More to be done on CSR in Singapore

Minister Lawrence Wong at International Singapore Compact CSR Summit (1)

The annual International Singapore Compact CSR Summit was held today by Singapore Compact, and provided a platform for companies and thought leaders involved in CSR (corporate social responsibility) to discuss how companies can maintain sustainable growth through adopting CSR and engaging stakeholders to achieve a balanced triple bottom line.

The CSR movement has grown in importance and relevance, and companies can no longer ignore the need to embrace and embed CSR in their businesses. Mr Kwek Leng Joo, President of Singapore Compact, shared that only one-third of the listed companies in Singapore communicate their CSR and sustainability initiatives to stakeholders through various channels, and only 32 companies produced CSR reports in 2013 according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) database.

More companies are needed to come on board the CSR discussion and reporting. Mr Kwek emphasised that businesses must recognise that CSR is not simply a tool to promote their brand, they must embed CSR into the business and address the needs of stakeholders. Companies need to rethink the definition of profitability and consider their impact on the well-being of people and planet to achieve sustained success.

Singapore Compact will continue to support companies on their CSR journey through talks, workshops and resources. One way is to launch The Singapore Apex CSR Awards, which aim to set a national benchmark for exemplary CSR practices through recognising companies that employ excellent CSR strategies at the highest level.

Another way is to nurture a new generation of youths that see the need for corporate citizenship in the business world. The CDL-Singapore Compact Young CSR Leaders Award was set up to provide students with real-life business cases which they work on to come up with CSR strategies. This year, the top 3 prizes were awarded to three teams from the Singapore Management University with the most refreshing and practical CSR ideas for Fagerdala Singapore Pte Ltd, Swiber Holdings Limited, and Earth Arts Pte Ltd.

Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, agreed that companies cannot afford to be complacent and must do more to advance CSR in Singapore. He suggested that companies can do more to contribute and give back to the community, more recognition for outstanding companies that are contributing and giving back to society, and more support provided to help companies get started in corporate giving.

A lot more can and need to be done on CSR in Singapore. Companies have to step up their efforts to integrate CSR into their business to achieve sustainable growth and a balanced triple bottom line.

Image credit: Singapore Compact

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