Temasek Trust launches Asia’s first Centre aimed at advancing Impact Investing

The Centre for Impact Investing and Practices will also encourage private capital to fund positive impact outcomes.

Impact investing focuses on generating positive and measurable social or environmental impact, alongside reaping a financial return.

Temasek Trust, the philanthropic arm of Temasek, a global investment company headquartered in Singapore launched the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices (CIIP) on 16 June 2022. The Centre is a first in Asia and aims to advance impact investing knowledge and practices in Asia and around the world.

At the virtual launch of CIIP, Ms Cheo Hock Kuan, CEO of Temasek Trust, said, “The work at Temasek Trust supports a common purpose of doing good, uplifting lives and advancing communities in Singapore, Asia and beyond.”

She added that the CIIP will pool its strengths and collaborate with like-minded partners to build capacity in effective impact measurement and management tools and practices, hence, encouraging private firms to pursue positive impact outcomes.

Ms Dawn Chan, CEO of CIIP said in her opening address, “The CIIP was set up with the belief that impact investing would spur solutions to address the challenges that our world is facing today. We will take a collaborative approach, and work with regional and global stakeholders to enlarge the impact investing eco-system in Asia and foster Asian thought leadership in impact investing.”

Among the attendees at the virtual launch was Mr Marcos Neto, director of the Sustainable Finance Hub under the United Nations Development Programme, who also delivered the keynote address from Jakarta. He highlighted how incentives in the financial system should be aligned with societal goals that included the need to realise sustainable development goals.

Mr Neto also expressed hope that the impact investing community will lead the way to a new normal, providing an alternative to the environmental, social and governance approach for investors wanting to direct capital towards positive sustainable development outcomes.

Launch of inaugural report

CIIP also launched its inaugural report, “Scaling Impact in Asia: Achieving Purpose and Profit” at the event. A collaboration between information technology services and consulting firm Accenture and Singapore Management University (SMU), the report not only uncovers the unique challenges and significant opportunities to drive impact in Asia, but also extends the scope of existing research by providing tangible, real-life examples from practitioners on the ground.

Panel discussions featuring eminent speakers

Two virtual panel discussions were held during the event featuring eminent speakers from across Asia. The theme of the first panel discussion was “Asia’s Impact Landscape and Opportunities”, and discussions centred on the importance of scaling impact, how Asia’s distinct landscape lends itself to ample opportunities for impact investing, and the need for multilateral partnership to build the ecosystem. Speakers  included  Ms Angela Bai, Former Founding Secretary-General, China Alliance of Social Value Investment and CEO, SusallWave; Mr Ramraj Pai, CEO, Impact Investors Council, India and Ms Vivi Yulaswati, Senior Advisor to the Indonesian Minister of National Development Planning for Social Affairs and Poverty Reduction.

Mr Rajiv B. Lall, Professorial Research Fellow, Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics, SMU and Advisor, CIIP moderated the discussion. He also shared that the Singapore Green Finance Centre (SGFC), jointly established by SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Imperial College Business School, is keen to contribute to the building of an ecosystem for Sustainable Finance in Singapore and the region.

Dr Lall said, “With the use of impact still in its nascent stages in Asia, the SGFC is pleased to partner with CIIP to achieve a deeper understanding of impact investing and impact practice.”

The second panel discussion on “Bringing Impact to Life – Perspectives from Investors and Business” featured Mr Tan Shao Ming, Chief Investment Officer, ABC Impact; Mr Pranav Kumar, Director, LeapFrog Investments; Mr Suresh Sundararajan, CEO, Olam Ventures and Mr Farouk Meralli, CEO, SwipeRx. Its moderator was Ms Alison Kennedy, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Accenture.

The panellists shared how they are responding to the huge, untapped market opportunity in Asia — from empowering the hundreds of millions of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises and smallholder farmers in the region, to developing a roadmap for a just climate transition and providing goods and services to a growing population of first-time consumers. They agreed that this market opportunity means that impact can be delivered at scale and new technology and digitally-enabled business models can expand the reach of previously unaffordable products and services to a large population with increased purchasing power.

During the discussion, Ms Kennedy also highlighted, “There are tremendous opportunities in Asia to harness the power of technology and human talent to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. The use of technology to scale commercially viable models is a game-changer across countries and sectors, as is the clear intention and commitment by increasing numbers of investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders to deliver more than just strong profits.”

Congratulations from SBF

The SBF congratulates Temasek Trust on the launch of CIIP. As Singapore’s apex business chamber, SBF is committed to advancing impact investment and has been on the look-out for green growth opportunities for its members. In its policy paper “Sustainability in Business, Sustainability as Business”, Mr Lim Ming Yan, SBF Chairman, wrote, “Businesses play a pivotal role in accelerating the green economy. This policy paper identifies four opportunities and ten recommendations that would support businesses in capitalising on environmental sustainability for growth. SBF is committed to working with like-minded partners across the private and public sectors to take concrete steps towards building a resilient future for ourselves and generations to come.”

For the SBF Sustainability Policy Paper, please click here.

For the Sustainability Employment Webpage, click here.