More firms sign UN Global Compact

Seven more S'pore-based businesses pledge to adopt responsible, sustainable practices under the initiative

Mr Kwek Leng Joo, president of Global Compact Network Singapore, addressing the delegates of the International CSR Summit yesterday. Mr Kwek is also City Developments’ chairman of CSR and corporate governance. PHOTO: GLOBAL COMPACT NETWORK SINGAPORE

Seven more Singapore companies have pledged to adopt sustainable and responsible business practices under a United Nations initiative.

The UN's Global Compact espouses 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. CapitaLand, Sembcorp Industries, Facility Link, Ghenni, Greenpac, Qi Group of Companies and YTL PowerSeraya are the most recent firms to sign up, bringing the number of Singapore-based signatories to 66.

The seven were presented with certificates yesterday at the opening ceremony of the International Corporate Social Responsibility Summit organised by Global Compact Network Singapore.

Ms Grace Fu, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said at the event that there has been a growing awareness of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability over the past decade in Singapore.

Global Compact Network Singapore has recorded membership growth of over 200 per cent since 2005, she added.

According to a spokesman for the organisation, Global Compact Network Singapore has 500 members now. The organisation's president, Mr Kwek Leng Joo, said the body needed a stronger mandate in order to better engage stakeholders to advance sustainability here.

Mr Kwek, who is also the chairman of CSR and corporate governance at developer City Developments (CDL), cited France and Luxembourg, which have dedicated ministries to oversee matters relating to sustainable development.

"Currently, it is difficult for a single existing ministry to tackle the entire spectrum of CSR issues as they cut across various disciplines," he said. "Against this backdrop, our wish is perhaps for the Prime Minister's Office to consider adopting the Compact so that we can accelerate the pace of CSR adoption in Singapore."

The winners of the CDL-Compact Young CSR Leaders Awards were also announced. Students were given real-life business cases to work on and devise CSR strategies.

Team Impact Advisory from the Singapore Management University took home the first prize of $5,000 with their proposal, which consisted of three employee-focused strategies to engage telco StarHub's stakeholders.

The joint second-runners up were Hwa Chong Institution and Nanyang Technological University, with each taking home $2,000.

Hwa Chong Institution's team was also the youngest to win a prize in the competion.

The team worked with telco Singtel and proposed enhancing its cyber-wellness programme - notAnoobie - and ramping up publicity for the firm's e-waste recycling programme amid other suggestions.

The team said: "The journey was a challenging yet rewarding one. The attachment with Singtel was particularly enjoyable and offered us insights on the incorporation of CSR into business opportunities."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'More firms sign UN Global Compact'. Print Edition | Subscribe