Temasek Trust launches Centre for Impact Investing and Practices to promote growth of impact investing and practices in Asia
Published on 16/06/2022
First-of-its-kind centre in Asia to advance impact investing knowledge and practices
Inaugural research report issued to uncover unique challenges and significant opportunities to drive impact in Asia
Singapore, 16 June 2022 – Temasek Trust, the philanthropic arm of Temasek, launched the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices (CIIP) today. The Centre is a first in Asia, and it aims to advance impact investing knowledge and practices in Asia and around the world.
Impact investing encompasses the intention to generate positive and measurable social or environmental impact, alongside a compelling risk-adjusted return. The establishment of CIIP as a non-profit centre marks an important milestone in Temasek Trust’s journey to establish impact investing as an effective lever for sustainability. The Trust launched ABC Impact, a private equity fund dedicated to impact investing in Asia in 2019, and in 2021, entered into a strategic collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) SDG Impact as its anchor partner for Asia to drive the adoption and utilisation of impact tools.
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. We believe that impact investing can be mainstreamed to play a critical role in addressing the pressing social and environmental challenges of our time. CIIP will pool our strengths and work with like-minded partners to build capacity in effective impact measurement and management tools and practices, to encourage private capital to pursue positive impact outcomes.”
Ms Dawn Chan, CEO of CIIP, said, “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. The Centre will focus on building knowledge assets and enhancing capabilities, championing credible and practical industry standards, and convening stakeholders to bring about positive action towards impact investing.”
Inaugural CIIP Report - “Scaling Impact in Asia: Achieving Purpose and Profit”
Globally, achieving the Sustinable Development Goals (SDGs) remains an important priority. According to the OECD, developing countries are facing a shortfall of over US$4 trillion to keep them on track for the SDGs. Just 20% of global financial assets are held in developing countries, where more than 80% of people on the planet live. Impact investments are an important means of harnessing capital to address the world’s most pressing challenges, while realising strong risk-adjusted financial returns.
To derive a better understanding on how impact is being delivered in Asia, CIIP collaborated with Accenture and Singapore Management University (SMU) to develop the report, “Scaling Impact in Asia: Achieving Purpose and Profit”. 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. Insights are drawn from stories and data from Asia, which includes the Southeast Asian countries, China, and India. Five case studies on the impact journeys of regional players accompany the report. The findings of CIIP’s inaugural report were shared at the launch event (refer to Annex A; full report available at www.ciip.com.sg/learnings-from-the-field).
Dr Rajiv Lall, Management Committee Member at the Singapore Green Finance Centre (SGFC) and Professorial Research Fellow at the Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics at SMU, said, “The Singapore Green Finance Centre, 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. 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. This Asia-focused report features case studies of a wide range of companies and investors from across the region, offers useful insights and provides a point of reference for real world practitioners for their impact journey.”
Ms Alison Kennedy, Strategy & Consulting Lead and Sustainability Services Lead at Accenture Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia at Accenture, said, “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 profit.”
Leading the Impact Investing Charge in Asia
In a keynote speech delivered at the launch event, Mr Marcos Neto, Director of Sustainable Finance Hub, UNDP, remarked that the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approach has largely served as a financial risk management tool, and was not designed to manage organisations’ impacts on sustainable development outcomes. He noted that despite the increasing awareness and proliferation of global ESG metrics, products, and funds focused on ESG assets, the global SDG financing gap has continued to widen. He opined that incentives in the financial system should be aligned with societal goals - including to realise the SDGs, and expressed hope that the impact investing community will lead the way to a new normal, providing an alternative to ESG for investors wanting to intentionally direct capital towards positive sustainable development outcomes. He congratulated Temasek Trust and CIIP on leading the impact investing charge in Asia, bringing together investors seeking a more resilient, sustainable and impactful way of investing.
As part of the launch, CIIP hosted panel discussions among eminent speakers from across Asia, who shared on the importance of scaling impact, how Asia’s distinct landscape lends itself to ample opportunities for impact, and the need for multilateral partnership to build the ecosystem. Investors and business leaders also shared how they are responding to the huge, untapped market opportunity in Asia driven by under-served populations - 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. This market opportunity means that impact can be delivered at scale - new technology and digitally-enabled business models can expand the reach of previously unaffordable products and services to a large population with rising purchasing power.
There is significant potential to increase private capital allocation from companies, investors, and philanthropists towards impact outcomes for the well-being of communities in Asia and around the world. CIIP is pleased to be part of the impact investing ecosystem, and work with partners to bring this about. The “Scaling Impact in Asia” report and the accompanying case studies are examples of knowledge assets which CIIP will develop and make available for public use. In many of the discussions held with investors and companies, there have been calls for more conversations about thinking purposefully and strategically about impact, and building deeper capabilities and upskilling talent in this direction. Hence, in the months ahead, CIIP will give priority to unveiling education modules and courses, and working with partners such as the Wealth Management Institute and Singapore Business Federation to bring them to the community.
 OECD (2020), Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development 2021: A New Way to Invest for People and Planet, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/e3c30a9a-en.
 CIIP, Accenture and SMU (2022), Scaling Impact in Asia: Achieving Purpose and Profit.
For more information, please refer to:
- Annex A - “Scaling Impact in Asia: Achieving Purpose and Profit” - Extract
- Annex B - Webinar Session
- Annex C - Quote Sheet
Launch of CIIP - Annexes (.pdf)