ASEAN CSR Network: September 2018 Newsletter

Promoting and enabling
responsible business conduct in ASEAN

Summary report of the
ASEAN Responsible Business Forum 2018

ASEAN CSR Network (ACN) is pleased to present the summary report of the ASEAN Responsible Business Forum 2018 which was held from 27 to 28 August 2018 in Singapore. Through this flagship event, ACN aims to enhance understanding of the role of responsible and inclusive business in creating an inclusive, resilient and sustainable ASEAN community.

Download the report here.


ACN supports regional forum
to promote safe labour migration 

ACN collaborated with the Department of Labour and Employment of the Philippines, the ASEAN Secretariat and other partners to organise the Regional Multi-Stakeholder Forum: Responsible Business Conduct for Safe Labour Migration in ASEAN which was held from 19 to 20 September 2018 in Manila, the Philippines. CEO of ACN Mr Thomas Thomas also presented on the ASEAN Guidelines for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on Labour at the Forum.

Read more here.


ACN CEO guest lectures at SMU class on transnational business and human rights 

ACN's CEO Mr Thomas Thomas was invited to be a guest lecturer at the Transnational Business and Human Rights class at the Singapore Management University on 28 September 2018. Mr Thomas addressed the class on responsible and inclusive businesses and the work of ACN, and heard pitches from students as part of their group projects designed to assist organisations in exploring transnational business and human rights law issues.


ACN is partner in pilot study on perceptions of responsible and inclusive business in ASEAN

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is partnering with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) and ACN on a pilot study to measure the perceptions of companies on the responsible and inclusive business environment in Southeast Asia. It is envisioned that findings from the study could better inform policymakers in ASEAN countries.

Read more here.



ACN is proud to partner with the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) Singapore and U Women's Network in a Roundtable on Optimising Human Capital Potential through Workplace Gender Parity on 9 October 2018. Ms Lynda Lim, ACN's Programme Director will be sharing on Raising the Bar on Gender Equity in Workplace and moderating the panel discussion.

Read more here.


ACN is pleased to bring you this new regular column where participants of the ASEAN CSR Fellowship share their thoughts, reflections, insights and lessons learnt about responsible business. 

CSR: core values and business strategies
By Cathy Chia, Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications, The Fullerton Hotels, Singapore

Advancing Business Integrity as Social Responsibility Agenda
By Mardian Marsono, Senior Consultant Kiroyan Partners, Jakarta 
Learn more about the ASEAN CSR Fellowship here.
ACN is proud to be an event partner for the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development 2018. The Forum in Singapore will be the largest gathering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Asia Pacific region with more than 700 international delegates from governments, civil society and businesses.

The format of the Forum has been transformed in order to move beyond the theory and articulate clear pathways to achieving the Goals. At the end of the forum, delegates will deliver tangible solutions across five areas critical to the attainment of the SDGs: Climate action, Urbanisation, Circular economy, Human rights and Food & nutrition.

Date: 11-12th October 2018
Venue: Marina Bay Sands Conference Centre

Register now and enjoy a member's discount with this code: ASCSRRBFSG18D here.

The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME), supported by the Government of Canada, officially launched the ASEAN SME Policy Index (ASPI) 2018 on 1 September 2018. The ASEAN SME Policy Index 2018 maps and benchmarks SME development policies across ASEAN Member States (AMS). 

Read more from ERIA here.

Fewer than one in five small businesses in ASEAN are reaping the benefits of digital technology, despite keen interest, a study has found. But bringing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on board could lift regional gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as US$1.13 trillion by 2025, a Bain & Co team concluded, estimating that the GDP could hit up to US$5.1 trillion by then.
Read more from The Business Times here.
ASEAN is in a good position to seize the opportunities that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring, and is already taking steps to do so, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. He was speaking at the opening plenary session of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN.
Read more from The Business Times here.

Thailand would soon start legalising thousands of illegal Myanmar workers in its fishing industry as a first step to the signing of an agreement to provide more workers for the business, which is struggling with a labour shortage.

Read more from Myanmar Times here.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has signed a moratorium on new licenses for oil palm plantations. The presidential instruction, signed on Sept. 19, will remain in place for no more than three years, according to the policy document.

Read more from Mongabay here.


The decision to adopt a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme can impact not only a firm’s own fortunes, but also those of its business rivals, say researchers in a new study published in Management Science. The study, titled ‘Peer Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility’, was carried out by an international team of researchers from Singapore Management University, Singapore; the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; and Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  

Read more from SMU here.

Strong action to combat climate change could cumulatively add at least $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030, according to a study which seeks to dispel fears that a shift from fossil fuels will undermine growth. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which includes former heads of government, business leaders and economists, said there was “unprecedented momentum” toward greener growth that would boost jobs and countries’ economies.

Read more from Thomson Reuters Foundation here.

The United Nations Global Compact launched a new digital learning platform to help companies become more sustainable. The UN Global Compact Academy is designed to provide businesses with the knowledge and skills they need to meet their sustainability objectives, mitigate business risks and achieve long-term growth by contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Read more from UNGC here.

Top leaders of business are uniquely positioned to combat modern slavery by embedding efforts to eradicate forced labor in their business strategy and culture from top to bottom, the head of consumer goods giant Unilever NV said. Chief executives can set policies and enforce consequences in their own companies and those of their suppliers and partners, said Paul Polman, Unilever chief executive, on the sidelines of world leaders meeting at the United Nations.

Read more from Thomson Reuters Foundation here.

The global drive to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking is faltering as businesses worldwide are failing to increase efforts to clean up their operations, leaving millions of workers at risk of exploitation, analysts said. Business advisory firm EcoVadis evaluated more than 33,000 companies around the world on issues such as labour and human rights practices, environmental impact and business ethics as part of its annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) index.

Read more from Thomson Reuters Foundation here.


From Eco-Business:
​By Chelsea Liu

From Myanmar Times:

A woman’s place is in the digital revolution

By Sandrine Devillard and Anu Madgavkar 

From Thomson Reuters Foundation:

Forests - root of climate problem or solution?

By  Simon Pollock

From VN Express:

Inclusive growth, the future of ASEAN business
By Lan Mercado

From Eco-Business:

What makes for happier business in the Asian Century?
By Richard Hardyment

From ILO:
By Better Work Vet Nam

From Eco-Business:
By Hannah Fernandez

Participating Organisations
Indonesia - Indonesia Business Links
Myanmar - Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry

If your country does not have a Participating Organisation formalised as a convenor yet, you may contact the Secretariat of the ASEAN CSR Network directly.

ASEAN CSR Network is a company limited by guarantee in Singapore, with charity status as an International Charitable Organisation (ICO) and is an ASEAN accredited Entity.

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