Companies step up: Public-private partnerships for social good proliferate across Asia

Companies step up: Public-private partnerships for social good proliferate across Asia
  • Companies face growing expectations to address needs that governments alone cannot meet.
  • Public-private partnerships for social good help meet these expectations. 88 per cent of top Asian business leaders believe these partnerships will become more common in the next five years.
  • Successful partnerships leverage networks of trust, embrace champions and think long-term.

The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) has released a new report, Public-Private Partnerships for Social Good. The study spotlights a growing trend of governments and the private sector coming together to address complex societal needs in Asia. It showcases why this trend is taking root, what these partnerships look like, and what makes them successful.

“PPPs are on the rise across Asia because they align incentives between companies, the social sector and government. We did this study to find out why best-in-class PPPs for social good succeed,” said Ronnie Chan, CAPS Co-Founder and Chair.

The role of companies is changing

As Asia faces a formidable decade ahead due to the fallout of Covid-19 and climate change, governments are recognising they cannot meet social needs alone. Governments and communities are calling on companies to do more. Companies are embracing this new reality through engaging in public-private partnerships for social good. These partnerships leverage the Asian tendency for companies to work in tandem with government, while bringing private capital, business expertise and innovation to social service delivery. When executed well, PPPs for social good can be win-win-win scenarios for governments, companies and communities.

“At a time of particular importance, PPPs are a mechanism that allow companies to utilise their strengths, enhance their relationships with government and respond to community needs at the same time,” said Dr. Ruth Shapiro, CAPS Co-Founder and CEO. However, she adds, “There is a science to the ability of a PPP for social good in Asia to deliver long-term sustainable impact.”

Strategies for greater impact

Through an in-depth analysis of 20 notable PPPs for social good spanning nine sectors in 11 Asian economies, this study distills six strategies for achieving impact at greater speed and scale:

  • Building trust, which reduces uncertainty and creates space for an efficient and effective partnership. Investing in relationships is fundamental in Asia, and key to building this trust.
  • Aligning incentives. Ensuring each partner is clear on the reasons for and benefits of their participation cements commitment and helps sustain the project.
  • Having a clear, simple vision. A clear vision, expressed simply, is essential in guiding the project and sharpening the focus on areas of greatest potential for impact.
  • Establishing transparency and accountability ensures a PPP for social good is serving its public interest objectives and retaining the trust of its stakeholders.
  • Having champions—passionate and committed individuals—can catalyse a PPP, opening doors and propelling the project forward.
  • Being nimble and incorporating continuous learning into processes and strategies helps PPPs for social good respond to change and be more effective.

“As the report shows, PPPs for social good play to the strengths of Asia. Companies have the desire to work alongside government and leverage a network of relationships built on trust. It is not surprising that we found that 88% of ultra-high-net-worth business leaders from 10 Asian economies believe PPPs for social good will become more common in the next five years,” said Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed, CAPS Director of Research.

Public-Private Partnerships for Social Good analyses 20 examples of PPPs for social good across nine sectors in 11 Asian economies: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. The sectors covered include education, water and sanitation, health, cybersecurity and transparency, environmental conservation, disaster resilience and recovery, labour rights, rural and economic development, and waste management. Insights are based on original data gathered from 50 in-depth interviews with individuals engaged in public-private partnerships for social good—including business and nonprofit leaders, partnership managers and policymakers - as well as a survey of 40 ultra-high-net-worth business leaders from 10 Asian economies.

Download the Public-Private Partnerships for Social Good report here.


For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Kathy Brewin
Communications Manager

About CAPS
The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) is an independent research and advisory organization committed to maximising private resources for doing good. Its mission is to improve the quantity and the quality of private social investment, including philanthropy, CSR and impact investment. It does this by generating evidence-based insights on how individuals, companies, and governments can best address social challenges. CAPS works across 18 Asian countries and territories with an extensive network of local partner organizations, and with support primarily from Asian business leaders and philanthropists. More information on CAPS’ research and services is available at:

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