OCBC Expands CSR Programme with S$600,000 in Annual Funding and a New Name
Singapore, 2 March 2017 – Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC Bank) today launched an expanded Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme – named #OCBCCares and funded with S$600,000 in the Bank’s own cash – to support viable projects and initiatives proposed by its 15 charity partners (refer to Annex A for information on these charity partners). The causes supported by these 15 charity partners range from vulnerable children, youths and families and disadvantaged elderly to people with special needs and environmental sustainability.
#OCBCCares was soft-launched in December and OCBC Bank has already agreed to fund nine CSR projects, committing a total of S$300,000. Some of these proposals may conceivably not have otherwise received the same measure of support –which would have limited the number of individuals who can be helped.
One of the first projects to be funded by #OCBCCares is the setting-up of a disability clinic by the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled in Singapore (MINDS) –the first of its kind in Singapore. Many special needs persons face difficulty in expressing themselves, especially when they are ill. Having a clinic manned by doctors who are trained to work with such patients would minimise the risk of an erroneous diagnosis. Each patient will have his or her own health history booklet. This will facilitate understanding, communication and hence the correct treatment when the patient is referred to other specialists or seeks treatment at hospitals.
#OCBCCares will also fund the regular distribution of trays of eggs to 2,500 families for the next 12 months, an initiative by the Food from the Heart. Upon hearing of this initiative, OCBC customer Mr Ang Song Mong –proprietor of Ang Seng Eggs Supplier – promptly decided to provide the eggs at a discounted price. Beyond that, Mr Ang is donating an additional 1,500 eggs per month, as his own CSR effort. "I am just doing my part to help. If everyone chips in, we will succeed in building a caring society," he said.
Focus on environmental sustainability
In recent years, OCBC Bank has been rallying behind several environmental projects, starting with the S$8 million sponsorship of the OCBC Skyway at Gardens by the Bay in 2012. This enabled visitors to get a closer view of the iconic Supertrees, which are embedded with environmentally sustainable energy and water technologies that help cool the Gardens’ famed Conservatory. In 2016, volunteers helped protect marine life by cleaning up the Pasir Ris coastline in 2016, collecting more than 1,500 kg of trash. In the same year, we partnered the students of Yu Neng Primary School to convert food remains into compost. As part of this initiative, we received support from our business partner, BreadTalk, to participate in a pilot project that successfully turned cake trimmings into nutrient-rich compost.
Putting muscle behind the cause of environmental sustainability, OCBC Bank will support several "green" programmes this year. The first begins tomorrow, at the i Light Marina Bay 2017 festival – a sustainability exhibition featuring energy-saving technology and recycling efforts.
Taking centre-stage at the OCBC Urban Garden, located at the i Light Marina Bay 2017 festival, are two large-scale see-through tanks that showcase an odourless way of composting food waste, as well as two prototypes of smaller composting kits that can be constructed for home use. Each year, food waste contributes approximately 23% of all waste in Singapore. This equates to 785.5 million kg of food waste. Of this, only 13% of the food waste is recycled. Working with the students of Yu Neng Primary School, we hope to make the public more aware of the need to minimise food wastage and the option of recycling food remains into nutrient-rich compost for their gardens.
More environmental projects will be announced by OCBC Bank during the course of the year.
Promoting volunteering in a structured way
Beyond financial support, OCBC staff volunteers continue to contribute their time and skills to engage the Bank’s charity partners.
Over the past 10 years, the number of staff volunteers has increased by 2.5 times. Volunteer hours swelled three-fold in the same period and in 2016, 1 in 4 OCBC employees gave back to the community, each contributing an average of 5 hours of their time.
The growth can be attributed to the structured way that volunteering is managed at OCBC Bank – from conducting surveys to better understand our employees’ preferences to planning a broad spectrum of volunteer activities, with a choice of causes for our employees to support. OCBC Bank’s divisions, from areas in consumer banking to investment banking and from human
resources to risk management, each adopt a charity partner to ensure that none of our 15 charity partners is neglected. Co-ordinators in these divisions help to rally support from the ground up.
Said Ms Doreen Tow, a manager at OCBC Bank’s Learning and Development unit who has been with the Bank for more than 25 years: "Volunteering enables me to give back in a meaningful way. It is made easier at OCBC because of the comprehensive volunteer options that are available –I can use my skills as a dragon boater to help youths to develop strength and teamwork; I’ve learnt to cook and prepare meals for more than 5,000 people by volunteering in a soup kitchen; and I have experienced the joy of having elderly residents welcome us with open arms when we visit them. Volunteering is my way of giving back to Singapore."