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Sharing session for CEO Action Network members: Collaboration with Civil Society

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Organised in partnership with the Malaysian CSO-SDG Alliance, this was all about SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals

Jia Yaw worked hard on forging this inaugural collaboration between the CEO Action Network and the Malaysian CSO-SDG Alliance. He’s very fortunate that both network organisations have committed to it whole-heartedly.

After months of careful curation, this session featured the inspiring and intimate stories of partnership between 3 pairs of businesses and their respective civil society organisation partnership:

  • Coca-Cola in their partnership with Raleigh Kuala Lumpur (plastic waste and circular economy)

  • Digi Telecommunications in their partnership with Unicef (protecting children’s interests)

  • Sime Darby Property in their partnership with Tropical Rainforest Conservation and Research Centre (improving biodiversity)


Introductory remarks - Chong Kok Wai, Co-Lead, CAN WS 2-Capacity Building

Introductory remarks - Lavanya Iyer, Co-Chair, Malaysian CSO-SDG Alliance

Welcoming remarks - Prof Sibrandes Poppema, President, Sunway University

Collaboration sharing session:

  1. Digi Telecommunications (Philip Ling, Head of Sustainability) x Unicef (Tiffany Mervin, Corporate Alliance Officer)

  2. Sime Darby Property (Mohd Razif Mohd Yusoff, Head, Safety & Sustainability) x Tropical Rainforest Conservation and Research Centre (Afzaa Aziz, Project Manager)

  3. Coca-Cola (Khairul Anwar bin Ab Gahani, Public Affairs, Comms & Sustainability Director) x Raleigh Kuala Lumpur (Nat Tan Zhai Yun, ex-committee member)

Moderator: Kiu Jia Yaw, Co-Chair, Malaysian CSO-SDG Alliance

The focus of the session was not on the ‘sleek and shiny’ aspects of their projects but instead, on the challenges that arose in the course of developing the partnership, the struggles, the reflections gained and lessons learned, and the surprises encountered.

The panellists reflected on their journeys together, shared beautiful insights, humbling moments, leaps of faith, and identified crucial building blocks for these partnerships. We won't share details as we agreed that the Chatham House Rules shall apply, but the conversations were candid, thoughtful, funny and very down-to-earth.

While moderating the session, Jia Yaw observed from a question/observation from the floor, that as the panellists shared their journeys, struggles and reflections with the audience, it became possible to catch a glimpse of the areas where the business organisations were making genuine efforts towards progress, which translated into improvements in trust.

It was a unique session, lending new depth to the sustainability conversation, thanks in no small part to the willingness of the panellists to share their insights and experiences.

The event benefited from the wonderful support of a third collaborator - Sunway University! Sunway provided not just the splendid auditorium and technical support, but the solidarity of an active champion of the SDGs.

We look forward to the next collaboration!


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