Enabling CSR Journeys

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Be part of this 2-day dynamic experience which will see around 400 business leaders, government officials, CSR practitioners, policy makers, entrepreneurs, academics, union and civil society leaders come together in a brisk exchange of focused analysis and dialogue on the latest in the world of CSR.

Register before 12 July 2015 to enjoy early bird rates! Click for details of the Summit programme.


apex-award-logo-h80Singapore Compact for Corporate Social Responsibility (Singapore Compact), with its co-presenting partners the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and The Business Times, is inviting companies to submit their entries for the inaugural Singapore Apex CSR Awards. This new national corporate social responsibility (CSR) Awards aim to showcase the highest level of CSR excellence in Singapore.  The Awards is supported by City Developments Limited and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. KPMG in Singapore is the knowledge partner of the Awards.

Find out more information on how to participate at www.csrsingapore.org/c/apex-awards.

Read the press release here.

Why CSR is important for SMEs

For many SMEs, CSR is another way to describe something they already do. Especially for many family-run SMEs in Asia, the relationships they maintain with clients, employees, business partners and the local community have been built on trust and a responsible approach to business. In this context, CSR does not aim to reinvent the wheel. It is about building on existing good practice, maximising its impact and making a link between CSR and the company’s core business activities.

Today, SMEs face business challenges such as a shortage of labour and the war for talents. In many instances, SMEs are ideally placed to pursue responsible workplace practices. Certain CSR trends are already a part of SME culture: for example, SMEs in certain sectors are more likely to have family-friendly workplace practices in a less bureaucratic setting, which may well be suitable for employees who would appreciate a more flexible work arrangement due to family commitments or personal choice.

SMEs often have longstanding contacts in servicing a local area and are well placed to understand and benefit from the community relations. Being more flexible and less formal than large companies, an SME can direct resources to CSR efforts more effectively.

The key is to identify the trends relevant to your business and have a plan aligns with your business objectives.

Need a guide?

Besides referring to the six quick tips (right), you can also refer to this CSR and sustainability guidebook specially developed for SMEs by the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and Singapore Compact.

If you are an SME business owner or have been tasked to develop a CSR strategy for your company, here are six quick tips to get you started on and to continue with your CSR journey:

You can also refer to this CSR and sustainability guidebook specially developed for SMEs

If your company is new to CSR, here are some guides for you to consider how to begin:

Benefitting the Community - Project WeCare

Project We Care Stay Well Programme

Project We Care is an initiative led by the private sector and the People’s Association, to encourage corporate volunteerism in Singapore, engaging the efforts of private sector CEOs, Business Leaders and their employees to contribute towards meaningful causes in the community.

Through the leadership of Ms Wee Wei Ling, Chairperson of Project We Care CEOs and Business Leaders , it aims to provide opportunities and platforms for corporations to do good and also impact and inspire other corporations to step out.

One of the current initiatives under Project WeCare is the “Stay Well Programme”, which looks at improving the living conditions of the vulnerable community and make a difference to their living spaces.

Company volunteers can also bring joy and happiness to the vulnerable by engaging them through befriending activities and co-creating their refurbished homes together.  

Adopt this programme today to touch the lives of a family and enjoy tax deduction!

Read more

How can you contribute?
•    Donate $3,500 per household for basic refurbishment works and furniture
•    Corporates can also participate by providing in-kind sponsorship of basic furniture, electrical works, interior design, laundry cleaning, and refurbishment (painting)

Corporate volunteers can befriend the beneficiaries and co-create the entire Stay Well experience for the adopted unit

Why should you contribute?

  • 3 times tax deduction (up from the previous 2.5) is applicable for your organisation if you choose to adopt the programme now
  • Your donation will create a tangible impact on the living conditions of beneficiaries – they will have new furniture, fresh coat of paint, proper electrical wiring, etc
  • As a form of staff engagement for your employees, your corporate volunteers will have a fulfilling time befriending the beneficiaries and witnessing the before-and-after changes in the household unit.

Interested companies can contact Ms Kaye Ng of the People's Association at tel: (65) 6238 2476 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Implementing environmental sustainability programmes



A simple environmental-related programme may be one of the easiest way to start your CSR journey. Here is a toolkit to help you.

Developed by the National Environment Agency (NEA), this resource kit aims to offer information, resources and activities that organisations and interest groups can use as a starting point in protecting and conserving the environment.


Read more

There is also information on courses by the NEA that can help you and the team of environmental champions in your company gain knowledge to implement environmental initiatives within your organisation.

Whether you are looking for ideas or resources to promote environmental awareness in your organisation, or launch resource conservation projects in the community, the resource kit will help you kick-start a fulfilling environmental journey.

(Click on image to download)

Here are some environmental sustainability incentives that your company could consider tapping on:


Energy Efficiency National Partnership (EENP)

A voluntary partnership programme to support companies in their energy efficiency efforts through learning network activities, energy efficiency-related resources, incentives and recognition.

Singapore Certified Energy Manager (SCEM) Programme and Training Grant

Targeted at engineers/ managers who manage manufacturing facilities and buildings and provide energy services or engineering consulting services, the Grant aims to develop local expertise and capability in professional energy management.

Design for Efficiency Scheme

The Scheme aims to encourage investors in new facilities or facility expansion projects in Singapore to integrate energy and resource efficiency improvements into manufacturing development plans early in the design stage.

Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme (EASe)

EASe aims to encourage companies in the manufacturing and building sectors to carry out detailed studies on their energy consumption, also known as energy assessments, and identify potential areas for energy efficiency improvement.

Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies (GREET)

GREET aims to encourage owners and operators of new and existing industrial facilities to invest in energy efficient equipment or technologies.


Water Efficiency Management System SS577

A national standard on water efficiency management systems that includes framework, guidelines, as well as suggested tools and best practices for water users to improve their water usage and efficiency. Developed by Singapore's national water agency PUB, together with SPRING Singapore and industry stakeholders.

Water Efficiency Fund (WEF)

The WEF was set up by PUB to balance the water needs of a growing population and the industries, encourage companies to look into efficient ways of managing their water demands and promote water conservation within their businesses and in the community.

Water Efficiency Manager Course

This is a customised course for Facilities and Operations Management (FOM) managers as well as management system consultants and certification bodies providing services in water efficiency management systems.  The course is designed to train these professionals in water management, which will equip them with the knowledge and skills to conduct water audits, and implement water efficiency measures to reduce water consumption.

Water Efficient Buildings (WEB) Certification

This certification encourages businesses, industries, schools and buildings from the non-domestic sector to implement water efficiency measures. The basic certification can be obtained by installing water efficient fittings and adopting water efficient flow rates/flush volumes.  To further encourage customers to improve their buildings’ water efficiency, PUB has worked with Building Construction Authority (BCA) to award points to buildings for meeting WEB requirements under BCA’s Green Mark Certification Scheme for buildings. The certifications are valid for a period of 3 years.

Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP)

Introduced in 2010 as a voluntary initiative to help non-domestic customers improve the efficiency of their water use, the WEMP includes an analysis of current water use, an identification of potential water savings, and an implementation timeline.

From 2015, large water users (water consumption ≥ 60,000 cu m per calendar year) are required to submit their WEMPs to PUB by June on an annual basis.

Water Efficient Building Design Guide Book

Developed by PUB together with professional organisations, this Guide Book provides guidelines and recommendations for adoption by the industry in designing for efficient water use in buildings.

Waste Management




Singapore Packaging Agreement

The Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) is a voluntary pact by industry, government and non-governmental organisations, to reduce packaging waste. Introduced by the NEA in 2007, the SPA seeks to get businesses to commit to taking greater stewardship of their packaging and effect changes to their packaging designs and practices to reduce waste, and aims to raise community awareness on packaging waste minimisation.

Singapore Standard for End-of-Life ICT Equipment (SS587)

SS587 is a management system standard that provides guidelines to companies and organisations to help manage the end-of-life infocomm technology (ICT) equipment that they generate. The standard is based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach which enables organisations to plan, develop, implement, monitor, review and continuously improve their activities.

3R Fund

The 3R Fund provides grants to help companies and organizations implement projects to achieve additional waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

3R Programme for Hotels

The 3R Programme for Hotels is a joint Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) - NEA initiative where participating hotels voluntarily commit to work with the SHA and the NEA to reduce solid waste in the Singapore hotel industry.  A 3R e-Guidebook that provides practical guidelines on planning and implementing a 3R programme for hotels had been developed. 

Sustainability Guidelines for the Singapore MICE Industry

The sustainability guidelines have been developed for the Singapore MICE (meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions) industry, as a tool to help both planners and suppliers integrate sustainable practices within an organisation’s operations and regular event plans.

Building Sustainability

BCA Green Mark Scheme

The BCA Green Mark Scheme was launched in January 2005 by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) as an initiative to drive Singapore's construction industry towards more environment-friendly buildings. It is intended to promote sustainability in the built environment and raise environmental awareness among developers, designers and builders when they start project conceptualisation and design, as well as during construction.

BCA Green Mark for Office Interior

The BCA Green Mark for Office Interior is BCA’s initiative to promote and recognise environmentally friendly and sustainable practices of office tenants. It is applicable to both existing and new offices that have or have not undergone renovation.  Launched in 2009, the scheme has since been gaining momentum with the industry, with its take-up rate being on the rise each year.

BCA Green Mark Specialist Schemes

The Certified Green Mark Manager (GMM), Green Mark Professional (GMP) & Green Mark Facilities Manager (GMFM) Scheme is to accord recognition to professionals who have attained a good foundation and knowledge and has the professional knowledge and ability to give advice in the designing of environmentally-friendly buildings.

$100 million Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings

Launched in 2009, the scheme provides cash incentives for the purchase of energy efficient equipment and energy audit to determine the efficiency of air-conditioning chiller plants. It was subsequently enhanced in July 2012, with a higher co-funding rate and funding cap. The scope was also widened to include the cost of installing energy efficient equipment and engaging professional services.

Green Mark Gross Floor Area Incentive Scheme

Developed by BCA and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the scheme allows building owners of new private developments to apply for additional floor area if their development achieves the Green Mark Platinum or GoldPLUS rating. GM GFA is applicable to all new & existing private development that undergoes substantial energy efficiency (EE) enhancements, and targets to achieve higher Green Mark ratings of Platinum and GoldPLUS under the ‘New Building’ category.  The building must not have enjoyed other similar incentive schemes.  Existing buildings must also be at least 10 years or older from the date of the development TOP.

Building Retrofit Energy Efficiency Financing scheme (BREEF)

BREEF aims to help building owners with the high upfront capital required for energy efficiency (EE) retrofits by facilitating financing for the purchase and installation of energy efficient equipment or renewable energy systems.

Green Mark Incentive Scheme - Design Prototype (GMIS - DP)

GMIS - DP aims to encourage developers and building owners to strive for greater energy efficiency in buildings by placing more emphasis at the design stage. The scheme provides funding support for the engagement of Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) consultants to conduct collaborative design workshops and assist in simulation studies early in the project to achieve a breakthrough and optimal design for green buildings.

Building Energy Submission System (BESS)

From 1 July 2013, building owners are required to submit their building information and energy consumption data annually to BCA. Building owners can enter their information through BESS online.

Environmental Sustainability Regulations

BCA introduced the following measures to further enhance energy efficiency requirements in buildings and address the impact of climate change.

1) Enhancement to Building Control Act and Building Control (Environmental Sustainability) Regulations

2) Existing building legislation.

Pursuing responsible business practices has long helped businesses to enhance their reputation and standing within the community they operate in by building trust with their stakeholders, giving them the social license to operate. The benefits of such goodwill include increased bottom line, positive publicity and engaged employees. Most companies go through three stages of CSR development:

3 stages CSR

Large corporations today face an exponential increase in internal and external business risks. Embedding CSR into its core business functions is crucial in helping companies dealing with an increasingly complex business environment, making it not only a risk management strategy but also adds value for the corporation in the long run.

Here are some practical reasons for doing so:

  • Supply chain:
    Long supply chains are now the norm for most large businesses, and the exposure to risks regarding product safety, source traceability, labour rights issues and corruption increases as a result. Companies which operate within a CSR framework are in a better position to make an assessment their key stakeholders, the positive and negative impact their business operation has on these stakeholders and how they can mitigate the negative impact.

    For instance, a company with long supply chains can mitigate its risks by setting a policy, framework and code of conduct that are aligned with its’ CSR vision, so that both employees and suppliers are better able to understand the expectations of the company.

  • Regulatory and legislative environment:
    Multi-national corporations operate in various locations under different legal jurisdictions and varying regulatory standards. Globally, there is a growing trend towards tightening of regulatory and legislative frameworks, especially in the areas of environment protection and anti-corruption. As a business strategy, companies using the CSR framework would be better equipped to look beyond merely complying with existing regulations and obligations, and integrate environmental and societal concerns of their key stakeholders in their business operations.

  • Talent management and retention:
    Corporations face the challenge of attracting and retaining employees with the right expertise, skillset and disposition to grow their businesses. The war for talent is particularly challenging in companies in countries like Singapore that experiences low unemployment rate. Beyond offering attractive remuneration, providing a conducive work environment and other benefits are important tools that corporations use win the talent war. Having a holistic CSR framework that puts its employees as a key stakeholder can help a corporation to focus its strategies in talent management. The upside is that the corporation enjoys a good reputation as an employer of choice, attracts more talent which keeps the cost pressures of recruitment and re-training down and has an engaged workforce.

    Often, an engaged workforce is the key lever in driving innovation and business growth for a company.

  • Media and civil society:
    Never before have corporations come under greater public scrutiny in the way they operate, and this is thanks to the development of the social media and smartphone technology over the past decade.

    Civil societies in countries such as Singapore are still in the nascent stages of development and the level of consumer advocacy low, but with the social media as a major source of information for consumers, unethical and irresponsible corporate behaviours endorsement good corporate practices and ethical businesses are amplified through “word-of-mouth” to a much wider, global audience. Corporations that have their fundamentals right and employ the CSR framework would be in a better stead to engage their key stakeholders and manage risks associated with their businesses in order to build a relationship of trust with consumers.

Need help to start on your journey?

Embedding CSR into your business may not be as difficult as it sounds. The first steps involve gaining management’s buy-in on CSR and sustainability and understanding the level awareness in CSR in your company, assessing what you are currently doing well in, engaging key stakeholders and seeking buy-in before even the first word is written about your company’s CSR policy. Click here to access a CSR toolkit developed by Singapore Compact, which may be of help to you as you start on your company’s CSR journey.

The importance of communicating your CSR initiatives

Setting a CSR policy for your company, embedding CSR into your business strategy and putting it into practice are all crucial as you start your CSR journey. Another important step is to communicate to your stakeholders what the CSR initiatives that you have put in place and are implementing. This serves the dual function of transparency and accountability – so that your stakeholders are educated and aware of what your company is doing and how it is working to improve its practices. Sustainability reporting is one way in which company shares this information with key stakeholders. Find out more about sustainability reporting.

More resources to support you on your CSR journey

CSR thought leadership from global business leaders

Management leadership and belief in the CSR and sustainability agenda is critical in having a company adopt CSR.

In September 2013, UN Global Compact and Accenture released the results of a global study on the views of 1,000 top business leaders regarding sustainability challenges. Eighty-four percent (84%) of the CEOs surveyed believed that businesses should lead the way in addressing sustainability challenges, with 78% saying that they believed sustainability is a route to growth and innovation, and 79% believing that it will lead to competitive advantage in their industry. However, 67% of the CEOs surveyed believed that business is not doing enough to address global sustainability challenges.

The study also found leaders who are ‘transformational’ leading the way in the sustainability agenda, by being more likely to see sustainability as an opportunity for growth and innovation, investing in innovation and deploying new technologies to advance sustainability and fully quantifying and tracking the positive value of sustainability to their companies and their impact on the communities where they operate in.

Visit http://www.accenture.com/microsites/ungc-ceo-study/Pages/home.aspx to find out more about the study. To download a copy, click here.

Supply chain and procurement
Large corporations often face CSR and sustainability challenges within their supply chain and in their procurement processes. These two resource links may provide useful information to support you in facing these challenges:

UN Global Compact Sustainable Supply Chain: http://supply-chain.unglobalcompact.org/

UN Global Marketplace – sustainable procurement:


The Ten Principles of UNGC