Abstract/Short version: Singapore – 25-28 June 2019. Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) hosted the Seventh AVPN Conference with the theme “breaking boundaries” in Suntec Convention Centre Singapore. The conference was attended by 2500 participants including foundations, philanthropists, social enterprises, government agencies, private companies, and impact investors. The AVPN conference aimed to bring non-financial and financial resources towards supporting high impact areas across Asia.
When implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the access to finance has been a problem particularly for philanthropists and social enterprises in Asia. On the other hand, the investors were facing challenges to ensure that their funds were invested in the right track to create significant impacts towards social, ecology, and economic purposes. Although there was the growing interest of sustainable investment from many different charities in the UK, the US, and Europe to invest in Asia, only 6% of the total investment went to Asia and the Pacific. Therefore, the development of the sustainable finance sector in Asia is pertinent so as to move the money to more productive works.
Besides discussion on sustainable finance and investment, participants and representatives from multinational companies had discussions on plastic waste, which is becoming the main environmental problem in Asia. To overcome plastic waste problems, the collaboration with many stakeholders, including governments, was deemed important by participants so as to develop solutions such as building waste banks as a way of supporting zero waste. The promotion of waste enterprise was needed as many people were still not aware of the social, economic, and ecological values of this enterprise though there was capital and opportunities in the market.
To expedite the achievement of SDGs at all levels, companies were also encouraged to include environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) into their business activities. B corps are one example of imposing a recognition to stimulate enterprises to align their business activities with ESG to create influential impacts. Furthermore, the participants agreed that government and policy makers had to be engaged to create a conducive economy for ESG to be in place. Government support was also needed to create a political environment that drives innovation and technology as well as to encourages people’s mindset towards supporting sustainability impacts.
SDSN Indonesia took notes on the pertinent role of ESG within sustainable business practices as well as the role of social enterprise to handle environmental problems, including plastic waste. SDSN Indonesia and SDSN Youth Indonesia had been actively involved in the promotion of social enterprise on zero waste, including combating plastic use. SDSN Indonesia was involved by holding a grant competition and forum for discussion that would change peoples’ behavior to reduce the use of plastics.