Towards Zero Food Waste
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, and there is an urgent need to take action before it’s too late.
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.
What we’re doing
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.
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.
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)
S4S Technologies (India)
Rooftop Republic (Hong Kong)
Eco-Greenergy (Hong Kong)
Pandawa Agri Indonesia (Indonesia)
Edible Garden City (Singapore)
Pure Milk (Taiwan)
Buy Directly From Farmers (Taiwan)
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.
Learn more about food waste
Alongside our efforts to reduce waste along the food value chain, we are also creating content and leveraging media partnerships to raise awareness on food waste so everyone can play their part in tackling this crucial issue. Check out our articles and videos below on tips to help you reduce waste.
TreeDots: turning food waste into opportunity
With the amount of food wastage almost doubling over the last 10 years in Singapore, it's time for serious intervention.
TreeDots aims to reduce food wastage by creating a platform to link businesses with unsold inventory to potential buyers and prevent perfectly edible food from ending up in the bin.
This social enterprise wants to ensure the fish we eat doesn’t cost our environment
What is the true cost of that fish on your plate?
When fish farms are not sustainable – a host of environmental challenges ensue. Pesticides and antibiotics used might end up released into the environment; large amounts of fish waste can pollute and deplete oxygen from the water; coastal habitats might be destroyed to build these farms.
UglyFood: transforming imperfection into wholesomeness
Have you heard of "cosmetic filtering"?
You may have been guilty of it in the past, when you chose a bunch of kai Ian over another just because it looked prettier or greener, or perhaps it had less "holes". Almost all of us have done so, at some point.
The battle of the food waste bulge — why you should throw away less food
With Singapore having declared 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, TODAY’s new four-part Trash Talk series examines the issue of waste management and how Singaporeans can do our part to reduce waste. In the final instalment, we look at the burgeoning problem of food waste here, and the innovative ways to tackle it.