CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

1 January - 12 January 2022
Dear Friends,

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2022!

What does the year have in store for Asia’s social sector?

Devex is looking towards the “growing scale of private philanthropy” and the push to maximize the impact of social investments, predicting greater collaborations between private funders and grassroots organizations.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is optimistic, looking to economic recovery from Covid as a positive indicator for the growth of philanthropy in 2022.

Sustainability is firmly on the global agenda in 2022 as the world reflects on COP26 and a month of major natural disasters in Asia. Our thoughts are with our colleagues across the region dealing with floods, storms and other extreme weather events.

Best,

Ruth A. Shapiro
Co-Founder and Chief Executive

Philanthropy responds to natural disasters. Relief efforts are ongoing in the Philippines following Super Typhoon Odette. The Filipino-Chinese Community Calamity Fund, a coalition of 11 major Filipino-Chinese business and organizations, have thus far raised ₱75 million (approximately US$1.46 million) for typhoon victims. The Aboitiz Group donated almost ₱15 million (approximately US$293,000) to Odette relief, with more than a third collected through the Group’s crowdfunding platform, Kinder. Yayasan Food Bank Malaysia has collaborated with the CIMB Foundation and Xiaomi Malaysia to support residents impacted by flooding in Kajang in late December. And the Gates Foundation, Tata Trusts and Chaudhary Foundation are among the members of Stronger Foundations for Nutrition, a coalition of philanthropies working together to galvanize efforts in overcoming hunger and malnutrition. The group aims to attract philanthropists and corporate foundations to fund country-level interventions, including in India and Nepal.

Covid relief targets communities in need. Chinese companies including Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi sent more than ¥100 million (US$15.74 million) in donations and supplies to Xi’an City, which remains under Covid-19 lockdown, reports The Global Times. Nepal received medical supplies from The Hong Kong Ex-Servicemen Association and Sean and Mary Jean Hotung. This includes the provision of oxygen concentrators to 139 health facilities across the country, reports República Nepal.

Asia’s philanthropists celebrated across the region. The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of major charitable gifts in 2021 includes Joe and Clara Tsai, who gave US$220 million to establish a medical research nonprofit, and Gerald and Ronnie C. Chan’s Morningside Foundation, which gave US$175 million to the University of Massachusetts’ Chan Medical School. Meanwhile, People Magazine Pakistan named Pakistani-American Danial Schon “Man of the Year” for his contributions to philanthropy and entrepreneurship. Schon has encouraged other philanthropists to create more models for sustainable, long-term development in Pakistan.

China’s companies respond to ESG push. Tencent Holdings plans to sell off 14.5 million shares in a tech company to raise US$3.1 billion for philanthropy and social initiatives. The move is seen as a response to a nation-wide push for “common prosperity”, or greater wealth distribution, according to Business Times. Meanwhile, Greenpeace China named Alibaba as the top e-commerce platform for climate-related commitments, as well as action on greenhouse gas emissions: “China’s net-zero pledge turned climate commitments into one of the major lenses for these companies’ social impact to be judged”. Alibaba has pledged to be carbon neutral across its operations by 2030.

Wealth, philanthropy growing in India. Fortune India has a round-up of key reports related to private wealth, including Bain & Company and Dasra’s Indian Philanthropy Report 2021, which found that private-sector funding increased by 23% compared to the previous fiscal year. In addition, 95% of family business owners have philanthropic interests and commitments, according to a report from Edelweiss. Continue reading in Fortune India→

Green and sustainable bonds in Asia. The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim) has launched a 10-year green bond, the first issued under Kexim’s sustainable finance framework. The net proceeds from the green bond will fund renewable energy, sustainable transportation and resource management projects. The Airport Authority of Hong Kong is preparing its first-ever green bond, aimed at financing green projects such as green buildings. However, a proposed plan for a new runway raises concerns about what constitutes a “green” project, according to The Asset. And Stanford Social Innovation Review has an excerpt from a new book on Net Zero Finance, highlighting some of the transitional risks for a green finance system in Asia and the world.

Have a story to share? Contact us at research@caps.org.

CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

9 December – 22 December 2021

Dear Friends,

In the blink of an eye 2021 is drawing to a close. This year, Asia’s social sector has shown enormous resilience in the face of challenges on multiple fronts and has demonstrated the ability to adapt to the long-term impacts of pandemic disruption.

We’ve seen the morphing of the boundaries that lie between profit and purpose: NGOs have found second income streams, governments have procured the services of social enterprises, and public-private partnerships have emerged in new areas in an effort to address community and social needs.

The increasing willingness of stakeholders to experiment with market mechanisms to attract private capital has seen innovation in the area of blended finance. As always, CAPS is committed to keeping you abreast of these emerging trends in the social sector. In the new year, we will be releasing a briefing on the topic of blended finance, covering themes such as social impact bonds, public-private partnerships and social stock exchanges.

2021 was also a year in which we saw ESG considerations shift from a “nice to have” to an almost essential part of any credible business model. Corporations can no longer position themselves as separate from social and environmental issues, and investors are turning up the heat on those who have been slow to demonstrate a commitment to a more sustainable and socially responsible future.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season,

Ruth A. Shapiro
Co-Founder and Chief Executive

Forbes Asia’s 2021 Heroes of Philanthropy. 15 prominent givers are on the list, including CAPS’ Chair Ronnie C. Chan, who, along with his brother Gerald, has been a key figure in education philanthropy. Cho Tak Wong (Fuyao Glass Industry Group), Rina Lopez Bautista (Knowledge Channel Foundation), Azim Premji (Wipro), Jeffrey Cheah (Sunway Group), Lin Chen-Hai (Pau Jar Group), Takemitsu Takizaki (Keyence), Michael Kim (MBK Partners) and Joseph Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai have been recognized for their contributions to learning and education. Kin Jung-Ju (Nexon) and Anil Agarwal (Vendata Resources) are lauded for their efforts in the areas of healthcare, Pham Nhat Vuong (Vingroup) and Teresita Sy-Coson (SM Investments) for pandemic recovery donations, and Wee Wei Ling (Pan Pacific Hotels Group) for her commitment to disability inclusion. Continue reading in Forbes Asia →

Donations for schools, universities across the region. Robin Zeng, founder and Chairman of Chinese battery producer CATL, pledges US$206 million to his alma mater, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Philanthropists Mahmudul Huq and Monisha Anwar Huq donate ৳38 million (approximately US$440,534) to Independent University, Bangladesh, through their endowment trust. And BASF Vietnam joins forces with partner companies to break ground on its sixth school renovation project in rural areas.

Boosting support for small businesses, entrepreneurs. In India, tech corporations including Microsoft and Accenture look at ways to go beyond “chequebook philanthropy”, offering technical support and mentorships to startups looking to scale solutions to social problems. In Cambodia, state-owned Khmer Enterprise is working with Oxfam and Platform Impact Co to accelerate and grow SMEs, while at the same time educating entrepreneurs about social and environmental considerations for businesses that plan to reach international markets.

Companies in Asia make bold commitments in sustainability push. Malaysia’s CIMB Group pledges RM30 billion (approximately US$7.133 billion) for sustainable financing as part of its mission to become a regional leader for sustainability. CMFL Hong Kong signs its first sustainability-linked term loan worth US$445.7 million, a reflection of the increasing urgency for the shipping sector to implement ESG practices. HSBC Indonesia’s president director says partnership is key to meeting the climate change financing gap. The company is planning US$1 trillion in sustainable finance and investments globally by 2030. The Philippines’ Aboitiz Foundation partners with national and local government to innovate around community disaster and climate change adaptation. India Climate Collaborative, writing for The Times of India, highlights the role of private funds in meeting environmental challenges: “Philanthropic capital has an indispensable role to play in the crisis, given its intrinsic ability to be patient, flexible, compassionate, and ambitious.”

New reports on the state of the social sector, philanthropy. The US Agency for International Development releases its 2020 Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index for Asia, covering key issues in eight economies across the region. Unsurprisingly, the ongoing pandemic emerges as a key challenge facing civil society organizations, as are political tensions, movement of refugees and the tightening of regulations by governments. And Mercer’s latest report looks at the top considerations for endowments and foundations in 2022, highlighting how growing Chinese wealth, sustainability and impact investing will likely affect the business of doing good in the coming year.

Communities come together to do good. Shanghai’s charity month goes digital, with a new online donation platform launched via the city’s public service app. It is hoped that the greater ease of donation will encourage more people to give, directing funds towards supporting at-need households in Shanghai. And rural Cambodian district Tboung Khmum constructs 667 wells thanks to philanthropic donations from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

Have a story to share? Contact us at research@caps.org.

CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

24 November – 8 December 2021
Dear Friends,

Asia’s wealth keeps growing. In fact, there are more wealthy Asians than wealthy Europeans, and they have great potential to do good. A recent SCMP article based on a Wealth-X report highlights how young our region’s wealthy are: their average age is 31 compared to 42 in Europe. For those passing on their wealth, mostly aged 70 to 80, philanthropy is one of their main interests. We know from our own research that education and healthcare are among the top targets of philanthropy in Asia, but we’re also seeing trends such as increasing interest in environment and sustainability-focused projects.

Best,

Ruth A. Shapiro
Co-Founder and Chief Executive

Philanthropy in Singapore is flowing to underprivileged groups that have been greatly affected by the pandemic. The families of Khoo Teck Puat and Ng Teng Fong are working with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Foundation, using a S$20 million (approximately US$14.6 million) donation from the businessmen’s estates to assist the migrant worker community. Philanthropic foundation Ngee Ann Kongsi is also providing financial assistance to more than 1,000 low-income students at the Institute of Technical Education.

Giving behavior in the city-state has also shifted during the pandemic. A 2021 report by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre finds an 11% increase in volunteerism and informal donations in the past 12 months, away from established organizations. The use of online giving channels has also increased, following a worldwide trend accelerated by the pandemic.

Yuexiu Group’s latest donation to The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The HK$100 million (approximately US$13 million) is the most recent of several annual donations and the start of a new partnership for research, innovation and capacity building. Continue reading on the HKUST website →

Japan’s banks to boost impact investing. The new Japan Impact-driven Financing Initiative boasts some of the country’s biggest names in finance, including MUFG Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust and Shinsei Bank. Signatories will work together to bolster Japan’s impact investing market, sharing action plans and best practices, as well as improving in-house strategy. The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment estimates Japan’s market has grown from US$300 million in 2016 to US$4.5 billion in 2020. Continue reading in Pioneers Post →

Finance companies call for ESG transparency. HSBC, HKEX and Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad are among the Asian financial institutions joining a global effort to corporate ESG disclosures. This continues the momentum garnered at COP26 and calls for increased green finance. Continue reading in Eco-Business →

Cambodia’s Prince Group Chairman sends pandemic support to Laos. Neak Oknha Chen Zhi, Chairman of Prince Holding Group, donates US$2 million to assist the government of Laos in its efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. This is in addition to the US$1 million he donated in September. Continue reading in Khmer Times →

Giving in India is becoming more inclusive and collaborative. Wealth management advisors are seeing more and more young, upwardly mobile, working professionals pledging to support nonprofit organizations addressing social causes or engaging in impact investing. GiveIndia’s Sumit Tayal points to Covid-19 as triggering “the rapid pooling of collective resources and a heightened sense of purpose and awareness of how philanthropy can bring about measurable social change.” And SSIR looks at the potential of blended finance to address social challenges in India, and key barriers to overcome if these strategies are to be effective.

Have a story to share? Contact us at research@caps.org

New Nature Economy: Asia’s next wave

Temasek, World Economic Forum & AlphaBeta

Asia-Pacific is at the epicenter of the global biodiversity crisis. This report highlights the significant economic impact of biodiversity and nature loss on the region and makes the case for investing in nature-positive developments that could boost GDP, promote job growth and counteract the risks of biodiversity loss. The report spotlights three key sectors where transformation is critical to achieve the nature-positive economies: 1) food, land and ocean use; 2) infrastructure and built environment; and 3) energy and extractives. The report concludes with several recommendations that could accelerate the economy-wide shift towards nature-positive developments. Read it here.

Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2021

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

This report is the fifth in a series from ESCAP to track progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Using an index measuring the region’s anticipated advancement towards meeting the SDGs’ 169 targets, the report identifies priority actions to address points of stagnation and regression. While the report makes use of data that pre-date the pandemic, it nevertheless outlines the potential impact of Covid-19 on SDG implementation across key thematic areas including health, employments, fiscal stimulus, social cohesion and the environment. Read it here.

Promoting Social Bonds for Impact Investments in Asia

Asia Development Bank

There has been a surge in social bond issuance amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This report reviews the status and trends of the social bond market in Asia and explores its contribution to tackling the region’s urgent social issues. To make best use of social bonds, the report suggests focusing on areas where bonds could yield the greatest social impact. Areas highlighted include the vulnerabilities in health, education, food and water systems that the COVID-19 crisis has exposed and advancing gender equity and supporting small-to-medium enterprises.

In addition, the report identifies the need for policymakers to support the development of common standards of information disclosure and impact measurement. Read it here.

How Young Entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific Responded to Covid-19

Youth Co:Lab

One year on from the start of the pandemic, this report looks at the impact that COVID-19 has had on youth-led enterprises in the Asia-Pacific. The report, conducted by Youth Co:lab in collaboration with UNDP and Citi Foundation, details how lockdowns, shrinking demand, supply chain disruptions and a credit crunch challenged these enterprises during the pandemic. It showcases a range of the innovative responses and solutions from young entrepreneurs, from pivoting business strategy, launching new products and services and transforming business models.

Findings are based on a survey conducted one-year on from the start of the crisis, which sought responses from 376 participants in 30 countries and territories in the region. Read it here.

CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

10 November – 23 November 2021

Dear Friends,

I recently had the privilege of speaking at our partner MSD Vietnam’s web conference, Responsible Business in the Context of Covid-19. As evidenced by early results from the Doing Good Index 2022, the social sector in Vietnam is poised to go through a number of changes. Vietnam’s elevation to a middle-income country has resulted in a decline in foreign aid, which historically social delivery organizations have largely relied on. Promisingly, some signs of adaption within the social sector are visible as local individual and corporate social investment is beginning to take a more expansive role.

Warm regards,
Ruth A. Shapiro
Co-Founder and Chief Executive

 

 

Cross-sector collaborations target climate action. The Asian Development Bank is aiming to mobilize US$100 million in catalytic capital from public and private sources to incentivize climate investments and help Asian economies transition towards net-zero emissions. Michael Bloomberg says India is a model for public-private collaboration for the climate: “Success will only come by making full partners of the private sector – and India is showing how it can be done.”

Regional and international companies pledge to address social needs across Asia. Corporate philanthropy across the region can benefit communities and address needs, helping to supplement government or social sector support. Ayala Corporation launches Alagang AyalaLand Center for social enterprises in Quezon City, Philippines, one of 32 similar centers that can support a potential 4,000 jobs for the community. Supermarket giant Wellcome aims to raise HK$5 million (approximately US$641,000) in Hong Kong and Macau through a rice donation program amid rising poverty. In Singapore, UBS pledges S$2 million (approximately US$1.47 million) funding for mangrove conservation across Asia. And Google makes a US$1 million donation to Taiwan FactCheck Centre for fighting disinformation, as well as pledging US$2.5 million for women’s empowerment in India.

Pakistan Petroleum Limited largest corporate giver. Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) awarded the company the Corporate Philanthropy Award for its giving in 2019-20. PCP–CAPS’ partner for the Doing Good Index—has also released the findings of its latest survey on corporate philanthropy in Pakistan. Continue reading in The News International→

Kamath brothers launch Young India Philanthropic Pledge. Zerodha co-founders Nikhil and Nithin Kamath pledge a quarter of their wealth to philanthropy. The Young India Philanthropic Pledge will see signatories (aged 45 and younger) pledging 25% of their wealth with a minimum annual spend of ₹1 crore (approximately US$134,000). Continue reading in The CSR Journal→

Collaboration between business and civil society. Recognizing each other’s strengths and expertise can be a good starting point for effective partnerships. NGOs often possess a nuanced understanding of the risk landscape as it relates to underrepresented groups. They are well placed to provide contextual knowledge in areas where corporations may lack. This resonates with our Doing Good Index 2020, which found that 11 economies in Asia are witnessing a rise in corporate social responsibility and public-private partnerships for social good. Continue reading in Nikkei Asia→

How has Covid-19 impacted NGOs in the Philippines? As part of CAPS’ biennial survey for the Doing Good Index, the Association of Foundations surveyed 150 NGOs to understand how they have adjusted and sustained their work during the pandemic. Findings from the survey show nine out of 10 NGOs are directly supporting Covid-19 relief efforts, many of which have formed new collaborations with government, corporates and other NGOs as a result. Meanwhile, efforts to safeguard communities against Covid-19 continues as the Aboitiz Group fully vaccinates over 9,000 in Davao, Philippines.

Sri Lanka’s wheelchair tennis receives donations. The US$30,000 donation came from Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) and China Merchants Foundation (CMF). This latest donation brings the cumulative value of CICT’s and CMF’s financial support to Sri Lanka’s wheelchair tennis program over the past six years to approximately US$203,700. Continue reading in the Sunday Observer→

Malaysian investors can now donate their unit trust funds to charity. Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd (ASNB) launches new Wakaf ASNB service, allowing investors to contribute to charity through their investing. Continue reading in the Malay Mail→

Have a story to share? Contact us at research@caps.org.

CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

27 October 2021 – 09 November 2021

COP26 spurs increase in partnerships for climate action. The Climate Finance Leadership Initiative India announced its nine founding members ahead of the climate conference, which include Tata Sons, State Bank of India, Larsen & Toubro, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HSBC and Singapore’s GIC Private Limited. The initiative will focus efforts on accelerating the flow of private finance to climate actions in India.

In addition, the Bezos Earth Fund pledged US$500 million in seed capital to The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, to bring renewable energy to 1 billion of the world’s poorest. The alliance aims to increase this to US$100 billion within a decade by leveraging both multilateral and private capital, reports the Financial Times. Initial projects will target economies in Asia (India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan), as well as Africa and Latin America. And Bill Gates reflects on the significance of COP26 and the shifts in the role that the private sector can play in combating environmental challenges.

Azim Premji tops the 2021 EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List. Premji’s family increased their giving by 27% compared to last year, reports India Today. Nine women were featured on the list, including nonprofit founder Rohini Nilekani, who was named India’s “most generous woman philanthropist”. CAPS spoke with Rohini earlier in the year about her push for water and education philanthropy in India. Continue reading in India Today →

Asian billionaires are donating big to support higher education. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, the founder of Vietjet and Vietnam’s wealthiest woman, donates £155 million (approximately US$211 million) to Oxford college. Her donation, the largest received by Oxford in at least 500 years, will see Linacre College renamed “Thao College”, reports The Guardian. Indonesian entrepreneur Tandean Rustandy makes a US$1.25 million donation to the University of Colorado, Boulder. The major gift from the founder of ceramic tiles business PT Arwana Citramulia Tbk will support scholarships that link business and engineering studies.

India’s first Skills Impact Bond launches, set to benefit 50,000 youths over the next four years. The US$14.4 million fund is a collaboration between the National Skill Development Corporation and a coalition of global philanthropic, corporate and government partners. Partners will work to promote effective interventions, support research and enhance the impact of the skill development program. Women and girls, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, will constitute 60% of the target group, reports The Times of IndiaContinue reading in The Times of India →

Green and sustainable finance continues to gain traction in Asia. Singapore-headquartered Tembusu Partners and Eco Business launch the Sustainable Future Fund. The targeted US$100 million, Asia-focused fund will invest in climate opportunity areas including energy, sustainable cities and the circular economy. Thailand’s Indorama Ventures issues a US$300 million sustainability-linked bond. The bond will be the largest of its kind issued in Thailand, according to The Asset. Indorama says the bond is aligned with international standards and will be made available to both institutional and high-net worth individual investors.

Have a story to share? Contact us at research@caps.org.

CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

15 September 2021 – 28 September 2021

Hong Kong-based Yidan Prize Foundation unveils 2021 award winners. Regarded as one of the world’s highest education accolades, the Yidan Prize recognizes individuals and teams with significant contributions to education research and education development. This year’s Yidan Prize for Education Research laureate is Stanford University’s Professor Eric Hanushek, and the Yidan Prize for Education Development laureate is Dr. Rukmini Banerji of the Pratham Education Foundation. Each laureate will be awarded HK$30 million (approximately US$3.9 million). Continue reading on Yidan Prize’s website →

Pakistan’s local startups see record investment. Maqsad raised the nation’s largest edtech funding to date of US$2.1 million, marking the latest milestone among the nation’s startup industry, reports Bloomberg. In total, the country’s startups have raised over US$244 million in 2021—more than the previous six years combined, according to venture capital fund, Invest2Innovate. There is even more room for growth; according to CAPS’ study Business for Good, only 26% of social enterprises in Pakistan receive private investment. Continue reading in Bloomberg →

Tencent’s “99 Giving Day” 2021 raises ¥4.2 billion (approximately US$649.5 million). This year’s event spanned 10 days and saw over 68.7 million donors contribute ¥3.6 billion (approximately US$557 million), while Tencent Charity Foundation pledged to give ¥600 million (approximately US$92.5 million). Continue reading on Tencent’s website →

Bloomberg Philanthropies and Goldman Sachs pledge US$25 million to advancing clean energy solutions in South and Southeast Asia. The new Climate Innovation Fund, to be managed by the Asian Development Bank, will focus on clean energy solutions in India and Vietnam to begin with. This initial philanthropic funding has the potential to unlock up to US$500 million in private and government investments. Continue reading on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ website →

Corporates, governments and foundations continue contributing to Covid-19 relief and aid efforts in the region. BRAC Bank and SME Foundation signed an agreement to provide loans to help small businesses in Bangladesh recover from the impact of the pandemic. The Philippines’ SM Group intensifies vaccination of employees and stakeholders. The Macquarie Group Foundation allocated AU$20 million (approximately US$14.5 million) to 40 community organizations around the world working to combat Covid-19. This included helping seed two Gender Lens Funds in the Philippines. In Vietnam, the American Chamber of Commerce donated over VND5.2 billion (US$227,000) for the purchase of essential medical equipment. Intel Malaysia earmarked a second round of funding amounting to RM2 million (approximately US$477,000) towards relief efforts.

Have a story to share? Contact us at research@caps.org.