The boundaries between public and private are breaking down. Governments turn to business to help solve “wicked”, complex problems and to join large-scale, long-term public-private partnerships. Business faces demands to serve the public interest and go far beyond regulatory compliance. Civil society organisations are shifting from campaigning against business and government to working with both sectors to achieve their goals. And increasingly, the most interesting developments are happening in Asia.
As all three sectors grapple with the new realities, experiments in the region abound:
- As Unilever transforms its business practices under its Sustainable Living Plan, it has thrown open the corporate doors to the independent advocacy organisation Oxfam for in-depth – and public – reviews of the company’s impacts on poverty in Indonesia and labour practices in Vietnam.
- China’s government is promulgating rules and guidelines apace to push the private (including state-owned) sector to better serve public interests.
- Throughout Asia, stock exchanges are pushing listed companies to report on their environmental and social impacts.
- While continuing the advocacy campaigns that have made it famous around the world, Greenpeace is now working with Asian companies to protect forests.
As the need for and scale of such initiatives grow, businesses, governments, and civil society organisations can no longer muddle through, figuring out how to collaborate as they go along. The Master of Tri-Sector Collaboration provides insights from the world’s top thinkers, lessons from a wealth of experiences, and a toolkit of collaborative and management skills to deal with a future of increasing complexity, scarce resources, and new opportunities
Academic Director, Master of Tri-Sector Collaboration, Singapore Management University
Professor of Public Policy, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University
Non-resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC
Last updated on 03 Mar 2017 .