Partnerships Key to Social Impact Outcomes in Asia Pacific – Summit
Saturday, 5th October 2013 at 6:03 pm
Understanding the unique demands of the Asia Pacific region and partnerships between government, Not for Profits and business emerged as key ways to achieve better social impact outcomes at the recent 2013 Asia Pacific Corporate Community Impact Summit in Sydney.
The invitation-only event, hosted by United Way, a global Not for Profit working to boost community development, brought together more than 100 corporate leaders from Australia and abroad to address their roles as regional corporate citizens.
Lisa George, the Global Head at the Macquarie Group Foundation, the philanthropic arm of finance giant the Macquarie Group, said that the capacity to have immediate impact in the developing countries of the region with a relatively small amount of funding was a unique benefit of working in Asia Pacific.
She admitted that funding in Asian projects may not seem as significant as that seen from philanthropists in the US or the UK, but that “dollars belie impact” in the region.
As many Asian nations were still developing, George said, corporates working in the region had to focus on relief rather than long-term outcomes.
“Because there’s so much immediate need in Asia what we find is that we’re often funding these immediate needs. Capacity building and sector building we’re often not doing because the need is so great,” she said.
General Manager of the KT CSV Group Hope Sharing Foundation in Korea, Jong-Il Lee, through a translator, said differences in best corporate community impact practice at local, regional and global scales needed to be acknowledged.
“We have to combine. With the Dream Together project, we had different regions, we had a few centres, so when we thought about best practice, we also had a common goal but still we could see the different characteristics of different regions and we still had to reflect those differences – there’s no one answer, rather, a combining,” he said.
Catherine Hunter, Head of Corporate Citizenship at KPMG and Chair of the Board of the United Nations Global Compact Network Australia said a sustainability reporting framework such as the UN Global Compact could address the challenges posed by regional diversity.
“A principles-based approach provides that flexibility to implement at a local level. It’s absolutely vital we take a principled approach to take a culturally sensitive approach,” she said.
Matthew Tukaki, Executive Chairman and CEO of the Sustain Group and Chairperson of the Local Networks Advisory Group at the United Nations Global Compact spoke about the ways in which regulatory principles and systems could influence future CSR projects in the Asia Pacific region.
Tukaki was clear in his views about the way to press forward.
“Civil society is an untapped goldmine of opportunities,” he said. “They have things business don’t have.”
He spoke of civil society offering things business could use, including technical expertise, intelligence about what was going on in local communities and delivery mechanisms for impact projects.
He said government, meanwhile, could provide policy guidance and both financial and material support to business.
“Government is not a never ending bucket of money and nor should they (be),” he said.