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Covid-19, CSR, Doing Good Index, Philanthropy, Social Enterprises
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Who’s Doing Good

22 June 2020 - 05 July 2020

THE GIVERS

Uniqlo chief pledges US$93 million for coronavirus research. <>Tadashi Yanai, chairman and president of Fast Retailing—the Japanese company behind Uniqlo—pledged ¥10 billion (US$93 million) to Kyoto University for research into treatments for the new coronavirus and other communicable diseases. The donation will be split, with ¥5 billion each going to Shinya Yamanaka and Tasuku Honjo, two Nobel Prize winners in medicine.

THE THINKERS

Doing Good Index 2020 shows how Asia can maximize doing good in a post-Covid world. <>CAPS’ Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro shares insights from our recently launched Doing Good Index 2020 for Alliance Magazine. Shapiro highlights developments across the region since the 2018 edition of the Index, and she underscores that with the right policies coupled with private and social sector initiatives, we in Asia will be able to bring about the maximum good for our communities as we rebuild from the Covid-19 crisis.

THE NONPROFITS

Singapore charity sets up SG$5 million fund to help vulnerable seniors. <>The Asian Medical Foundation (AMF), a charity affiliated with Raffles Medical Group, set up the SG$5 million (approximately US$3.6 million) AMF Silver Care Fund. The fund will support two causes: the AMF Elder Voucher scheme to help 30,000 seniors purchase food and household items, and the AMF Elder Health scheme to support pilot projects aimed at improving seniors’ access to healthcare and enhancing their well-being. 

THE BUSINESSES

As Covid-19 saps Vietnam’s economy, private charity is blossoming.<> The Economist covers how a prototype of an ATM that dispenses rice, built by a local entrepreneur to support Hanoi’s poorest during the Covid-19 crisis, has been scaled nationwide by the private sector. Each ATM distributes enough rice to feed a small family for three days, and some machines have been serving up to 2,000 people a day. Corporates, such as Cen Group, have stepped in to produce these rice ATMs, supplying tens of locations in cities across Vietnam. Danielle Labbe of the University of Montreal points out that while large-scale philanthropy is rare in Vietnam, it is a country where “good ideas replicate quickly.” This rise of private charity during Covid-19 has also been embraced by the government, exemplified by generous press coverage in state-controlled media. 

Gilead commits US$500,000 worth of support across Asia.<> As part of its first Asia-wide corporate social responsibility program, “Creating Possible For Our Communities,” US-based Gilead Sciences will support hard-hit communities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan. The donation will be used to provide basic necessities to lower-income families, education resources to underprivileged children, public health education related to Covid-19, and cash donations to community-based organizations to allow them to continue to provide vital care services to HIV and hepatitis patients.

THE INNOVATORS

Thailand’s tourism social enterprises help locals hit by coronavirus.<> When Local Alike, a travel consultancy that promotes sustainable tourism in 200 villages, saw its revenue drop to zero during Covid-19, the social enterprise pivoted to selling products from villages through social media. This article by the Thomson Reuters Foundation highlights how similar social enterprises in Thailand have adapted through the crisis, while concomitantly finding solutions for community needs. 

Helping youth enterprises take off will bring sustainable returns, say UN economists.<> The 2020 World Youth Report was recently published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. This edition of the biennial report focuses on how youth social entrepreneurship can both support youth development and help accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The report highlights key characteristics of an effective entrepreneurship ecosystem, including the importance of tailored support. A recent CAPS report, Business for Good: maximizing the value of social enterprises in Asia, also explores the key ecosystem aspects that can enable social enterprises in Asia to reach their potential.

Climate fund targets USD$2.5 billion in clean energy investment for Southeast Asia.<> The new South East Asia Clean Energy Facility (SEACEF) fund backed by philanthropic donors is aiming to aid the region’s green recovery after coronavirus. Managed by Singapore-based Clime Capital, the fund has an initial investment of US$10 million and a focus on getting new projects underway in Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. SEACEF describes itself as a first-of-its-kind philanthropic initiative to tackle climate change, focused on the high-risk funding needed to get new clean energy projects up and running. 

ESG investing gaining traction in Korea.<> Financial firms are rushing to issue sustainable bonds amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as ESG-themed bonds witness burgeoning growth and popularity in Korea. This Korea Times article highlights examples of banks who have recently embraced ESG factors and have issued ESG-principled social bonds.

<>IN OTHER NEWS…

Is PM-CARES diverting money away from nonprofits?<> While the PM National Relief Fund in India has historically received INR 200 crore (approximately US$27 million) annually from CSR contributions, the PM-CARES Fund, which was established to fund Covid-19 relief efforts, has received 25 times this amount in a shorter amount of time. India Development Review (IDR) offers a breakdown of CSR spending during Covid-19 and explores how PM-CARES has diverted a large amount of capital away from nonprofits.

<>We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at <>research@caps.org<>.