More businesses in Singapore gave back to society last year amid pandemic

Facilities management and food services company Sodexo is among the organisations that gave back to society last year. PHOTO: SODEXO SINGAPORE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Businesses in Singapore have given more to the community in 2021, especially those in industries that did well amid the pandemic like finance, insurance and information.

The Corporate Giving Study 2021, commissioned by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), reported a 15 per cent increase from 2017 in corporate giving, which can come in many forms - donations, pro-bono services and advocacy.

The study found that while Covid-19 caused disruption to the economy, it also presented businesses with opportunities to re-evaluate their role in society.

Announcing the study's findings on Monday (April 11), deputy chief executive of NVPC Tony Soh said: "What was interesting for us was that we found that the pandemic caused many businesses to think about their reason, their purpose and their role in society."

"In some cases, the stakeholders were asking the question, 'Is the world better off because your business is in it?'" he added.

The study, conducted from May to September last year, surveyed 1,014 businesses.

It found that 75 per cent of the businesses did at least one form of giving in 2021.

Cash donations, sponsorships, and donation of items remained the most popular ways of corporate giving, the same as in 2017.

The next most popular method of corporate giving was through doing good within business practices, such as being inclusive when hiring.

The study found that businesses were more inclined to explore other means of giving, besides cash, during the pandemic, with cash donations declining by 11 per cent compared with 2017.

Donated items, pro-bono services and company advocacy, on the other hand, increased as compared with 2017.

Sodexo, a facilities management and food services company, is among the many organisations that gave back to society last year. It contributed 1,600kg of food products, 1,000 meals, and more than $8,000 to the charities The Food Bank Singapore, Beyond Social Services, which helps children from underprivileged backgrounds, and Daughters of Tomorrow, which supports underprivileged women.

NVPC also announced on Monday a new framework to be launched in January next year that will give Singapore-based firms pointers on how to make a positive impact on society.

The National Framework and Blueprint on Corporate Purpose will be developed with SG Together Alliance for Action on Corporate Purpose, Singapore Business Federation Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

The framework will provide examples of principles and good practices for businesses to do good, and provide metrics to track their progress.

Mr Soh said: "We have seen that many companies want to do good, but some might not know where to begin or how to create the impact they desire with the resources they have."

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