COVID-19 has exacerbated income inequalities and social disparities across Asia, serving as a force multiplier for trends already in place. Assessing performance across four sub-indexes – Regulations, Tax and Fiscal Policy, Ecosystem, and Procurement – CAPS’ biennial flagship study, the Doing Good Index 2022, examines the social investment landscape in Asia. Read here.
Asia’s social sector sees a funding decline
In Conversation With Ruth Shapiro, Founder and Chief Executive of Centre for Asia Philanthropy and Society
According to the Doing Good Index 2022, which analyses the social investment landscape in Asia, Covid-19 has exacerbated social disparities and income inequalities and across the region. We talk to Dr. Ruth Shapiro, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS), which conducts the study biennially, about the pandemic’s impact on people in Asia, her work and improving Hong Kong’s social sector. Read here.
Funding for Asian NGOs falls amid tighter regulations
Almost half of Asia’s social delivery organisations have reported a decline in funding in the last 12 months, some as much as 50 percent, according to new research. The Hong Kong-based Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) surveyed more than 2,000 entities and some 120 experts across 17 Asian economies, including India, Pakistan, China, and Singapore. Read here.
The Doing Good Index Reveals Asia’s Social Sector Sees a Funding Decline Despite Having the Highest Pandemic-Induced Poverty Globally
Covid-19 has exacerbated income inequalities and social disparities across Asia, serving as a force multiplier for trends already in place. A new social impact study released today by the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) shows how to maximize philanthropic and policy responses to cope with these post-Covid challenges. Read here.
Doing Good Index 2022
Doing Good Index microsite
Our interactive microsite lets you visualize, explore and compare our data. Use our graphics and maps to help you understand Asia at a glance. The data dashboard allows you to compare economies and track changes across time. Economy profiles present a visual and digestible deep dive into each economy.
What is the Doing Good Index?
The Doing Good Index 2022 is the most comprehensive social impact index in Asia to date, highlighting the factors that drive or hinder private capital flowing towards social and economic challenges across 17 Asian economies.
The Doing Good Index comes at a critical time when economies have been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Inequalities have been exacerbated, and hard-won progress in social and economic growth has been undone. An estimated two-thirds of those newly forced into poverty live in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific.
To address these shared challenges, all parts of society—individuals, companies, government and the social sector—must work together to drive more resources towards building a better future together. The Doing Good Index shows how. It provides a roadmap of the policies and practices that can unleash this capital by mitigating the trust deficit; leveraging local support; and facilitating cross-sector collaboration.
In 2022 we surveyed 2,239 SDOs and interviewed 126 experts across 17 Asian economies. In mapping the landscape of social investment, the study examines four sub-indices: Regulations, Tax and Fiscal Policy, Ecosystem, and Procurement. We also include a section on how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the social sector.
The Doing Good Index is published every two years. Read the inaugural edition from 2018 and our 2020 edition.
DECODED: Blended Finance in Action in Asia
Our DECODED series unpacks, explains and crystallizes issues critical for social investment in Asia. It draws upon our expertise in research and access to an extensive network of sector experts and philanthropists in 18 Asian economies. This enables us to identify emerging trends in the region. Through DECODED, we translate these concepts into digestible insights.
This edition of DECODED explains what blended finance is and how it is deployed in Asia. The initiatives emerging in this region illustrate how blended finance can be a win-win strategy to pool private and public capital and bridge a yawning funding gap in the wake of Covid-19.
Public-Private Partnerships for Social Good
There is a growing trend in Asia of governments and the private sector coming together to address social needs, and our latest study spotlights these “public-private partnerships for social good.” With 88% of top business leaders in Asia believing such partnerships will become even more common over the next five years, it is more important than ever to understand what they are and how they work.
We conducted an in-depth analysis of 20 notable PPPs for social good spanning 11 Asian economies and 9 sectors to find out. Our report showcases why this trend is taking root, what best-in-class PPPs for social good look like, and how they maximize impact.
The report sets out 6 strategies that enable public-private partnerships for social good to achieve greater impact, how they can prepare for sustainability, and how they can navigate risks.
Sustainable Investment – Impact in Asia
This book explores the advances in sustainable investment in Asia, tracing its evolution from philanthropy to impact investing and ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are noted as a key driver of developments in this field.
The book also looks at the critical role of government and private sector players in facilitating and financing sustainable investments. Successful examples of sustainable investment across Asia include Japan’s private sector investment innovations, the burgeoning Green Bonds market in Asia, blended social finance in China, impact investing in Sri Lanka, and regional developments in Southeast and South Asia. Read it here.
DECODED: Asia’s social sector takes on Covid-19
Our DECODED series unpacks, explains and crystallizes issues critical for social investment in Asia. DECODED draws upon CAPS’ expertise in research, and access to an extensive network of sector experts and philanthropists in 18 Asian economies. This enables us to identify emerging trends in the region. Through DECODED, we translate these concepts into digestible insights.
This inaugural DECODED synthesizes how the social sector across Asia has risen to the occasion in responding to Covid-19, and what comes next. We end with recommendations for philanthropists, corporates and policymakers who want to invest in helping Asia’s social sectors thrive.
2021: Reflections and Outlook
We welcome 2021 with hope, not only for successful vaccination programs, but also for a year of recovery and rebuilding.
After the initial coronavirus outbreak in China, there was an immediate response from Chinese philanthropists and tech giants. Jack Ma was one of the first movers with a US$14.4 million donation for vaccine development, alongside donations from Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Huawei, and ByteDance. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was also an early mover, escalating its contributions as the year went on.
As Covid spread to other countries in early March, donations and support ramped up across the region. Familiar names in philanthropy (Li Ka Shing, Ratan Tata and Azim Premji, to name a few) donated large sums. Some unfamiliar names cropped up, such as Kakao founder Kim Beom-su. And other Asian philanthropists began to send aid to the US and Europe as needs shifted.
When the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March 2020, CSR quickly took new shape, and some companies set up their own Covid-19 relief funds, including Alibaba (US$144 million), Tencent (US$100 million), Sony (US$100 million), Bajaj Group (US$14 million), and Godrej Group (US$7 million).
A number of ‘Prime Minister Relief Funds’ or similar taskforces were set up—and in turn, companies were encouraged to donate to them. This includes India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs announced that the spending of CSR funds towards Covid-19 initiatives would be counted as CSR activity under the Companies Act.
Donations were also channeled to public health research and vaccine development. China Vanke Co donated US$748 million to Tsinghua University to establish the Vanke School of Public Health. Uniqlo’s Tadashi Yanai donated US$93 million to Kyoto University for vaccine research.
Companies also took a “not business as usual” approach by pivoting their production lines or launching new operations to make medical supplies. This includes Japanese companies Sony, Toyota, Suntory, Mitsubishi Motors, Fast Retailing, and Shiseido, as well as Vingroup (Vietnam), Indorama Ventures (Thailand), Reliance (India), and New World Development (Hong Kong). Other companies donated their own F&B products to assuage food insecurity.
Major banks offered financial relief measures. Owners of major malls in the Philippines and Thailand offered rent relief for their tenants. Some companies diverted their advertising budgets for relief efforts or awareness-raising campaigns.
As the pandemic upended education globally, businesses stepped in to help bridge the digital divide. Companies provided digital tools (i.e., mobile phones and software), improved internet access for students, and offered digital literacy training. Mi India donated smartphones to students in under-resourced communities through Teach for India. PLDT teamed up with schools, Microsoft, and Google to make digital solutions more accessible for the education sector in the Philippines. Tencent leveraged their online learning platform to make online teaching accessible for 20 million students within a matter of days.
While these are just a few examples of how corporates rose to the occasion in 2020, it also underscores the need for even greater private social investment this year. But what might 2021 look like?
1. Despite exacerbated CSR budgets, there will be growing political and social pressure on corporates to give more and do more.
2. During Covid, many corporates leveraged the reach of and trust in nonprofits to distribute resources to those most in need. We expect this to continue as the social sector is well positioned to help maximize the reach and impact of CSR.
3. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) will continue to grow in number and importance as economies focus on vaccine distribution and rebuilding. We also expect there to be an uptick in what we call “PPPs for social good” as the pandemic has exacerbated inequities in income, education, and other areas.
With increased corporate support in 2020, we are cautiously optimistic that they will continue to play a more active role alongside government and the social sector. As we monitor these developments, we will keep you apprised through our upcoming newsletters and research reports.
Best wishes for the year ahead!
The CAPS Team