ASEAN CSR Fellowship

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The ASEAN CSR Fellowship seeks to develop the next generation of ambassadors for responsible business in Southeast Asia, harnessing the potential of the private sector in addressing key regional issues in anti-corruption, environmental degradation and human rights. The Fellowship is part of ACN’s ongoing efforts to help practitioners re-define CSR, away from its misconception that it is just corporate philanthropy and volunteerism, towards the business responsibility to look beyond their bottom line and consider the social and environmental implications of their activities; in other words, responsible business practice. The attention is shifted from how businesses spend money (charity) to how the money is made.

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. The year-long journey will take Fellows to three countries across ASEAN, spending five days in each of those countries. The time spent in the different countries will feature a series of study tours to meet top business leaders, government representatives, academics and civil society practitioners. Modules will also feature deep-dive topics, delving into difficult issues such as the rights of migrant workers, labour standards in the garment industry and responsible investment. The learning objective is to build an understanding of responsible business as it applies across ASEAN, comparing the different experiences in the three countries visited.

As ASEAN continues to face a variety of complex national and regional issues, the Fellowship hopes to deepen cross-border perspectives, and unite a new generation of responsible business leaders in our common goal towards regional sustainable development.


Conversations with 'giants' in Responsible Business

Throughout the programme, Fellows will be connected to top industry, government and civil society leaders who are champions of responsible business – an invaluable opportunity to build a professional network for years to come.


Benefit from an alumni network

Upon graduation, Fellows will join an alumni network of past and present Fellows, and maintain constant contact through informal and formal meetups, sharing resources and online platforms. By nurturing an alumni of leading responsible business practitioners, 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.

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Benefit from workshops with candid discussions

In 2017 and 2018, ACN conducted workshops for the Fellowship covering topics on:

  • Crony-Capitalism and Responsible Public Procurement
  • CSR Buzzwords and Trends
  • Design Thinking
  • Dilemmas in Ethical Decision-Making
  • Ethical Recruitment
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Sustainability reporting
  • Supply Chain Mapping


"My key takeaway from this program is that when it comes to doing good and doing well, the work never stops. As a young CSR practitioner, this journey opened my eyes to stark realities - great challenges that we all face, whichever sector we are in, whichever country we are at. But more importantly, what I realized is that the opportunities are greater - way greater - than the challenges, only if we take on a positive and collaborative lens on how we want to see and do things. CSR is not just the business of businesses. It is the business of all of us - the private sector, the government, and the civil society. For CSR to gain more global relevance and become one of the vehicles to attain sustainable development, it has to be collaborative, aggressive, and ever-changing. This is something I definitely want to impress to my colleagues when I get back home - that as CSR practitioners, we must continue to make ourselves relevant, no matter how successful we think our program already are. Innovate if we must and change if necessary. And particularly for Southeast Asia, allow me to borrow the words of Prime Minister Najib Razak in one of his speeches: we need to complete each other, not compete with each other" - Michelle Ong, Metrobank Foundation (Philippines), ASEAN CSR Fellowship 2017

"Since I’m not from the private sector and have very limited background knowledge on how businesses operate in general, this fellowship really provided me with the opportunity to learn about different industries – not just in theory but also in practice. I realized that CSR really requires cooperation and that multi-stakeholder dialogues is an essential factor to create the common ground." - Vanida Khouangvichit, Village Focus International (Laos), ASEAN CSR Fellowship 2017

"Like other fellows, I return to my home country after each module with a lot of publications in our luggage and ideas in our head. What I appreciate from the fellowship is not only the overview of CSR initiatives in ASEAN, but also the unique chance to witness how things are progressing at the national and local level in the countries that we've been to. This broadens my perspectives and helps in my future engagements in the field." - Dung Tien, IFC-ILO Joint Programme on Better Work (Vietnam), ASEAN CSR Fellowship 2017

 "The ASEAN CSR Fellowship has been very useful in helping me gain a deeper understanding of what sustainability and CSR is. Through the various dialogues with high-level business executives, government representatives and subject matter experts, we were able to obtain first-hand accounts of the opportunities and challenges of building a more sustainable and inclusive eco-system. One of the greatest take-aways for me from the programme is that every country faces similar difficulties in engaging companies, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to embark on sustainable business practices. I would look to leverage on the knowledge and contacts acquired from the programme to facilitate, bridge and deepen the CSR participation and involvement of companies in Singapore." - Quek Shiyun, National Volunteer Philanthropy Centre (Singapore), ASEAN CSR Fellowship 2017

"The most important thing I have learned from this Fellowship is a better understanding of the business evolution towards CSR in ASEAN. From my own perspective of environmental management, I have learned a useful approach of approaching environmental issues from a human rights perspective when working with business partners. I think I am now able to provide more practical advice to our business partners about what CSR activities that are relevant to their business value chain." - Thi Bich Hien, International Union for Conservation of Nature (Vietnam), ASEAN CSR Fellowship 2017

"I was exposed to best practices across the region on responsible practices that can definitely be implemented in the organization I am with, or future projects that I plan to take. I also got the chance to meet outstanding people who have done excellent work in the region, inspiring me to embark go further in my journey. Coming from the private sector, meeting different people had also given me completely new perspectives to view various issues and solutions." - Aji Paramartha, KPMG (Indonesia), ASEAN CSR Fellowship 2017

"I would highly recommend the Fellowship to anyone interested. The fellowship opens a huge door of knowledge – including challenges and opportunities, and inspire a hope that a strong ASEAN can move ahead, despite diverse local contexts. There are also opportunities for mentorship, as alumni can become mentors for the new batch of Fellows." - Vo Ly Vinh, Coca-Cola (Vietnam), ASEAN CSR Fellowship 2017



The ASEAN CSR Fellowship is kindly supported by:

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office Logo.svg     Sweden

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The following main topics will be covered over the 3 modules through classroom sessions, workshops, site visits and talks:

  • The Business Case for CSR – Why should businesses even bother?
  • Human Rights
  • Corporate Governance
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Private Sector’s Role in Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • The ASEAN Landscape
  • Introduction of Key CSR Tools and Concepts

For more information on the Fellowship held in 2017, click here.
For more information on the Fellowship held in 2018, click here.