DBS unveils metaverse adventure on ‘DBS BetterWorld’ to spotlight global food waste challenge
The virtual experience highlights the global food waste challenge and what Businesses for Impact, supported by the DBS Foundation, are doing to address the issue. According to the United Nations, one-third of all food produced in the world – or an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes - is wasted each year. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that ~40% of the food produced in India is wasted every year due to a fragmented and ineffective supply chain. This not only decreases nutritional security but also results in income losses for farmers.
To help address this issue, DBS launched its Towards Zero Food Waste initiative in 2020 to rally its employees, customers, communities, and the public to collectively create a more food-resilient future. As at the end of 2022, the initiative has generated over 2,000 tonnes of total food impact, which includes food waste reduced, food recycled, and food redistributed.
Shoma Narayanan, Managing Director and Head of Group Strategic Marketing and Communications at DBS Bank India, said, " DBS is dedicated to creating a larger impact beyond banking to build resilient and food-secure communities while contributing to environmental sustainability. We continue to harness the power of technology and innovation, tapping into the potential of the metaverse. Through DBS BetterWorld, we aim to drive awareness about pressing issues like food waste and create unique engagement opportunities. This closely aligns with DBS Foundation’s focus on championing social enterprises that bridge gaps within food and agricultural value chains. We are excited to see how this initiative scales and paves the way for a more sustainable future.
Cognisant of its responsibility to society as a purpose-driven bank, DBS gives back to the community and empowers social entrepreneurs and impact organisations to create positive change. Since 2014, the DBS Foundation has been committed to uplifting lives and livelihoods by igniting change in businesses and communities.
To date, the DBS Foundation has nurtured over 800 businesses for impact in Asia, with some 100 of these awarded grant funding totalling over SGD 13 million through its annual Grant Award. The DBS Foundation Business for Impact chapter now catalyses the growth of innovative, purpose-driven businesses, including SMEs, designed to address pressing issues facing our planet and society. The Grant Award recipients from 2022 are projected to collectively benefit more than two million lives and livelihoods across Asia and reduce over 100,000 tonnes of food waste by end of 2024. Three Indian startups- Neomotion Assistive Solutions, Saathi Eco Innovations, and Urdhvam Environmental Technologies were among the recipients of the grant last year.
Additionally, DBS Bank India awarded grants of INR 44 lakh each to five Indian startups, totalling to INR 2.2 crores - under the program ‘Techtonic – Innovations Towards Zero Food Waste’, which will help the startups scale up and deploy their products in the food and agri sector.
In 2022, the DBS Foundation raised the bar with the formation of a new Community Impact chapter to equip the underserved with digital and financial literacy to face the future with confidence and enable communities to be more food secure and resilient. It committed SGD 5.6 million in funding to support 10 inaugural programmes across all the bank’s core markets of Singapore, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, and Taiwan.
As part of the community impact chapter initiatives, DBS Foundation partnered with Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions (HESPL) to launch a financial literacy and social entitlements programme aimed at supporting marginalised citizens in rural and urban India. The programme aims to educate 2,00,000 beneficiaries, with 70% being women, to build their digital and financial capacity while facilitating access to public welfare entitlements.
In August 2023, DBS announced that it will commit up to SGD 1 billion over the next 10 years to improve lives and livelihoods of the low-income and underprivileged and foster a more inclusive society. DBS will deploy SGD 100 million each year in Singapore and its other key markets with effect from 2024, augmenting existing community initiatives by the bank and DBS Foundation. In addition, the bank’s 36,000-strong workforce will commit over 1.5 million volunteer hours over the next decade to give back to society.
As part of the virtual experience offered by DBS BetterWorld, players must complete a series of activities inspired by five Businesses for Impact supported by the DBS Foundation and their unique approach to mitigating food waste:
- Brewerkz – a craft beer maker based in Singapore, Brewerkz is focused on upcycling brewers’ spent grains, a by-product of beer-making that is often discarded in the industry today, into food products.
- Breer – a food upcycling startup based in Hong Kong, Breer collects surplus bread from bakeries and restaurants and uses it to brew craft beer.
- GreenPrice – based in Hong Kong, GreenPrice specialises in selling food that is close to or just past their "best before” date, helping eliminate food waste while making food more accessible to low-income households.
- Edible Garden City – operating out of Singapore, Edible Garden City champions the grow-our-own-food movement by making soil-based urban farming and edible gardening more accessible to city dwellers.
- Rooftop Republic – based in Hong Kong, Rooftop Republic transforms underutilised and unconventional spaces in the territory, such as disused helipads, into urban farms.
DBS BetterWorld will be accessible to the public once The Sandbox’s Alpha Season 4 is launched.
Watch the game trailer at: https://youtu.be/SMhNZLYdEWE
 All five Businesses for Impact are recipients of the DBS Foundation Grant Award, which was designed to recognise and catalyse the growth of businesses that have successfully integrated both social / environmental impact and financial profit into their business models and are strongly positioned for long-term growth.
 The Sandbox’s Alpha Season 4 is expected to launch before the end of 2023.
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 19 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world.
Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named “World’s Best Bank” by Global Finance, “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney and “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney and the world’s “Most Innovative in Digital Banking” by The Banker. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia” award by Global Finance for 14 consecutive years from 2009 to 2022. Additionally, DBS Bank was ranked among the top 3 on Forbes' list of the World's Best Banks in India for three consecutive years, from 2020 to 2022.
DBS Bank has been present in India for 29 years, opening its first office in Mumbai in 1994. DBS Bank India Limited is the first among the large foreign banks in India to start operating as a wholly-owned, locally incorporated subsidiary of a leading global bank. DBS provides a range of banking services for large, medium, and small enterprises and individual consumers in India. In November 2020, Lakshmi Vilas Bank was merged with DBS Bank India Limited. The bank now has a network of ~530 branches in 19 Indian states.
As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, as it banks the Asian way. Through the DBS Foundation, the bank creates impact beyond banking by supporting social enterprises: businesses with a double bottom-line of profit and social and/or environmental impact. DBS Foundation also gives back to society in various ways, including equipping communities with future-ready skills and building food resilience. In 2020, DBS introduced the "Towards Zero Food Waste" initiative as part of a global sustainability practice to encourage a shift in behaviours and mindsets to reduce food waste.
With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. For more information, please visit: www.dbs.com/India.