ASEAN CSR Fellowship: Inaugural Batch (2017)

ACN launched its inaugural ASEAN CSR Fellowship on 9 Jan 2017. This programme aims to deepen cross-border perspectives and build up the next generation of CSR leaders for responsible business in Southeast Asia, harnessing their potential to address key regional issues in business & anti-corruption, business & human rights,  and food security & sustainable agriculture. 16 Fellows were selected from 8 ASEAN countries to participate in a series of study tours to meet business leaders, government officials, academics, and civil society practitioners. This programme began in Singapore from 9 to 13 Jan 2017, and will be followed by visits to 3 other ASEAN countries in April, July and November, concluding with a Capstone Project which the Fellows can implement in their respective countries with the newfound knowledge and network.

Fellows were partially sponsored with the support of the Government of Sweden and the National Youth Council Singapore.

A total of 16 Fellows from 8 ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam) have been selected for the year-long Fellowship. They range from CSR managers from MNCs to land rights activists at NGOs.


Highlights in Singapore:

  1. Closing dinner with Ambassador Ong Keng Yong (Former Secretary-General of ASEAN)
  2. Tour of the Singapore Parliament and witnessing a live sitting
  3. Business & Human Rights lecture at Singapore Management University (SMU)
  4. Business Integrity workshop at the National University Singapore (NUS) Business School
  5. Sharing by Hitachi on their commitment to human rights
  6. Panel discussion on migrant worker issues with the Manpower Ministry and civil society groups
  7. Learning about impact investment from the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN)

Day 1 (9 Jan 2017) - Understanding Singapore

The Fellowship kicked off with an introduction of Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS) and ASEAN CSR Network. Fellows also took time to learn about each other's work back in their home countries.


Inaugural batch of Fellows with staff of ASEAN CSR Network: (From L, top row) Philaiphone Vongpraseuth from Phousy Soles Group in Laos, Michelle Ong from Metro Bank Foundation in the Philippines, Irin Ng from Como Hotels & Resorts in Singapore, Vanida Khouangvichit from Village Focus International in Laos, Melissa Chong from ASEAN CSR Network (ACN), Dini Triyuni from WWF Indonesia, Nguyen Phuong Thao from ACN, Lydia Ang from CapitaLand in Singapore, Thomas Thomas from ACN, Ong Shiyun from the National Volunteer Philanthropy Centre in Singapore, Zin Mar Lwin from Norwegian People's Aid in Myanmar, Pidor Chhay from Transparency International Cambodia, Nguyen Thi Bich Hien from IUCN Vietnam, Sanva Saephan from KP Company in Laos, Braema Mathi from ACN, Ester Tjahjadi from ACN, Marcus Chong from ACN,  Sambath Bun from G Gear Company in Cambodia, Aji Paramartha from KPMG Indonesia, Vo Ly Hoai Vinh from Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam, Nguyen Dung Tien from the ILO-IFC Joint Programme on Better Work in Vietnam, and Selveraj A/L V Ramasamy from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia.

Introduction of ASEAN CSR Network (ACN)'s missionand milestones by Thomas Thomas, CEO of ACN

Before meeting in Singapore, Fellows embarked on an online CSR programme created by the University of Nottingham, in order to understand basic theoretical principles and case studies of CSR in practice. A workshop was then held where Fellows broke into small groups to share their key learning outcomes from the online module, discussing the following key question: "What are the enablers and barriers to promoting CSR in ASEAN?". Some of the common 'enablers' shared were government policies and buy-in from top management, while a common 'barrier' was the profit-at-all-cost motive of many companies. 


In the afternoon, Fellows paid a visit to Singapore's Old and New Parliaments, which presented an opportunity to understand Singapore's unique strength in robust policy-making in order to foster trust from the business community. A Parliament guide introduced the Fellows to Singapore's Westminster Parliamentary system and answered queries on how the main policy-making body functions in Singapore. The visit coincided with a Parliament sitting on the day and Fellows sat in a live debate on the Securities & Futures Bill.  After the tour of Parliament, Fellows attended a book launch held at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), involving a panel discussion with Mr Jonathan Tepperman, Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs, and Prof Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of LKYSPP. The book was titled "The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World of Decline", and Fellows gained insights on the pertinent issues in global politics today and how it might affect CSR.


Tour of Singapore's Parliament

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Fellows with Mr Jonathan Tepperman, Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs & Prof Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP)

Day 2 (10 Jan 2017) - Business & Human Rights

On Day 2, Fellows spent the day at Singapore Management University (SMU)'s School of Law to understand how businesses ought to protect and respect human rights, starting with a classroom session with Prof Mahdev Mohan (Assistant Professor of Law & Director, Asian Business and Rule of Law Initiative, SMU). He shared common theoretical concepts such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as case studies from Cambodia and Singapore. This was followed by a presentation by one of ACN's corporate partners - Hitachi Asia - represented by Christian Bustamante (Sustainability Manager), who shared with the Fellows on Hitachi's commitment to Human Rights. Valuable insights were shared on Hitachi's corporate policy, the timeline of its development, and how the policy was implemented over time.


Prof Mahdev Mohan, (Assistant Professor of Law & Director, Asian Business and Rule of Law Initiative, SMU) sharing on the 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' framework

Q+A with Mr Christian Bustamante, Sustainability Manager of Hitachi Asia

The day continued with Mr Thomas Thomas (CEO, ASEAN CSR Network) sharing an introductory presentation covering CSR and its relevance in ASEAN, including some of the key research reports conducted by ACN which identified areas of progress and gaps in ASEAN countries. This was followed by Ms Cynthia Morel (Expert Advisor of the Asian Business & Rule of Law Initiative) who shared her extensive research on land rights issues in ASEAN, particularly in the agribusiness & mining industries.

Mr Thomas Thomas (CEO, ASEAN CSR Network) on the business case for CSR - why should businesses care about the triple bottom line in today's context?

Cynthia Morel (Expert Advisor of the Asian Business & Rule of Law Initiative) leading a discussion on land acquisition issues and why it matters in ASEAN

Day 3 (11 Jan 2017) - Governance in Businesses

Day 3's focus was on business integrity, corporate governance and compliance - held at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School. Prof Lawrence Loh (Director of Centre of Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO)) started the session with an introduction to business ethics, posing the opening question: "Can Ethics be Taught?". Prof Lawrence then introduced philosophical frameworks to help Fellows solve dilemmas in decision-making, using the "Lifeboat Exercise" as an analogy. This included an introduction to the body of work from philosophers such as JS Mills, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls and Aristotle. He ended off by presenting the latest findings in a piece of research conducted together with ACN, focusing on the state of corporate disclosure by the largest 50 companies in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Workshop and class discussions led by Prof Lawrence Loh (Director of Centre of Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO)), on approaches to ethics and dilemmas in decision-making

The afternoon's learning focused on governance in practice, starting with Mr G Balasubramaniam who shared on the best practices from his years of experience as a Compliance Advisor to top companies. This was followed by Mr Michael Lee from Singapore's anti-corruptions bureau - the Corruption Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB) - providing insights on how Singapore has maintained its integrity culture.

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Discussions led by Mr. Bala (Compliance Advisor) and Michael Lee (Corruptions Practices Investigations Bureau) on governance in practice

Day 4 (12 Jan 2017) - Migrant Workers & Labour Issues

Day 4 featured a deep dive into issues surrounding migrant workers and labour. The aim was to help Fellows understand how the government and civil society groups in Singapore ensure migrant workers retain good relations with their employers, as well as the challenges faced in managing their wellbeing and enforcing their rights. The day started with a site visit to the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC), an NGO which champions fair employment practices. Their Executive Director, Mr Bernard Menon, shared about the migrant worker landscape in Singapore, including the fact that more than a third of Singapore's workforce were migrants from Bangladesh, Malaysia, China, Myanmar and other neighbouring countries. Following the site visit, a panel discussion was held with Mr Alex Au (Vice President, Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), Ms Stephanie Chok (Researcher, Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME)) and Mr Chng Yi Ken (Senior Assistant Director, Foreign Manpower Unit, Workplace Policy & Strategy Division, Ministry of Manpower (MOM)). The main issue discussed was how these different organisations and agencies support migrant workers in Singapore, and manage the different demands and pressures from all stakeholders.


Presentation by Mr. Bernard Menon (Migrant Workers' Centre) and Panel Discussion with Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Humanitarian Organisation Migration Economics (HOME)

After lunch, another panel discussion took place to focus on Singapore’s labour movement and tripartite system, and how industrial relations is maintained through the various agencies. Panellists were representatives from Singapore's main agencies directed to manage labour relations in Singapore – Mr Frederick Ho (Deputy Director, International Affairs, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)), Mr Tay Wee Yee, (Senior Manager, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF)) and Mr Lau Weng Hong (Deputy Director, Industrial Relations, MOM)). Discussions surrounded how government, trade unions and the private sector work hand in hand to maintain healthy labour relations and economic stability.

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Mr. Frederick Ho from the National Trade Unions Congress (NTUC) sharing the key milestones in Singapore's history of labour relations, and how it has developed since post-WWF2 with prevalent strikes and work stoppages 

Final Day (13 Jan 2017) - Social Enterprises & Impact Investment

The final day of the Fellowship focused on Singapore's social enterprise and impact investment space, and Fellows made a site visit to the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprises (raiSE). Ms Lyn Chen from Research & Strategy at raiSE shared how companies could be involved in the social good movement through social innovation - for example, by investing in new products and processes with a potential to create social impact. This was followed by a presentation by Ms Mythili Mamidanna from DBS Foundation who shared about the bank foundation's mandate to support social enterprises in Singapore through grants, consultancy services and dedicated programmes.

Visit to Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) and sharing by DBS Foundation - on how a government-led and private-sector initiative supports budding social entrepreneurs in Singapore

The visit to raiSE was folllowed by lunch at Eighteen Chefs - a restaurant chain founded by an ex-convict, which now hires a large team of ex-convicts to operate its 12 outlets nationwide. The social enterprise hopes to find alternative ways to help youths and ex-convicts reintegrate back into society, while providing them a platform for them to realise their talents in the F&B industry.

Lunch at Eighteen Chefs at the outlet in Star Vista - one of Singapore's greenest malls operated by CapitaLand. One of the Fellows, Ms Lydia Ang,  also gave an impromptu tour of the mall as the Sustainability Manager of CapitaLand.

After lunch, Fellows heard from Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), one of the first and leading players in Singapore's social investment space. Mr Kelvin Teo, Managing Director of the AVPN Knowledge Centre, shared on the progress, challenges and opportunities for social investment in ASEAN. He explained that social investing was a relatively new but exciting industry, involving the financing of social enterprises, encompassing types of investment such as venture philanthropy and impact investment.

This was followed by a presentation from Mr Wilson Ang (Executive Director, Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS)), who wrapped up the final session by providing an overview of the CSR landscape in Singapore, including the trends, opportunities and challenges faced by companies in adopting CSR.

Mr Kevin Teo and Ms Phuong Anh Nguyen (Asian Venture Philanthropy Network), and Mr Wilson Ang (Global Compact Network Singapore) sharing on trends in social investing and CSR in Singapore

The day ended with a debrief and sharing by the Fellows on the key learning points gathered during the Fellowship. To close the 5-day learning journey, a dinner was hosted at Furama Riverfront Hotel with Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, former ASEAN Secretary-General, who shared his insights on how the responsible business agenda can be promoted in the region..

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Dinner and conversations with Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, former ASEAN Secretary-General, on where ASEAN is heading with regards to responsible business practices 

The inaugural ASEAN CSR Fellowship continues in Indonesia (April 2017), Myanmar (July 2017) and the Philippines (November 2017).

Indonesia Day 1 (3 Apr 2017) - Visit to ASEAN Secretariat

The ASEAN CSR Fellowship started its country programme in Indonesia. Fellows are going to spend 5 days from 3-7 April in Jakarta to learn about the status and key challenges in and opportunities for responsible business practices in ASEAN and Indonesia. Some of the key topics will be discussed include business and human rights, business and environment, youth empowerment, and partnership for development. The Indonesia programme is organised by ACN in partnership with Indonesia Business Links

ASEAN CSR Fellowship Indonesia Day 1

Fellowship Members in front of the ASEAN offices with ACN Team members Thao and Melissa

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Opening Session with Ms. Melissa Chong of the ACN

The morning session opened with an introduction by Ms. Melissa Chong, ACN's Project Co-ordinator, on what the Fellows should expect during the week and a short briefing on the events for the day.


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Briefing by Ms. Yanti Triwadiantini, Chair of ACN

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Chairman of IBL Heru Prasetyo sharing about the context, key challenges and opportunities for CSR in Indonesia and the role of IBL

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 The Fellowship visits the ASEAN Gallery and Library in order to learn about it's history and contributions.

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 Mr Lee Yoong Yoong, Director of Community Affairs Directorate, ASEAN Secretariat sharing about the history of ASEAN and the ASEAN 2025 Blueprint

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Ms. Elaine Tan, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation sharing the the ASEAN CSR Fellows about the ASEAN Foundation's mandate to promote greater awareness of the ASEAN identity, human resource development, people-to-people interaction, and close collaboration among the business sector, civil society, academia and other stakeholders in ASEAN.

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 End of a long and friuitful day 1 for the ASEAN CSR Fellowship Programme.

Indonesia Day 2 (4 Apr 2017) - Visit to ASEAN Secretariat

Day 2 (April 4th) of the ASEAN CSR Fellowship programme in Indonesia will focus on 2 topics: business and human rights, and collective action for business integrity in Indonesia. Speakers are from Vale, Oxfam, Telkomtelstra and Indonesia Chamber of Commerece and Industry (KADIN) 

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Mr Basrie Kamba, Director of Communications and External Affairs of Vale Indonesia - a leading mining company sharing about the human rights challenges in Indonesia. Human rights in Indonesia is progressing. However poor legal enforcement, corruption, and excessive overlap amongst different laws and institutions are problems common to all sectors including business. This results in legal uncertainties, additional adiminstrative costs, and bureaucracy.                       

The biggest human rights challenges caused by business activities in Indonesia are land issues (land rights, compensation, resettlement, land customary rights, land encroachment, in-migration, absence of documents, etc.) this uncertainty with regard to the mapping of community lands has casued or exacerbated problems for many companies, resulting in disputes with local communities. Additionallly, there is a lack of operatioinal standards pertaining to the responsibility of business entitites to the company or that would provide guidance on how business enterprises can engage with communities.

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Mr Budi Kuncoro, Country Director of OXFAM Indonesia explaining about the three pillars of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: the State's duty to protect, the Corporate responsibility to respect, and Access to effective remedy.

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After the presentations were done, the two speakers were presented with tokens of appreciations for the time and effort they had spent educating the fellows.

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Mr Ernest Alto, Vice President, Risk and Compliance, Telkomtelstra highlighting the role of collective action and tone from the top in promoting business integrity in Indonesia



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Dr Suryani Sidik F. Motik, Vice Chairman of Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) emphasizing the role of not only internal organisation (business) but also that of external organisation (government). She said in order to run business in an ethical manner, it is important to have clear rule, regulation, and clean government.

With that, Day 2 came to a close.

Indonesia Day 3 (5 Apr 2017) - Visit to ASEAN Secretariat


 Day 3 (April 5th) of Jakarta leg of the ASEAN CSR Fellowship Programme will focus on business and environmental issues in Indonesia. Ms Erna Witoelar, Founder and Board Member of Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (KEHATI), Co-chair of Filantropi Indonesia, former UN Special Ambassador for MDGs in Asia Pacific, highlighting key environmental challenges including unstainable consumption and production partners, overuse of non renewable energy, water pollution, wasterful lifestyles among others. Everyone is responsible for these challenges, so everyone can have a role in solving the problem


Responsible Governments can create policies and socio/economic/legal frmeworks at national  and local levels. Responsible Businesses can make a big immpact and provide a balanced social, economic and environmental growth with their  triple-bottom line approach. Responsible Citizens can live an environmental sound liftsyle, giving direct benefits to themselves, the community and the environment, said Ms. Erna Witoelar

Ms. Erna Witoelar emphasized that empowering women is most strategic, as there are no limitations for women's capacities to make a change and to protect Mother Earth

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Ms Ratih Anggraeni, Senior Sustainability Integration Manager, Danone Indonesia sharing about AQUA's vision of 'creating healthier Indonesia'. In order to achieve its vision, AQUA has been promoting and providing healthy hydration in Indonesia through a number of CSR programmes such as sustainable packaging and sustainable farming. AQUA counts on continued multi-stakeholders collaboration and support to help secure and protect acess to safe water to as many Indonesians as possible, she said.

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Ms Dian Novarina, Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) sharing with the fellows about APRIL's Fire Free Village Programme (FFVP). The programme was designed to support fire detection, prevention and management, moving towards a free free and haze free environment in Indonesia. Through FFVP, APRIL engages directly with local community, community leaders and public officialls to influence people's behaviour in relation to the use of of fire at the village level and provide sustainable alternatives to land clearing with fire.

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The morning session ended with a group photo and presentation of tokens of appreciation to the 3 speakers.

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In the afternoon, the fellows visited a waste bank supported by the local government and Unilever Indonesia Foundation in Mampang, South Jakarta. Local communities are encouraged to collect inorganic waste and sell it based on its value. The money is saved within the community waste bank and can be cashed in over time. The system works like a regular bank except that waste is deposited instead of money. The fellows were welcomed by Vice Major of South Jakarta Drs. IRMANSYAH, M.Sc.

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Currently there are 57 Waste Banks in South Jakarta. The local Government and Unilever are aiming to establish 125 waste banks by 2017. There are 7,000 tones of waste generated every day in South Jakarta. In 2016, 66 tons of waste had been reduced. Still there were 36,653 tons of waste that couldn't be recycled

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The waste bank is a typical example of how multi-stakeholders collaboration, with the support from the government, the responsibility of the private sector and the participation of communities, can benefit the local communities and help protect environment. Companies like Unilever and its partners in this programme such as Danone/AQUA can also promote a more sustainable production and packaging


 Profiles of the Fellows:

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Dini Triyuni, WWF-Indonesia

Dini is an accountant-turned-conservationist, believing in her responsibility to engage in social and environmental causes. After receiving a scholarship to undertake a Masters in University of New South Wales in Sydney, she gained particular interest in a module she took on Reporting for Climate Change. After graduating, she decided to work for WWF-Indonesia as a Grant Officer. One of her current responsibilities is to analyse project financial performance and act as an intermediary between donors and project staff involved in project reporting. In addition to working as a grant officer, she continues to increase her depth of knowledge in CSR issues, with ambitions to work on sustainability projects at WWF-Indonesia, particularly related to sustainable finance.

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Nguyen Dung Tien, ILO-IFC Joint Programme on Better Work Indonesia

Tien is an Enterprise Advisor of the ILO-IFC Joint Programme on Better Work in Vietnam. He provides assessment and advisory services for garment and footwear factories in Vietnam to ensure that they comply with national and international labour standards, as well as meet CSR requirements for international buyers. Prior to joining Better Work Vietnam, he worked for the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs of Vietnam (MOLISA). During his service for MOLISA, Tien engaged in international cooperation activities on labour law development, international labour standards and trade. He also took part in the negotiation for a number of free trade agreements, including TPP and Vietnam-EU FTA. Mr. Tien holds a MSc. Degree in Globalisation and Development from the University of Manchester, UK, where he studied labour law compliance in Vietnam’s garment sector. He also has an Executive Master Degree in Labour Economics jointly issued by Science-Po Paris and University of Turin, where he conducted research about labour policies and returns to education in Vietnam’s labour market. Before joining MOLISA, Mr. Tien was a lecturer of English Language and Translation studies at the University of Foreign Languages and International Studies of the Vietnam National University, where he graduated with a B.A. degree in Translation and Interpretation.

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Nguyen Thi Bich Hien, IUCN (Vietnam)

Hien works for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a Project Manager of the Ha Long–Cat Ba Alliance Project. She is responsible for engaging with businesses to encourage environmentally-friendly business practices and catalyse public-private partnerships to improve environmental management, especially to protect the natural integrity of the Ha Long Bay World Heritage Site. Before taking over this project, she was in charge of managing a Small Grant Facility under the Mangroves for the Future Programme, which issued grants to local organisations, including social enterprises to undertake on-the-ground projects towards sustainable development of coastal areas.
Prior to joining IUCN, Hien worked in the environmental protection and sustainable management of natural resources for the Viet Nam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI), Vietnam-Netherlands Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project and TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, a joint programme between IUCN and WWF.
She earned her MSc Degree in Environmental Management from National University of Singapore in 2005 and her Bachelor Degree in English language in 2000 from Hanoi National University, Vietnam.

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Philaiphone Vongpraseuth, CEO of Phousy Construction and Development Public Company (Laos)

Philly is an MBA Graduate from Australia with diverse experiences in both development and private sectors for more than ten years. She is currently a CEO of Phousy Construction and Development Public Company. She is very passionate about CSR and wanted to incorporate CSR into her organisation to create equal opportunity and better living conditions for her staff.

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Pidor Chhay, Transparency International (Cambodia)

Pidor is a Business Integrity Senior Programme Officer for Transparency International Cambodia.  Before joining TI Cambodia, she spent three years with the United Nations Development Programme Cambodia (UNDP) in the Poverty Portfolio. Prior to that, Pidor worked as a Research Assistant for an independent research institute, Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI). In terms of private sector experience, she was previously the deputy-owner of an import-export company. Overall, she has more than 7 years of professional experience in the areas of good governance, poverty monitoring and analysis, rural livelihood development, social development, and private sector development. She graduated with a Bachelor degree from the National University of Management in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she was awarded a scholarship to complete her studies.

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Sambath Bun, G Gear Company (Cambodia)

Sambath is currently the Assistant to the CEO of G Gear Company, a private company in Cambodia. He assists the CEO on various aspects, particularly on strategic, planning and policy of the company as well the Young Entrepreneurship Association, whom the CEO is the president of. Sambath is mainly responsible for the CSR activities of G Gear, and moved to the private sector after close to 10 years working for NGOs, embassies and the government. Sambath has an M.A. in Public Policy in Development Policy and Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from Australian National University, and a B.A. in Education in English Teaching and Information Technology. He has been working on development issues, especially youth empowerment and education including monitoring, evaluation and budget management at local NGOs and international institutions. He has extensive knowledge on community and social development, and has spent his time organising many national and regional youth forums and meetings.

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Vanida Khouangvichit, Village Focus International (Laos)

Vanida works for Village Focus International (VFI), an NGO working to promote land rights for local communities to address increasing resettlement and loss of access to land and natural resource due to large-scale land concessions. Her responsibility includes engaging with the private sector, especially agribusinesses, with an aim to improve companies’ land acquisition processes, community consultation processes, and grievance redress mechanisms, to ensure local participation and improve land tenure security faced by communities. Vanida holds an MA in Anthropology from North Carolina State University, and was awarded the Fullbright Foreign Student Programme Scholarship.


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Vo Ly Hoai Vinh, Coca-Cola Vietnam

Vinh has strong experience in Sustainability, Stakeholder Engagement, and Public Affairs. He is currently working as the Sustainability Officer at Coca-Cola Vietnam, leading a national CSR flagship program EKOCENTER, as well as the other 3W objectives of Coca-Cola: Water - Women - Well-being. Vinh also contributes to corporate reputation by supporting businesses to win Sustainability Awards in Vietnam. He has worked with key partners ranging from government bodies, civil societies to academia, in creating a stronger synergy for shared social goals. Before joining Coca-Cola, he worked for the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam as a Program Executive in CSR and Industry Committees. Vinh holds a Bachelor Degree in International Economics and another Degree in Law. His personal motto says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.

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Zin Mar Lwin, Norwegian People's Aid (from Myanmar, but based in Laos)

Zin works for Norwegian People's Aid, an international NGO which develops long-term sustainable development programs with a focus on environment, resources management, human rights, democratisation, capacity building and empowerment for local organisations. As the International Finance Manager, she is responsible for the sound financial management of the organisation, as well as leads the national team to support more than 30 civil society organizations in the areas of governance and accountable financial management. She holds an Executive Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Development Studies from Yangon Institute of Economics, Myanmar.


Vinh has strong experience in Sustainability, Stakeholder Engagement, and Public Affairs. He is currently working as a Senior Sustainability Officer at Coca-Cola Vietnam, leading a national CSR flagship program EKOCENTER, as well as the other 3W objectives of Coca-Cola: Water - Women - Well-being. Vinh also contributes to corporate reputation by supporting businesses to win Sustainability Awards in Vietnam. He has worked with key partners ranging from government bodies, civil societies to academia, in creating a stronger synergy for shared social goals. Before joining Coca-Cola, he worked for the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam as a Program Executive in CSR and Industry Committees. Vinh holds a Bachelor Degree in International Economics and another Degree in Law. His personal motto says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.

ASEAN CSR Fellowship

Applications for the ASEAN CSR Fellowship (2017) have closed

If you have questions and would like to speak to a program representative, please email Ms. Melissa Chong at:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The inaugural ASEAN CSR Fellowship seeks to build up the next generation of ambassadors for responsible business in Southeast Asia, harnessing the potential of the private sector to address key regional issues in anti-corruption, environmental degradation, poverty and human rights. A small team of high-potential individuals will be selected from business, government and civil society, to be equipped with in-depth theoretical and practical concepts in responsible business. As ASEAN continues to face a variety of complex issues, the new fellowship programme is an important milestone to deepen cross-border perspectives, and unite a generation of CSR leaders in our goal towards regional sustainable development.

This year-long journey will take Fellows to 4 different countries across ASEAN, spending a week every quarter in Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar and the Philippines. Covering the full spectrum of ASEAN member states with varying levels of economic development, the Fellowship starts in the financial hub of Singapore, continuing to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, before venturing to the less developed cities of Yangon and Manila.

Each week spent in the different countries will feature a series of study tours to meet top business leaders, government officials, academics and civil society practitioners, as well as personal guidance by mentors who are recognized experts in their respective fields. Each module will also feature a deep-dive topic, delving into difficult issues such as the rights of migrant workers, supply chain management and how to attract the right foreign direct investment.

Throughout the year, Fellows will be guided on an action plan to deliver a Capstone Project in their home countries – a long-term CSR project with measurable outcomes – with the top project gunning for the “Top ASEAN CSR Fellow Award” and a grant of up to SGD10,000 to empower its expansion. All Fellows will present their Capstone Project at the end of the programme, and receive a certificate of completion. By nurturing an alumni of leading CSR practitioners in their respective countries and guiding them to implement actionable projects, the Fellowship aims to sow seeds for the transformation of the business landscape in Southeast Asia into one that recognises not just profits, but also people and the planet.

“Let us face the facts: The old model is broken. We need to create a new one – a new model for dynamic growth. Growth that is equitable…growth that can be sustained within planetary boundaries…growth that will benefit current and future generations”

- Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“We resolve to consolidate our Community, building upon and deepening the integration process to realise a rules-based, people- oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community, where our peoples enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms, higher quality of life and the benefits of community building, reinforcing our sense of togetherness and common identity.”

- ASEAN Community Vision 2025


Widen knowledge

Understand issues from the perspective of different countries from the full range of ASEAN’s economic spectrum. Attend hands-on site visits to build breadth, and classroom sessions to build depth. Gain a deeper understanding of specific industries and its challenges through ‘deep-dive’ sessions, covering issues such as migrant workers, agriculture and how to attract the right foreign direct investment.

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Throughout the programme, Fellows will be connected to top industry, government and civil society leaders, who will also serve as mentors for their Capstone Project. Networking will be a key value-add for the Fellowship, presenting invaluable opportunities to build a professional network for years to come.

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Capstone project

With the guidance of their mentors, Fellows will implement a CSR project relevant to their context, presenting an opportunity to apply the key learning objectives acquired during the Fellowship. All Capstone Projects will be hands-on, have clear measurable outcomes and relevant for their own context. It will be executed in their home countries during the breaks between each module. There will be an option of independent or group work (with other Fellows from the same country), and will be implemented either in their own companies and organisations, or implemented independently.

An example could include: Conducting a series of training workshops for their company to help procurement staff understand the importance of forced labour mitigation. 

Fellows will present their Capstone Projects at the end of the Fellowship, and the top project will be awarded a grant of up to SGD10,000 as seed funding to empower its expansion.

The ASEAN CSR Fellowship is kindly supported by:


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In Celebration of ASEAN 50th Anniversary

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4 weeks over a 1-year duration

The ASEAN CSR Fellowship is not a full-time fellowship. Fellows will typically remain in their occupations throughout the fellowship year while participating in the program modules.

Modules & Locations

The fellowship is comprised of 4 modules, and each module will be taught in a different ASEAN nation for a duration of 1 week each.

Fellows will meet 4 times a year in the following countries to cover these 4 modules:

  • Singapore
  • Indonesia (Jakarta)
  • Myanmar (Yangon)
  • Philippines (Manila)

*Locations may differ from year to year

Number of Fellows accepted per year

 15-30 fellows
Application Criteria
  • National citizen of any of the 10 ASEAN member states
  • Leaders in business, government or civil society, with a demonstrable passion in and commitment to advancing a career in CSR
  • 25 to 40 years old

Joining us a Fellow

Entry into the Fellowship will be through the following routes:

  • Application
    Up to 20 Fellows will be selected for a partial or full scholarship, offered by the Government of Sweden. More information on the scholarship below. Other applicants keen to attend will be self-financed or company sponsored.
  • Invitation by ASEAN CSR Network
    We will be selecting high potential individuals from business, government or civil society for participation in the Fellowship.


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Fellows will have to complete all modules to graduate from the Fellowship. Special arrangements can also be made for non-Fellows who are keen to attend only specific modules. 

Each module will be taught through classroom sessions and site visits:

Modules Dates Location Theme Topics Covered (classroom sessions and site visits)


30-Dec 2016 – 9 Jan 2017 Online Online Pre-Study:
Understanding the Basics
"Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability in Practice" by University of Nottingham
Module 1 9-13 Jan 2017 Singapore

Making CSR Work: Addressing Governance & Human Rights Issues

Introduction: Fellows will learn about CSR 2.0, a movement to redefine the meaning of CSR from corporate philanthropy and volunteerism, to re-looking at businesses operations to ensure they are responsible to people and the planet. The attention is shifted from how businesses spend money (charity) to how the money is made.

What is the business case for responsible business? In today's changing landscape, are there increasing demands from external stakeholders - consumers, investors, employees, media - for ethical business?

Topic 1: Human Rights: Core topics in the human rights and anti-corruption discourse will be covered. This includes international standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Why do corporates have a responsibility to protect human rights? Which business sectors are most susceptible to lapses in governance and human rights? How do problems like forced labour practices inadvertently enter the supply chain? 

Deep dive topic: Migrant workers and human rights

Module 2 3-7 Apr 2017 Indonesia
Opportunities and Challenges in the ASEAN Economic Community:
The Business Case for CSR

The ASEAN landscape: Following a tour of the ASEAN Secretariat, Fellows will gain insight into the work of ASEAN, its ongoing efforts in tackling regional issues, and the business case for the private sector to engage in responsible business practices.

What role do businesses have to play in sustainable development, if this is commonly seen as a responsibility of governments and civil society? How can businesses help to address some of ASEAN's key issues, such as the transboundary haze? 

Topic 2: Sustainability: Fellows will have an in-depth look into supply chain management, sustainable reporting and environmental management. Key concepts CSR tools will be introduced, such as ISO 26000 and GRI Guidelines.

Deep dive topic: Agriculture

Module 3 3-7 July 2017 Myanmar
Role of Business in Sustainable Development:
Learning from Myanmar

Topic 3: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Fellows will visit an emerging ASEAN member state, Myanmar, for a deep dive on specific measures businesses can take to support sustainable development. Myanmar is currently undergoing an economic and political transition, and will present a unique opportunity to gain insight into issues including rural development, environmental management and foreign direct investment.

Deep dive topic: Attracting the right investors - ensuring the wellbeing of people and planet are not traded off for profits

Module 4 (Fellowship Closing) 4-8 Sept 2017 Philippines
Recognition of Fellows

Management skills: Soft skills such as leadership and management will be taught

Recognition of Completion: Fellows will present their Capstone Project to a selection panel, with the top project receiving the “ASEAN CSR Fellowship Award” and seed funding of SGD10,000 to help awardees expand their project. All Fellows will receive a Certificate of Completion.





Up to 20 Fellows will be selected for a partial scholarship funded by the Government of Sweden, as part of their efforts to promote sustainable development in ASEAN. Fellows will have to bear the cost of 4 return flights on their own, while all other components of the programme will be covered by the partial scholarship.

There is no need to apply separately for the scholarship, as all Fellowship applicants will be automatically considered at the discretion of the selection panel.


For those who are accepted into the programme but do not receive a scholarship, the full cost for the programme is as follows:

Course fees: SGD 5,000
Flights*: SGD 500 x 4 times a year = SGD 2,000
Accommodation*: SGD 150 per night x 5 nights x 4 countries = SGD 3,000

Total: Approximately SGD 10,000

*Fellows who would like to reduce costs may book their own flights & accommodation


The Fellowship will be taught by partners from various sectors, who will contribute by hosting site visits, providing mentorship or run in-depth classroom sessions. Participating partners include:

  • ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC)
  • Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS)
  • Indonesia Business Links (IBL)
  • Integrity Initiative (Philippines)
  • International Chamber of Commerce - Malaysia
  • Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO), National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School
  • Thai Listed Companies Association
  • League of Corporate Foundations (LCF)
  • Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB)
  • Oxfam
  • Asia Business & Rule of Law Initiative, Singapore Management University (SMU)
  • Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI)
  • Vietnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry
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ASEAN has made extraordinary progress since it was founded in 1967. It has transformed into an increasingly well-regulated, dynamic and creative platform across what many regard as the world’s fast- developing economic region. In the recent years, it has seen dramatic changes – from Myanmar’s transition into a democracy after years of military rule, the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, to steady growth in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.Yet, key challenges remain in this region. Its phenomenal rise over the past few decades has been driven mainly by Factory Asia. As one of the world’s largest workshops, it was able to rapidly produce goods to feed the world’s voracious appetite – but often at a cost to human rights and the environment. Against the backdrop of this growth, human rights have often been systematically traded off in the interest of short-term profits, including abusive work environments, land- grabbing and discrimination against migrant groups. Environmental and health disasters like the transboundary haze continues to persist due to unsustainable business practices in the agricultural industries, while corruption and political instability continues to be a significant hindrance to ASEAN’s emerging economies. Meanwhile, the world stands watch while the influx of foreign investment continues to balloon in transition countries – such as Myanmar and Cambodia – serving as a test-bed for ASEAN’s ability to achieve economic development without social and environmental trade-offs.


ASEAN CSR Vision 2020 is our project to support the development of an integrated, equitable and sustainable ASEAN Community through promoting awareness and implementation of international standards on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  

Leveraging on the momentum created by the ASEAN Community 2015 integration process, the project will support the achievement of ASEAN community-building goals while constructing a strategy and outlook that goes beyond 2015 – recognising that community-building is a continuous process, not an end goal.


Create a Shared Vision

With support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), we play a coordinating role in the formulation of a regional cooperation strategy on CSR in support of ASEAN Community-Building.  We believe that there is a need for multi-sector collaboration in crafting a shared vision that will guide stakeholders on CSR implementation, capacity-building, and policy development. This strategy is in line with international standards, taking into consideration the goals of ASEAN and regional realities, especially as we enter a new chapter in ASEAN integration post-2015.

Build Capacity

The ACN supports international CSR standards and frameworks – such as the UN Global Compact Ten Principles, ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises – as a basis for CSR advocacy and promotion. We also support partners in delivering training and capacity-building services to their stakeholders. This is done through workshops and forums organised by us and not forgetting the local conferences and events run by our national-level partners. Our training partners include the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Swedish Institute of Standards (SIS).

Enable Collective Action

As interest in CSR increases across all stakeholders in the region, there is a danger of too many fragmented initiatives clouding the landscape and creating unnecessary competition, to the detriment of the goal to create a shared vision on what CSR is and how it can be implemented effectively. We play  a critical role in harmonising CSR efforts at the regional level by providing a platform for coordination, cooperation and information exchange.

The objective is to develop, coordinate and implement a regional cooperation and collective action strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility that is consistent with international standards and at the same time, recognising ASEAN goals and realities.

Towards these ends we work on three key issues:

Business and Anti-Corruption

Business and Human Rights

Food Security & Sustainable Agriculture