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This session highlighted that many see conventional investing and social impact on different poles but in fact asset owners should consider aligning their full portfolio with their values, leveraging various asset classes to achieve different goals. On one side of this spectrum there is conventional public securities using ESG-integration, then there are impact funds that can offer deeper impact with still competitive risk-adjusted returns, and on the other end of the spectrum there is concessionary capital for social enterprises or more impact-first funds and finally philanthropy which of course would focus only on impact returns with no financial return expected.

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Panelists addressed the current uncertainty of the recovery trajectory in India and noted that with skyrocketing unemployment and mass urban-rural migration, public-private partnerships and unconventional thinking will be key. ‘The role of government is vital, as is flexible capital and digitisation,’ said Saleem Khan, of The British Asian Trust.

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Despite the widely held belief that impact measurement and management is needed, questions remain: What is considered a “good” impact is highly debatable

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Asia is the largest manufacturing base in the world which has resulted in high carbon emissions

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The Indonesian Vice Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy underlined the attractiveness of Indonesia as the largest impact market in ASEAN. With a culturally diverse population of over 270 million people

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As impact investing is becoming more mainstream across Asia and there are several investors who have been leading this movement.

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In recent years there has been a significant shift towards impact and ESG. The main drivers have been attractive returns

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Jose talked about the need to drive finance towards a new economic model which has been reinforced by Covid-19. As a bank they have focused on the employees, clients and their communities and ensuring continued resilience and agility. While banks were part of the problem in the 2008 financial crisis, this time he sees banks as part of the solution. Standard Chartered has put USD1 billion towards frontline sectors and also created a fund of USD50 million towards those most hit by the pandemic.

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Blended Finance was discussed as an alternative investment that supports a project before it reaches full commercial viability.

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Angel investors, while still nascent in Asia in comparison to the West, play an extremely important role to plug the gap for funding enterprises that do not qualify for traditional funding methods. When start-ups are in the very early stage

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In recognition of the urgency of the climate crisis there are a number of businesses being developed in the region looking at how to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

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This session focused on how the philanthropy sector can and should use its position of privilege to uncover innovative solutions and then provide visibility and capacity building that can bring these innovations to scale.

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