Singapore's best bank for CSR 2020: DBS
Singapore’s banks have all made admirable attempts to support their clients this year as the city state has battled the Covid-19 outbreak. But DBS deserves special credit for its wider commitment to corporate social responsibility under the leadership of Piyush Gupta.
DBS has a number of well-established community initiatives, including subsidized and accessible banking services for those parts of the community in need. The bank has partnered with the Singapore Prison Service to help ex-offenders open accounts and reintegrate into society. For the past two years it has found partners to help migrant workers with bank accounts, as well as financial literacy.
During Asiamoney’s awards period, DBS established a sustainable and transition finance framework and taxonomy. The ambitious endeavour, which was launched in July, will allow the bank to assist its clients in their transition to green. Green standards often leave out companies that come from “dirty” industries, but as DBS has recognized, these companies need even more help with adopting better infrastructure and practices.
Transition finance is still new globally, let alone in Asia, but it is an area of vital importance. Having an established framework that recognizes transition finance as part of the effort to cut down on carbon emissions and create a more sustainable future puts DBS years ahead of some of the world’s biggest banks. It will also put the bank in a unique position to provide funding and access to the capital markets that some borrowers would otherwise struggle to obtain.
DBS’s sustainability initiatives come with tangible goals as well. The bank aims to finance S$10 billion ($7.3 billion) of renewable and clean energy developments and S$10 billion of green projects, assets and activities by 2024. It will also shift its Singapore operations completely to renewable energy by 2030. Last year, 100% of the bank’s Singapore branches were certified green.