.20
  • We have corona-bonds, virus-control bonds, impact bonds, green bonds and, now, “transition” bonds. Have we reached “peak bond”?

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Calling something a “bond” is starting to feel like the impact finance equivalent of affixing “-gate” to a scandal. Like scandals, bonds can range from important and well-defined to vague pile-ons. COVID-19 has spawned “corona-bonds,” “virus control” bonds, and other monikers for financing the pandemic recovery. Impact bonds are a specific kind of pay-for-performance contract. Green bonds provide working capital for climate resilience and sustainability projects. Now, we have “transition” bonds, which begs the question: have we reached “peak bond”?

While the eventual payoff for investors is clear for social and environmental impact projects, transition bonds appear more muddled: they are sold by companies that do not yet meet the criteria for green bonds but want to take steps in that direction. As a nascent $3.5 billion asset class still being defined, the risk of greenwashing is very real.

In Other News: Plant-based steaks, Black Innovation Alliance

A group of Dominican nuns launched a $130 million climate solutions fund. The latest sign of the robot takeover: plant-based steaks from a 3D printer. How will COVID-19 force a bridging of the digital divide? The U.K. can move past tokenism in its impact investing diversity efforts. The new Black Innovation Alliance aims to coordinate efforts to support Black entrepreneurs. Gender lens investing through blended finance may be the key to increasing the number of African women business owners.

Levity Break

A star-studded DIY socially-distant recreation of a beloved classic? As you wish.