Wednesday, 17 April 2024

DBS and Sheng Siong partner for sustainable business operations

5 min read

DBS Bank and Sheng Siong announced a partnership to help suppliers become more resource efficient and reduce their carbon footprint.

Together, the partners aim to engage up to 1,000 small and medium enterprises (SME) in the Sheng Siong supply chain network over the next two years. This collaboration will jointly introduce a comprehensive sustainability programme that will help businesses identify, develop and implement decarbonisation plans.

This initiative also represents the first-ever collaboration between two SkillsFuture Queen Bee companies, with the aim of building a resilient and sustainable business ecosystem. Introduced in 2020, the SkillsFuture Queen Bee initiative aims to support skills and workforce capability development in SME to enable their growth and business transformation. SkillsFuture Queen Bee companies are industry leaders with strong sectoral expertise, market leadership and ability to influence companies, particularly SME. This pioneering partnership between DBS and Sheng Siong is an example of how SkillsFuture Queen Bees can combine their expertise and network to amplify industry-led support for SME.

Tan Kok Yam, chief executive, SkillsFuture Singapore, said: “It is encouraging to see our SkillsFuture Queen Bee partners, who are industry leaders in their own fields, join hands to help promote sustainability in the wholesale trade and retail sectors. This collaboration will help reach out to more SME, as they develop sustainable business capabilities and relevant skillsets of their workforce, that will benefit the businesses, help the environment and contribute towards Singapore’s Green Plan 2030. We also hope to see more of our SkillsFuture Queen Bee partners do likewise – come together organically to share and expand their network so that more SME will benefit from their support.”

Because the path to sustainability is not a one-size-fits-all solution, the programme will be right-sized to meet the specific needs of SME in the wholesale trade and retail sector. For those who may have yet to start their sustainability journeys, introductory workshops to understand the basics ̶ including principles of sustainability, reporting and tracking ̶ will be available. For companies already looking to green their operations, sector-relevant solutions, such as the use of energy-efficient systems, electrification of vehicles, waste reduction and recycling will be introduced.

On top of upskilling courses and green solutions, DBS will also offer sustainable financing solutions at preferential rates to help businesses overcome funding gaps. The bank will also provide guidance on how to tap relevant government grants to ease the cost burden of companies who wish to go green.

Koh Kar Siong, group head of corporate and SME banking at DBS, said: “Building a thriving business is no longer just about being profitable, but being sustainable as well. Budget 2024 underscored the government’s efforts to strengthen Singapore’s economic competitiveness, which includes accelerating SME's adoption of green solutions and upskilling their labour force. Companies that do not start making this transition risk losing out. DBS recognises that this journey of sustainability and upskilling is not easy – smaller businesses especially need more support to navigate this journey. We are excited to be embarking on this collaboration with Sheng Siong to work closely with suppliers to help create a more sustainable future for all.”

As one of Singapore’s leading supermarket operators, Sheng Siong is actively working to reduce both its own environmental footprint and that of its supply chain. By encouraging small businesses within its network to embrace sustainable business practices, the retailer is moving closer to fulfilling its sustainability goals, while contributing to the development of a more resilient supply chain.

Lin Ruiwen, executive director of Sheng Siong, said: “Collaboration is key to unlocking a sustainable future. Sheng Siong is excited to partner with DBS and leverage their expertise to further support our suppliers to upskill their workforce and develop capabilities to achieve their sustainability endeavours. By empowering our suppliers to operate more efficiently and decarbonise their operations, we can collectively minimise the environmental impact of our supply chain. Together, we hope to build a more sustainable and resilient ecosystem, benefitting our communities and ensuring a greener tomorrow.”

Gilbert Koh, executive director of Allswell Trading, said: “We recognise the growing need to go green as the business landscape changes. To remain competitive, we need to adopt sustainable business practices so that we are ready to meet the demands of a low carbon economy. Our challenge lies in developing green capabilities so that our business can survive and thrive. As one of Sheng Siong’s suppliers, we are keen to be part of this joint programme and learn from it. We want to be empowered to make the necessary changes to build up our eco capabilities, through knowledge building and upskilling, and eventually transiting to a more climate-friendly business model.”

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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