There are big problems to solve in Southeast Asia. The region houses 10% of the world’s population and it has the third largest labour force in the world. Its accelerating economic development is increasingly drawing global attention. Yet challenges persist in many areas including health, education and financial inclusion. We are also highly vulnerable to climate change owing to a concentration of populations and economic activity along coastlines and its dependence on agriculture, natural resources and forestry.
These problems present an immense opportunity for value creation. Certainly we see this in terms of investor returns, but just as much so in terms of returns to society; and alongside other regulatory and economic drivers we are excited to propel this forward momentum with technology, passion and effort. We can do this by getting better at ESG and leading the way in responsible investment. But we can also incorporate impact thinking into our frameworks. We are doing this at Openspace – it is our culture to do the the right thing and to invest in doing it properly.
It isn’t easy to build something to manage the vast Southeast Asian opportunity. Investing in the right opportunities requires regional and functional breadth and depth, with superior tech at its core. We continue our hard work on this. Likewise, this sustainability report is a proud milestone along our path, but also an early one. We have much to do and much to learn. But by putting our progress down on an annual basis, by measuring our portfolio companies as well as ourselves, we commit to holding ourselves accountable and to doing better.
We thank all our entrepreneurs for their participation in this journey, as well as Jaclyn Seow who joined us 12 months ago to drive our ESG and impact thinking and execution, and to take us beyond the catch phrases into tracking, measuring, reporting, acting, embracing and living the sustainability opportunity. Our story on sustainability comes from multiples angles which we lay out in this report. We first chart our portfolio progress on key important measures as well as gather their impressions of ESG and impact – where are they on this journey and where can we help – or where can we learn? We then describe our own investment process and how we are integrating these principles into our core. We describe what we are doing and what we plan to do internally to live up to our own checklists. And we then tell some proud stories about where we are engaging with the community outside our portfolio.
This is our first attempt, and we have incredible LPs, portfolio companies and partners who we look up to in this space. We welcome your feedback as we continue to grow and enhance our approach towards being a responsible investor.