Being a purpose-driven bank

As a purpose-driven bank, DBS seeks to create value for the long term by managing our business and working with our stakeholders in a balanced and responsible way. We believe that we need to change the way we view consumption and production to do more, and better, with less. With this as our mission, DBS kickstarted a bank-wide Zero Food Waste (ZFW) initiative in 2020.

Our approach to the ZFW initiative aligns with DBS' three sustainability pillarsResponsible BankingResponsible Business Practices, and Creating Social Impact, whereby we aim to encourage a shift in behaviours and mindsets to reduce food waste by 1) advocating and building public awareness of the issue; 2) engaging employees and reducing food waste in our business operations; and 3) partnering ecosystem partners to scale impact.

 

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.

At DBS, we are committed in our push towards zero food waste, to build a more sustainable future for our children and the generations to come. Together, we can all play our part.

 

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.

    In India, we started tracking food waste in our cafeteria since May 2019 and have seen a near 30% reduction in compost waste collected.

     

  • Redistribute

    We work with community partners across the region to redistribute food to those in need. 

    In Hong Kong, for instance, DBS has partnered with local charity Foodlink Foundation in 2020 to help ensure surplus food reaches the underprivileged in the community instead of the landfill. DBS Hong Kong is sponsoring a new refrigerated van that will be used by Foodlink Foundation to help collect safe-to-eat surplus food from F&B outlets all over the city and deliver it to the underprivileged. This initiative has rescued over 60,000kg of surplus food since it started.

    In Taiwan, we donated NT$3 million, through contributions from both staff and bank customers, to support the elderly and underprivileged families who were most affected by the pandemic. Through this, over 17,000kg of food packs which included surplus foods was purchased from SEs and redistributed to support the community.

     

  • 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.

 

Awards and recognition

DBS is honoured to receive the President’s Award for the Environment 2021. It’s Singapore’s highest environmental accolade, and recognises our efforts to promote zero food waste, as well as our leadership in sustainable finance and responsible business practices.

We are also proud to share that DBS’ Towards Zero Food Waste initiative has been recognised on a global stage, taking home a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the Purpose-Driven Communications category at Reuters Events’ Responsible Business Awards 2021. Formerly known as the Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Awards, this prestigious global awards programme, now in its 13th year, honours corporate leadership in sustainable business. 

 

 

Working with partners

  • Social Enterprises

    In 2020, DBS Foundation, which was established to champion social entrepreneurship in Asia, gave out SGD 1.4M to 13 social enterprises (SEs) across the region as part of its annual Social Enterprise Grant Programme. Five of the awarded SEs operate in the zero food waste space, and have technology, applications and innovative 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.

    We also partner with various social enterprises working to reduce food loss and food waste across Asia. 

    In China and Taiwan, for instance, we worked 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.

    In India, we have embarked on a partnership with an SE S4S, a food preservation company that invents new food processing machines, to support the setup of 12 dehydrating units to be run by women microentrepreneurs. Through this partnership, roughly 200,000kg of blemished and cosmetically filtered food is expected to be processed, whilst also generating additional income for the women and their families.

     

  • Organisations

    In Singapore, we supported 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, distributes free packets of leafy and fruited vegetable seeds to interested members of public.

    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. As part of the campaign in 2020, 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.

    In 2021, we partnered food delivery platform WhyQ to give patrons a discount for ordering their meals at the last-hour of mealtimes. The deal not only helps reduce food waste for environmental impact, it also helps hawkers cut costs and boost earnings by helping them clear their unused ingredients for orders. This is also part of DBS’ push to support hawkers affected by the effects of the pandemic.

    In China, DBS is partnering with dianping, one of the largest dining reservations app in China, to launch a “clean up your plate” campaign, with nearly 30 restaurants participating to encourage diners to reduce food waste by cleaning up their plate.

    While 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.

     

  • Media

    We’ve partnered Mediacorp, Singapore’s national media network, as one of the main sponsors of MasterChef Singapore Season 2. The reality TV series follows home cooks compete for the most coveted culinary title amongst amateur chefs. Through our sponsorship, DBS leverages the ever-popular series to spotlight how food waste can be reduced in the kitchen, so that each individual may make an impact on our environment and strive to be the best we can be for a better world.

    With Mediacorp’s CNA Insider, we created Food, Wasted, to look at some of the innovative solutions being developed to address the food loss and waste happening along the entire food supply chain.

A three-part series on preventing wastage in every step of the supply chain.

We’ve also partnered The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings and national broadsheet, to run several series to raise greater awareness around food waste and eating sustainably, so everyone can play their part in tackling this crucial issue. We explore pertinent issues and investigate 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.

A four-part series on eating more sustainably.

A six-part series delving into the growing food waste problem in Singapore.

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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