Social impact bonds – Finland, France and the Netherlands

Bruessels, European Union Climate sustainability, Financial incentives


Social impact bonds (SIBs) are used in very diverse contexts around the world and across social issues.

In Europe, numerous initiatives have emerged, including:

  • The SIB of the Hémisphère fund in France, a EUR 200 million fund created in 2017 (, acquired 62 low-cost hotels that were then restructured and leased to a social housing operator (Adoma) to enable it to respond to the housing rights of vulnerable groups and provide emergency housing.
  • The Finnish SIB, Epiqus,[1] takes a preventative approach. It finances activities that prevent social problems (social exclusion, unemployment etc.). A common form of Epiqus is an outcomes-linked financing mechanism, in which a public sector actor contracts for improved social outcomes with an investment vehicle or through a financial instrument instead of service providers directly. The intermediary, managing the investment vehicle, then raises private financing to fund the purchase of services delivering the intervention. If the intervention is successful, the public sector actor repays investors and provides a risk-adjusted return.

A logical next step would be to develop SIBs that tackle social and climate challenges together, for example, considering the external benefits of renovation such as better health.

This is already occurring in the Netherlands, where the NWB Bank issues SDG Housing Bonds, focusing on specific impact drivers for affordability and energy efficiency in social housing[2]. In combination with the “Waarborgfonds Sociale Woningbouw” (Guarantee Fund for Social Housing), it provides a secure instrument for raising capital for social housing provision in the country.[3] This type of investment instrument is discussed in the Chapter II.



More information

[1]  Epiqus, “About Epiqus”. Available at (accessed on May 14, 2021).

[2] NWB Bank, “New SDG Housing Bond brings total of issued sustainable bonds above €15 billion”, (n.d). Available at

[3] NWB Bank, “SDG Housing Bonds”. Available at