Gothenburg-based AP2, one of Sweden’s four main state pension buffer funds, has invested in a social bond that focuses on gender equality, issued by the World Bank.

AP2 said the bond met the criteria of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The fourth SDG specifically relates to gender equality.

The purpose of the bond was to raise awareness of gender issues in general, and to promote the empowerment of women and girls – thereby promoting economic growth, reducing poverty and creating the conditions for a more sustainable society, the SEK336bn (€34bn) pension fund said.

A spokeswoman for AP2 declined to say how much the fund has invested in the Canadian dollar-denominated issue.

Overall, the bond issue raised more than CAD1.2bn (€787m), according to the World Bank. It said more than 40 investors had placed orders and described the issue as “comfortably oversubscribed”.

AP2 said its policy was to reveal the size of investments only twice a year, when it publishes its holdings.

Data from the World Bank showed the bond, which carries a coupon of 2.25%, sold just below face value at 99.433% of its target.

Some 55% of the investors were based in Canada and 24% were from Europe and the Middle East, the bank said. Asset managers, insurance companies and pension funds made up 42% of the investors by type.

Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO, said: “We need US$7trn (€5.7trn) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – and we will not achieve them if we leave half our population behind.”

This was why the World Bank and Canada were committed to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women, she said.

Last June, AP2 invested an undisclosed amount in a social bond issued by the Netherlands’ NWB Bank to finance affordable housing in the country.