Global asset manager Nuveen, which has over US$1 trillion in assets under management, has become the anchor investor for the Barbados Blue Bond, which will seek to preserve local tourism and fishery industries through sustainable ocean management practices.
Barbados, made famous by its calm, blue waters and white sand beaches, is economically reliant on tourism with over 40% of GDP attributed to the industry. Despite this dependence, only 1% of the water surrounding Barbados is currently protected.
The bond, issued by The Nature Conservancy and Inter-American Development Bank, will see US$50 million spent over the next 15 years to facilitate the conservation of at least 30% of Barbados’ marine space.
As a condition of participating in the deal, Nuveen secured access to impact data provided to the Marine Spatial Plan Steering Committee – a body consisting of The Nature Conservancy, government officials and key local stakeholders – which will monitor the progress of key capital allocation and conservation milestones.
In 2022, Nuveen also made a US$50 million investment in The World Bank Wildlife Conservation Bond, which aims to protect the population of South Africa’s endangered black rhinos.
“As a result of our engagement, the Barbados Blue Bond is the first debt-for-nature swap that qualified as an impact investment under our impact investment framework,” says Stephen Liberatore, the company’s head of ESG/impact for global fixed income. “We’ve seen the benefits that blended finance can have on the sustainable development of a blue economy and believe that Barbados represents the next opportunity to highlight the critical linkage of a country’s environment with its economy.”