Temasek Trust and DBS Foundation launches marketplace directing private investments to impact-focused projects

The marketplace called Co-Axis, was launched at the 3rd Philanthropy Asia Summit, alongside two other initiatives.

Temasek Trust, the philanthropic arm of Temasek Holdings, and DBS Foundation has launched Co-Axis, a digital catalytic capital marketplace to direct private investments into impact-focused opportunities, at the 3rd Philanthropy Asia Summit on Sept 15.

The industry-wide platform, which will be developed in phases, will see its first phase launching in the first half of 2024. It will feature global impact opportunities that tackle environmental and social challenges, and financial instruments such as recoverable grants and blended finance structures to “catalyse capital and amplify impact per dollar”.

Through Co-Axis, accredited philanthropists and high net worth individuals can provide funding through a range of financial instruments, from donations to recoverable grants and embedded instruments. In the longer term, Co-Axis will pioneer more innovative financial offerings such as concessional securities and other blended finance structures.

The platform aims to build a network of philanthropists, development finance institutions, investors, and corporates to explore new mechanisms for philanthropy.

Impact opportunities on Co-Axis will be curated from partners across the Temasek Trust and DBS Foundation ecosystems and beyond, including Philanthropy Asia Alliance and their partners, ABC Impact, GenZero, Temasek Life Sciences Accelerator, The Amplifier (a startup mentorship programme newly launched by Temasek Trust entities Philanthropy Asia Alliance and the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices), The Liveability Challenge presented by Temasek Foundation, and The Earthshot Prize.

In addition, the platform will prioritise impact measurement and management, through requiring impact projects to commit to impact monitoring to qualify. It aims to draw from existing impact measurement and management frameworks and resources from the likes of BlueMark, Tideline, UNDP SDG Impact, and Wealth Management Institute.

Two other initiatives were also announced following the launch of Co-Axis at the 3rd Philanthropy Asia Summit. The first involves the launch of Amplifier, a 12-month mentorship program by the Philanthropy Asia Alliance (PAA) and the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices (CIIP), aimed at helping early-stage impact-focused startups.

The program is in partnership with Mastercard, the Centre for Inclusive Growth and several leading industry partners, such as Deloitte Singapore, PwC Singapore, Allen & Overy and 500 Global among others. 

The second is the announcement of the plan to set up an Asia Centre for Changemakers (ACC) in Singapore, in light of the “evolving philanthropic landscape”. This has given rise to new philanthropic models, and a need for enhanced capabilities, requiring specialised and systematic upskilling of the philanthropic sector in Asia, according to the release.

At present, discussions are ongoing with several prospective partners, and the centre is targeted for launch in early 2024.

“Today’s urgent challenges demand bold collective action and innovation. Temasek Trust is glad to partner with DBS Foundation and others from across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to develop Co-Axis, the first of its kind in the market. Co-Axis will catalyse impact across the spectrum of capital and build a vibrant, impact-focused community of changemakers. Temasek Trust will continue working with like-minded partners to pioneer philanthropic innovations to catalyse and scale solutions for a better world, and build ecosystems for good,” says Desmond Kuek, CEO, Temasek Trust.

“Since the establishment of DBS Foundation in 2014, we have supported more than 100 Businesses for Impact across Asia. To tackle the growing issues of social inequality and climate change, now more than ever, it is important to draw on a broader ecosystem to enable and accelerate change. Through this initiative, we look forward to having more partners join us in supporting the growth of impactful solutions to build a better world for all,” adds Piyush Gupta, CEO, DBS.

According to a 2023 report by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) on impacting investing allocations, activity and performance, Asia’s slice of the fast-growing global impact market, which is currently valued at over US$1 trillion ($1.36 trillion) is still small. Less than 25% of the global assets under management (AUM) were estimated to be allocated to Asia in 2023 alone. However, there is a need for impact in the region, which accounts for over 50% of global carbon emissions.

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