Companies in Asia willing to allocate up to 20% of their operating budgets to ESG efforts, with a focus on environmental projects

Singapore.23 Mar 2023

Nine in 10 companies recognise the outsized impact environmental trends will have on their industries

Singapore, 23 Mar 2023 - Managing climate risk continues to be a growing priority – and opportunity – for companies across Asia. On average, companies that viewed ESG as a high priority (83%) were prepared to allocate about 20% of their budget within the next three years towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) projects, up from about 18% currently. These were the insights from the Catalysts of Sustainability e-book which DBS launched today.

The online publication aims to pinpoint the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across five key industries – real estate, mobility, F&B/hospitality, power, and agriculture – as well as the opportunities to enable their transition to a low-carbon economy. The findings were the result of an inaugural survey conducted in August last year of 800 SMEs across six markets in Asia[1].

Companies surveyed said that environmental projects will take a lion’s share of their sustainability investments, as nine in 10 believed that environmental factors would have the biggest impact on their respective industries. Access to funding and knowledge capital were also important drivers for businesses to engage in environmental initiatives.

Koh Kar Siong, Group Head of SME Banking, Institutional Banking Group, DBS, said: “Access to the right resources, technical know-how and tools to deploy ESG initiatives are especially essential for SMEs, who face the constant challenge of having to prioritise projects on tighter budgets. This is where partners, like DBS, can play a role – by working with customers to identify financing opportunities, help them adjust their portfolios to align with climate targets; and match appropriate risk management principles to help customers achieve their sustainability goals.”

To help companies yield better returns on their sustainability investments, DBS in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore, will curate more courses to help SMEs acquire new capabilities to implement and operationalise sustainable practices, address new ESG demands, and generate impact. Since July 2022, DBS has taken on the role of a SkillsFuture Queen Bee. Under this initiative, the bank has enabled 80 SMEs to upskill employees in the areas of cyberwellness, digitalisation and workplace learning. More details on the sustainability programmes will be shared in due course.

The publication was unveiled at the DBS Disrupt: The Future of Sustainability event, which brought together industry leaders, subject matter experts and fellow SMEs. DBS Disrupt is a series of knowledge forums organised by DBS BusinessClass and designed to help SMEs identify growth trends to future proof their businesses. Over 350 people attended the hybrid event which included panel discussions and an exhibition showcasing sustainable solutions by local and regional entrepreneurs]. This is the first in-person forum since 2019, with more trends-based events moving forward. To find out more, visit

[1] Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Mainland China, Taiwan


About DBS
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.

DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. 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.

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