Corporate Social Responsibility drive to be ramped up; greater focus on youth [Press Releases]

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Tertiary students work with SMEs in new Young CSR Leaders Award

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which has moved on to the next leg with a 60 per cent increase in the number of organisations adopting this principle over the past two years, will now place a greater focus on youth to lay down a CSR foundation for the future.

Singapore Compact for CSR, the national organisation charged with promoting CSR, will place a strong emphasis on youth alongside with business organisations as it ramps up its awareness drive and training programmes to push the movement forward at a fast pace.

A highlight is the launch of a new initiative, the CDL-Singapore Compact Young CSR Leaders Award, which involves tertiary students working with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to help analyse and implement CSR programmes and practices among these businesses. Singapore Compact’s existing CSR awards introduced in 2010 are for business organisations.

Said Singapore Compact’s Executive Director, Mr Thomas Thomas: “Singapore Compact has made good progress over the past few years. There are clear signs that CSR is gaining momentum in Singapore. Our membership has grown with 160 new members since May 2009 and our revenue has increased. This will enable us to increase our resources and strengthen our services and training programmes. Sustainability reporting has also started to take hold.

“Singapore Compact will ramp up its efforts to promote CSR to the business community. We will also target and engage youth, as they will form and lead the future business community and other organisations. Having been exposed to the benefits of CSR, they are more likely to embrace it in their workplaces and companies in the future. The new CDL-Singapore Compact Young CSR Leaders Award gives them an opportunity to work with SMEs, which tend to be more focussed on survival and put strategic plans for CSR on hold.”

This joint initiative with City Developments Ltd (CDL) is aimed at promoting CSR to young people and at encouraging and engaging SMEs to practice CSR. In this inaugural Award, 27 teams from tertiary institutions were assigned to 10 SMEs to propose CSR initiatives to them.

The top three teams will receive their prizes at the International Singapore Compact CSR Summit 2011 to be held on 5-6 September at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. Mr S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, will officiate at the event.

The three winning teams:
First: “Precise Consultancy” from Murdoch University Singapore, which worked with ADDP Architects.
Team members: Kimberly Yap, Rosemary Lee, Sandhu Jespreet Kaur, Shyanne Wong
Prize: $5,000
Second: “The Changemakers” from Singapore Management University (SMU), which worked with Siloso Beach Resort.
Team members: Bernice Ong, Teo Baona, Joseph Choy, Regina Heng, Wee ZhenYi, Pearlyn Loh
Prize: $3,000
Third: “Team NUS” from National University of Singapore (NUS), which worked with Mainguard Security Services & Mainguard International.
Team members: Kwek Yi Jun, Fabian Chua, Macey Tan, Benedict Yeo
Prize: $2,000

The remaining seven companies involved are Ispahan Group, Fabulous Printers, Origin Exterminators, Unison Construction, Wavelink Travel, The Sukha House, and KPK Quantity Surveyors.

Mr Thomas said its programme for youth will also include the setting up of more student chapters in tertiary institutions to expose students to CSR. Several student chapters have already been launched over the past year, including Murdoch University Singapore and Temasek Polytechnic. The National University of Singapore chapter was established earlier.

It will also organise more workshops and seminars for members as well as for tertiary students.

CSR is essentially about businesses doing well and doing good by working together with stakeholders. It means working with a social conscience, while running a profitable business.

Singapore Compact was set up by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) in 2005 to encourage the take-up of CSR by business organisations. It is serving as the Secretariat for the ASEAN CSR Network.

Progress over past two years

Mr Thomas gives the following report on progress made over the past two years:

  • Membership increased by 60 per cent over the past two years, with 160 new members. As at July 2011, there were 365 members.
  • Sixteen more companies have signed up as signatories to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) network in Singapore. The UNGC incorporates 10 principles covering human rights, labour standards, environment and anti-corruption.
  • More than 70 companies now provide a sustainability report in some form or other. Three years ago, there were no such reports.

Mr Thomas, who has been in Singapore Compact since 2005, was appointed Honorary Professor for CSR by Nottingham University’s Business School recently in recognition of his contribution to CSR in Singapore.

Elaborating on the ramped-up CSR programme, he said the focus is to raise awareness, recruit new members and build capacity.

“We are also taking steps to add value to membership,” he said. “The Singapore Compact website has been revamped and more resource materials added. The aim is to make it a one-stop centre where members can ask questions and raise issues so they can share the CSR journey. Since the revamp, the website has been getting more hits.”

The website includes updates, articles and interviews by partners and members of Singapore Compact’s consultants’ network. It has both resources to raise general awareness of public and exclusive resources for members specifically. A blog has also been created. In due course, it will have an interactive area for members to exchange ideas.

Since January, a monthly e-newsletter has been sent out to update members on developments and upcoming trends.

Singapore Compact will tap on expert consultants in various fields of CSR, and provide more depth over the years as Singapore’s CSR capability grows.

Singapore Compact CSR awards for companies

The Singapore Compact CSR Awards were launched last year to recognize outstanding achievements in how companies behave towards the environment, the local community and their people.

Having received a tremendous response in 2010, the awards opened for submission again this year in April, and closed early in July after receiving 49 entries across 4 categories: Best Workplace Award, Community Developer Award, Caring Employer Award, and Green Champion Award.

The Awards drew submissions from a range of organisations, including private corporations, social enterprises and co-operatives. In addition to the Award winners from each category, 2 organisations received Special Mentions for their commitment to CSR.

The following are the winners:
Community Developer: Citi Singapore
Caring Employer: KFC Management
Green Champion: Samwoh Corporation
Best Workplace: Maybank

Two Special Mention Awards will be given to Adrenaline Events and Education and Mirage Design and Landscape.

Winning companies will receive their awards at the International Singapore Compact CSR Summit 2011 to be held on 5-6 September at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

The Summit

The International Singapore Compact CSR Summit 2011 is being held for the third time. There will be two keynote speeches, one by Guest-of-Honour, Mr Iswaran, and the other by Dr Wayne Visser, Founder and Director of the think-tank CSR International.

Dr Visser will speak on “Sustainability, Next Mega Trend: How True? How to Respond?”

Senior Associate at the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, and Visiting Professor of Sustainability at Magna Carta College, Oxford, he is also the author/editor of 12 books, nine on the role of business in society.

The second keynote speaker will be Dr Fons Trompenaars, Managing Director, Trompenaars Hampden-Turner of the Netherlands. He will speak on CSR – Sustaining Values for Success.

Fons Trompenaars is a Dutch author and consultant in the field of cross-cultural communication. His books include: Riding the Waves of Culture, Seven Cultures of Capitalism, Building Cross-Cultural Competence, 21 Leaders for the 21st Century and Innovating in a Global Crisis. Trompenaars experienced cultural differences firsthand at home, where he grew up speaking both French and Dutch, and then later at work with Shell in nine countries.

Other subjects to be discussed at the summit will cover investor relations, sustainability reporting, CSR and supply chain management and role of media in CSR.

Singapore Compact for CSR was set up by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) in 2005 and has been stepping up its efforts to encourage businesses to adopt CSR.

Source: Singapore Compact for CSR

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