Building a food secure future

A third of the world's food is lost or wasted each year. This is enough to feed three billion people – which is twice the size of China and more than three times the number of hungry people in the world. Yet, one in nine people still go hungry today.

From an environmental perspective, food wastage amounts to almost a tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it the third largest emitting ‘country’ in the world behind China and the US, or almost equivalent to global road transport emissions.

As the world’s population expands and environmental pressures increase, the global food waste crisis becomes more dire day by day, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Supply chains have been upended; farmers are unable to sell or transport their fresh produce, or even harvest them. Massive amounts of food end up dumped at the production level. At the same time, up to 265 million people around the world are suffering from food insecurity and face possible starvation.

As a purpose-driven bank, we seek to create value for the long term by managing our business and working with our customers and partners in a balanced and responsible way. We need to change the way we view consumption and production to do more and better with less. Together, we can build a more sustainable future for our children and the generations to come.


Supporting hard-hit communities

For segments of communities across the region, their livelihoods have been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak and they are going hungry. To help address some of the enormous needs that have arisen, DBS, in April 2020, launched the DBS Stronger Together Fund. It is an SGD 10.5 million fund to provide 4.5 million meals and other medical necessities to communities across the region that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

Find out more here.


What we’re doing

  • Reduce

    We have taken steps to reduce food waste within the bank and at our events. For instance, we reduced the amount of food catered by 20% for the 2020 DBS SpringFest celebration in Singapore, and good quality unserved food was later redistributed to more than 100 foreign workers. Among our employees, the Singapore FoodShare project is a chatgroup that informs members of excess food from buffets held within our premises. It potentially activates more than 500 subscribers to eat or take away the surplus food. In India, we started tracking food waste in our cafeteria since May 2019 and have seen a near 30% reduction in compost waste collected.

    We’re also working with social enterprises to reduce food loss. In China and Taiwan, for instance, we’re working with social enterprises to reduce food loss in farms due to transport and export constraints during the Covid-19 outbreak. As of April 2020, over 2,500kg of oranges have been rescued and sold through a BUY4GOOD programme in China.


  • Redistribute

    We work with community partners across the region to redistribute food to those in need. In Hong Kong, for instance, more than 280 employees volunteered in 2019 with Food Angel, a local charitable project that prepares nutritious meals and distributes them to underprivileged communities. Our employees also volunteered in various programmes by Foodlink Foundation, a charity in Hong Kong dedicated to collecting safe-to eat surplus food from F&B outlets for delivery to those in need. In Singapore, our DBS People of Purpose regularly volunteer with food charities like Food Bank Singapore to rescue ugly food and redistribute them to communities in need. We also partner both Food Bank Singapore and Food From the Heart to sort and pack donated food items for redistribution to beneficiaries.

    In Taiwan, we partnered social enterprise Goodwill Foods to redistribute ugly vegetables and social enterprise Do You A Flavor to distribute hot meals made from donated food ingredients. In Indonesia, we also partnered with Food Bank of Indonesia to provide and deliver nutritious food to its beneficiaries.


  • Recycle

    Since 2018, we have been composting our cafeteria waste. In 2019, DBS’ kitchen in Singapore diverted more than 3 tonnes of organic waste to our own composter, creating 1977kg of compost. We also teamed up with social enterprises Bettr Barista and Edible Garden City in 2019 to tackle the issue of coffee waste at the Singapore Fintech Festival. Close to 100kg of used coffee grounds was collected from the bank’s booth and across the three SFF cafes to be composted and used as fertiliser for our upcoming edible garden at DBS Asia Hub.

    Used coffee grounds from DBS Hong Kong’s premises have been recycled through a “Zero Grounds Coffee Campaign” by Eco-Greenergy, a DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Grant Awardee that turns coffee grounds into innovative products such as soap, compost and flower pots. Since the campaign launch in August 2019, 2.9 tonnes of coffee grounds have been recycled.


Working with partners

  • Social Enterprises

    We support and partner with various social enterprises working to reduce food loss and food waste across Asia. These social enterprises address pertinent food waste challenges in innovative ways, such as addressing nutritional deficiencies with sustainable food sources and converting waste cooking oil into biofuels.

    In 2020, DBS Foundation launched a special category of grants for innovative businesses working towards Zero Food Waste, as part of its annual Social Enterprise Grant Programme. Some examples of solutions that the Grants support include technology, applications, innovations, products that reduce food loss along the supply chain as well as those that manage surplus food or upcycle food waste to value added products.

    Here’re some social enterprises we support:

    Cha Tzu Tang (Taiwan)

    MotionECO (China)

    NamZ (Singapore)

    S4S Technologies (India)

    Tanijoy (Indonesia)


    Mycotech (Indonesia)

    Rooftop Republic (Hong Kong)

    Treedots (Singapore)

    Eco-Greenergy (Hong Kong)

    Kheyti (India)


    Pandawa Agri Indonesia (Indonesia)

    Edible Garden City (Singapore)

    Pure Milk (Taiwan)

    Agriforward (Taiwan)

    Buy Directly From Farmers (Taiwan)


    Find out more about our Grant Progamme.
    Find out more about our Grant Awardees.


  • Organisations

    We are working with the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China on it's “Let’s Eat, Waste Not!” programme to support F&B members whose business have been negatively impacted by Covid-19.

    In India, we have also partnered with the Akshaya Patra Foundation – which runs the world’s largest school lunch programme to end child classroom hunger – in a campaign to provide more meals for children. We are also working with partners across the food and agriculture sector to help create more efficient supply chains and reduce food loss and waste.

    In Singapore, we are supporting the National Parks Board’s Gardening with Edibles programme as a founding partner, to encourage more Singaporeans to be engaged with nature and to build social bonds while greening the nation. The Gardening with Edibles initiative, which will run in 3 phases from June 2020 – April 2021, will be implemented through the distribution of free packets of leafy and fruited vegetable seeds to interested members of public.

    All DBS employees based in Singapore will be invited to apply for a seed package to begin their very own home gardening journeys with their families. This initiative aligns well with DBS’ efforts to reduce food waste, as food use optimisation forms a key component of Singapore’s food resilience and security.

    In Singapore, DBS is also the first bank to become a collaborating partner in NEA’s Say Yes to Waste Less campaign, which aligns with the bank’s sustainability agenda and advocacy efforts to encourage the public and businesses to Live more, Waste less. These range from significantly reducing the use of plastic bottles in its operations, to working with various food support organisations and DBS Foundation social enterprises to reduce food waste while enhancing Singapore’s food security. As part of the campaign, we partnered restaurant-reservation booking platform Chope to launch DBS-Chope Last Hour Deals, where diners get a discount when they eat at participating F&B outlets in the final hours before closing to collectively reduce food waste.


  • Media

    We’ve partnered The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings and national broadsheet, to run a weekly Sunday series to raise greater awareness around food waste, so everyone can play their part in tackling this crucial issue. We explore pertinent issues and challenges in the areas of food loss and waste, as well as innovative solutions. We also offer practical tips on how households can take steps to reduce their food waste.


    21 June 2020

    21 June 2020

    07 June 2020

    07 June 2020


    24 May 2020

    24 May 2020

    10 May 2020

    10 May 2020


    26 April 2020

    26 April 2020

    12 April 2020

    12 April 2020


    Click below for a look at our past issues.


25 August 2019

25 August 2019

18 August 2019

18 August 2019


11 August 2019

11 August 2019

04 August 2019

04 August 2019


28 July 2019

28 July 2019

The bank also commissioned its own award-winning mini-series Sparks, inspired by true stories of social enterprises, to help raise awareness and galvanise action from the public on an array of sustainability topics, including food waste management, upcycling and reducing plastic pollution. Watch this episode dedicated to raising awareness on food waste.


Food waste: should we really be concerned? How much do you know about it? Take this quiz and test your knowledge!


Question 1 of 5
How much food waste did Singapore generate in 2019?


Learn more about food waste

Check out our articles and videos for more information and tips to help you reduce food waste.


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