DBS debuts second season of SPARKS, an award-winning mini-series, with focus on sustainability

Singapore.28 Jun 2019

Themed “Everyday Heroes for a Better World”, the new season focuses on environmental and social issues, and aims to drive change

Singapore, 28 Jun 2019 - In line with its commitment to advancing the sustainability agenda as a purpose-driven bank, DBS Bank today debuted the second season of Sparks, an award-winning mini-series.

Themed “Everyday Heroes for a Better World” and inspired by true stories, the first three episodes of this new season follow a group of dynamic DBS bankers as they partner with the community to address some of the most pressing social and environmental issues of the day. These include plastic pollution, food waste as well as social inequality.

The episodes are inspired by the stories of three social enterprises (SEs), Evoware from Indonesia, Bettr Barista from Singapore and Eco-Greenergy from Hong Kong, which are supported by the DBS Foundation. The DBS Foundation was set up five years ago to champion social entrepreneurship and has since nurtured over 300 SEs around the region.

Evoware was founded to address the global plastic waste problem by providing an eco-friendly, biodegradable and even edible packaging solution made from seaweed. Bettr Barista empowers marginalised individuals through jobs training in coffee brewing so they can be self-sufficient. As food waste becomes a burgeoning issue in developed societies, Eco-Greenergy turns coffee grounds into innovative products such as compostable cutlery, therefore upcycling food waste.

Through Sparks Season Two, DBS hopes to spark conversations and galvanise change around key sustainability challenges such as:

• Plastic pollution: Asia is home to eight of the world’s top 10 plastic waste polluting countries. It is estimated that five Asian countries alone – China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – account for 60% of all plastics dumped into the ocean. In Singapore, the consumption of single-use plastics continues to be a particularly pressing issue. According to the Singapore Environment Council, Singaporeans use at least 1.76 billion plastic items a year, of which less than 20% is recycled.

• Inequality: Despite economic development, issues of social and gender inequality remain. OECD work shows that the accumulation of disadvantages for certain income groups can have detrimental effects on the prosperity and well-being of all.

• Food waste: USD 1 trillion of food is wasted globally each year, and Asia contributes to 50% of this. In Singapore, 2.5 kg of food is thrown away by an average Singapore home each week.

At the same time, through the episodes, the bank seeks to pay tribute to everyday heroes whether individuals, businesses or members of Team DBS, who are passionately and resiliently stepping out to make a difference.

Karen Ngui, Head of DBS Group Strategic Marketing & Communications and Board Member of DBS Foundation said: “As a purpose-driven bank that’s deeply rooted in the heart of Singapore and the region, we believe we have a central role to play in creating a sustainable future that goes beyond banking. We are acutely aware that such a huge endeavour requires us to join hands with businesses, communities and the public. Fundamentally, we also believe that there is an everyday hero in each and every one of us, and together, we can all drive change – in big and small ways – for a better world.”

Over the years, DBS has been focused on advancing the sustainability agenda, through responsible banking, responsible business practices and creating social impact. It was the first bank in Southeast Asia to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Asia-Pacific, and the first Singapore bank to be named as a constituent of the FTSE4Good Global Index. DBS has also been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the last two years.

In 2018, the bank provided sustainable financing amounting to more than SGD 2.4 billion. Recently, the bank signed Singapore’s first sustainability linked loan for an SME with Chew’s Agriculture, a leading egg producer in Singapore.

DBS is moving towards utilising 100% renewable energy for its entire Singapore operations by 2030 and has partnered the Singapore Management University to launch Singapore’s first sustainability major.

On the social impact front, the DBS Foundation has awarded about SGD 5 million in grants to SEs across the region. These SEs have deployed social innovations in areas such as healthcare, social inclusion, environment protection, waste management, food sustainability, as well as employment and income generation for the marginalised. In 2017, DBS was also the official banking partner and sole placement agent for the Women’s Livelihood Bond, the world’s first social sustainability bond to be listed on a stock exchange.

For its sustainability efforts, DBS was conferred the Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Award for Sustainable Business, Sustainable Business Awards Singapore for Best Flagship Initiative and Champion of Good 2018 by Company of Good.

Since its 2016 debut, the 10 episodes of the first season of Sparks have garnered more than 250 million views and over 24 million digital engagements across the region. It has also won a number of global marketing accolades. These include the Gold Award in Digital Marketing at the global Efma-Accenture 2017 Distribution & Marketing Innovation Awards and Silver in the prestigious Shorty Awards 2018. Most recently, it was also named winner in the Video Marketing category, Corporate division, in the Conference Board’s Excellence in Marketing and Communications Awards 2019.

Cast members in Sparks Season Two include industry veterans and rising stars such as Adrian Pang, Tan Kheng Hua, Jae Liew, Aanchal Wadhwani, Arifin Putra, Chen Yi Xin, Chew Kin Wah, Darryl Yong, Jamie Xia, Terrance Tan and Thomas Pang.

View the Sparks miniseries that has been inspired by true stories: DBS.com/sparks


About DBS
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 18 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 “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker and “Best Bank in the World” by Global Finance. 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. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia” award by Global Finance for ten consecutive years from 2009 to 2018.

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, and positively impacting communities through supporting social enterprises, as it banks the Asian way. It has also established a SGD 50 million foundation to strengthen its corporate social responsibility efforts in Singapore and across Asia.

With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. The bank acknowledges the passion, commitment and can-do spirit in all of our 27,000 staff, representing over 40 nationalities. For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.

About DBS Foundation
Championing Social Entrepreneurship
As a corporate foundation in Asia solely dedicated to championing social entrepreneurship, DBS Foundation contributes towards building a more inclusive society so that those at society’s margins can enjoy productive and rewarding lives. DBS Foundation works with social enterprises and social entrepreneurs in Singapore, India, Indonesia, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong with programmes ranging from venture challenges, learning forums, intensive incubation, grant support, financing and skilled volunteer mentoring. The Foundation is an endeavour from DBS Bank to make an even greater impact in addressing Asia’s evolving social needs. Please visit www.dbs.com/dbsfoundation or reach us at dbsfoundation@dbs.com.