The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is selling $350 million in “social bonds” today, according to a report at Bloomberg.
According to the International Capital Market Association, “Social Bonds are use of proceeds bonds that raise funds for new and existing projects with positive social outcomes. The Social Bond Principles (SBP) updated as of June 2020 promote integrity in the Social Bond market through guidelines that recommend transparency, disclosure and reporting. They are intended for use by market participants and are designed to drive the provision of information needed to increase capital allocation to social projects. “
New Jersey is not complying with one of the four core principles of Social Bonds, in this its first such issue. The authority will not provide investors with updates on how the proceeds were used for social-bond purposes.
The proceeds are purportedly for school construction purposes which qualify as a social purpose because “delivering a thorough and quality public education provides limitless social benefits for both New Jersey students and our state as a whole,” Jennifer Sciortino, director of communications for the state treasurer’s office told Bloomberg.
The $350 million is not technically an obligation of the State or any government within New Jersey, according to the prospectus, even though the state treasurer’s office is promoting the issue to the media.