OCBC Bank Launches First Private Sector-Led Fund for Environmental Conservation Projects
Singapore, 10 July 2017 – Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC Bank) today announced the launch of a Fund to financially support projects that enhance Singapore’s environmental landscape, an area where private sector sponsorship remains relatively thin on the ground.
To ensure that funds committed yield results, the #OCBCCares Fund for the Environment will be the first initiative of its kind to financially support, in full, all projects that it backs. Training will also be offered in key related skills to support the submission of credible proposals. The Fund looks to focus each year on no more than a handful of projects – prizing quality over quantity – and will pay out a total of $100,000 annually towards projects that can sustainably impact the environment and ultimately the community.
Applications for funding will be carefully assessed to ensure that the projects can achieve outcomes that include:
Equipping applicants to submit robust proposals
To help applicants prepare robust proposals and structure projects, OCBC Bank staff volunteers will provide training in four key areas: project management; financial planning; budgeting know-how and presentation skills.
This will equip applicants with key skills that can help bring their proposals to fruition.
Rationale for the #OCBCCares Fund for the Environment
Explaining the rationale for launching this Fund, OCBC Bank Group CEO,
Mr Samuel Tsien said: “We want to fund projects that can be realised with meaningful and sustainable impacts on our environment. In the course of our own environment conservation efforts, we at OCBC have learned that there are many individuals and interest groups who are very passionate about environmental sustainability. They have good ideas of how sustainability can be achieved in Singapore, but lack the funds for implementation.”
“We want to play a role in helping them achieve their goals by providing funding to meet their needs. Through this Fund, we hope that we can help bring environmental sustainability ideas from conception to fulfilment.”
Mr Tsien added, “We also want to encourage community involvement. We need the collective drive of as many members of the public as possible to promote passion and engagement amongst each other to do what is right for the community, for our environment and, most importantly, for our future.”
Evaluation by an independent committee
To ensure independent and knowledgeable evaluation of proposals, a committee comprising representatives from OCBC Bank; the National Environment Agency (NEA); the National Parks Board (NParks); and the PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency has been formed. The committee is chaired by Mr N Sivasothi, Senior Lecturer at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Biological Sciences and Director of Studies, Ridge View Residential College
All the committee members are experts in their respective fields and they bring added value to the table with their advice to project owners on project parameters, pitfalls to avoid, where to implement solutions to address gaps and how to avoid duplication of government efforts.
Mr N Sivasothi, chairman of the committee said, “Singapore has progressed in its environmental sustainability journey over the years. Today, we are seeing a groundswell of interest from the community – a desire to do their part to support environmental initiatives. This interest in large part comes from the younger generation. I know of working adults and seniors who also have great solutions but are deterred by the lack of funding.
“Environmental conservation is vital for the sustainability of future generations and looking after our environment is something we must all be a part of. By encouraging the community in Singapore to take ownership of environmental conservation efforts, OCBC Bank is creating a movement that can – over time – generate long-term benefits for the larger good of society.”
“This Fund can serve as the catalyst to create change and ignite the generation of good projects that can deliver impactful environmental improvements for Singapore,” he added.
Growing interest in environmental issues among youths
Zheng Zhangxin, an active environmental volunteer and a 2016 recipient of the NEA EcoFriend Awards expects to see several of her friends submitting applications for the #OCBCCares for the Environment Fund.
She explained: “There is an increasing number of young Singaporeans who care about environmental issues as seen in the popular sign-ups for environmental studies courses offered by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Yale-NUS College. This is a great opportunity for youths who aspire to become change-makers to help steer Singapore to a sustainable future.”
“Environmental issues are mostly interconnected. This Fund is a piece of great news to youths who have wide interests across green, blue or brown environmental issues Those from various nature and environmental groups can also collaborate and hopefully produce innovative ideas that translate into meaningful and effective projects.”
Eligibility to apply for funding and closing date
The Fund is open to individuals and interest groups with implementable environmental sustainability initiatives that will deliver benefits for Singapore and the community.
Application forms can be downloaded from the OCBC Bank website (http://www.ocbc.com/group/who-we-are/sustainability-environment.html).
The closing date for submission of entries is 30 November 2017. The workshops on project management, financial planning, budgeting know-how and presentation skills – to be conducted by OCBC staff volunteers – will be held on 24 August 2017, from 4 to 7 pm at OCBC Bank, 65 Chulia Street, 50th floor, OCBC Centre (west lobby), Singapore 049513. Prospective applicants can register interest at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Fund is not available to individuals and groups with existing commercial interests; or for government-initiated projects.