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MoU signing between the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre and Global Compact Network Singapore to establish national framework on CSR and sustainability

 

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The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS) entered into a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today that sets out to establish a national framework to guide companies on practices in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. The MoU was signed by Miss Melissa Kwee, Chief Executive Officer of NVPC and Mr Wilson Ang, Executive Director of GCNS.

Currently, companies in Singapore are guided by two frameworks – the *Company of Good framework on corporate social responsibility and the *UN Global Compact framework on sustainability. Following the introduction of mandatory sustainability reporting for all listed companies by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) from FY2017, the new integrated framework will be aimed at helping companies better align their CSR efforts with sustainability investments for greater impact. The issue of sustainability is significant for businesses as investors increasingly focus on such issues when making their investment decisions. At the same time, companies are keen to continue to meet community needs through their business operations and contributions.

On the new common framework, Mr Ang commented, “We are delighted to partner with NVPC to integrate our respective frameworks and develop a Trustmark for businesses in Singapore. Companies can expect to be guided by a recognised roadmap in their journey towards becoming a sustainable and internationally competitive enterprise.” Miss Kwee said that NVPC is aware that there are many companies in Singapore that already have a strong CSR programme and that might be concerned that they have to scale back on CSR in order to meet the requirements for sustainability, “What we would like to do is to show them how they can concurrently tick the boxes of their sustainability requirements with their ongoing CSR programme. One of our Company of Good members, BusAds, for instance, provides employment opportunities to the autistic community. This initiative is in fact also fulfilling requirements for inclusivity and diversity in hiring practices.”

HP6C0019(All photos credits to National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre) 

By aligning corporate social responsibility with best sustainability practices, companies can not only help the community, they will also have a positive impact on their bottomline and corporate goals such as better brand recognition, increased sales and customer loyalty, operational cost savings, and a greater ability to attract talent and retain staff. The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 revealed that millennials, which will make up half of the working population by 2020, intended to stay longer with employers who engaged with social issues like education, unemployment, and healthcare.

Andrew Buay, Vice President of Group Sustainability at Singtel, says the framework can benefit companies by giving them a clearer focus, “The integrated framework creates congruence between both corporate giving and sustainability. It will enable organisations to better mobilise capabilities and resources on a more sustainable basis in support of a social cause. For their people, it will deepen the raison d’etre behind the giving.”

CEO of Maybank Singapore, Mr Lim Hong Tat, says sustainability and corporate giving can coexist, “Maybank’s sustainability strategy is connected to our mission of humanising financial services. Our sustainability plan not only defines our focus areas, it is also a framework to manage sustainability issues, meet stakeholder expectations, and guide our corporate giving strategies.”

In the next two years, other areas of collaboration between NVPC and GCNS will include:

Conducting a joint feasibility study on the establishment of a Trustmark for corporate giving and sustainability: The Trustmark will provide assurance and recognition of good standards and practices undertaken in CSR and sustainability.

Co-developing an internship programme: A programme will be developed to equip students with skills for a career in CSR and sustainability, as well as to provide support to companies in these areas of work.

Co-organising events and activities: Companies will get to participate in events and activities to exchange ideas and experiences, as well as network with like-minded parties in CSR and sustainability.

Initiating the development of a professional development programme: Current and potential practitioners can be trained with knowledge and skills in CSR and sustainability.

*Company of Good measures good and holistic giving through a framework comprising 4 ‘I’s (Investment, Integration, Institutionalisation and Impact). For more information on Company of Good Framework, please visit https://companyofgood.sg/about.

*The 10 principles of UN Global Compact guides companies in meeting fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. For more information on the 10 principles, please visit https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc/mission/principles. 

About Global Compact Network Singapore (GCSN)

GCNS LOGO

Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS) is the national lead agency promoting Corporate Sustainability, providing a one-stop concierge service for businesses to begin, deepen and broaden their sustainability journey. GCNS is the local chapter of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) network, and promotes UNGC’s 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, anti-corruption and the environment at country level. For more information, visit http://www.csrsingapore.org.

About the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)

NVPC logo
NVPC is a non-profit organisation promoting a giving culture in Singapore through catalysing development in volunteerism and philanthropy to build a City of Good. They facilitate partnerships with non-profits, companies, public sector bodies and individuals to enliven the giving ecosystem within Singapore.

They also curate and celebrate stories about giving to inspire and encourage more to take action. NVPC conduct research on giving motivations and behaviours, create roadmaps and landscape of the giving sector, and aspire to be the go-to-place for giving. They honour and recognise giving champions who demonstrate that giving is part of Singapore DNA. They connect and convene networks and build communities to impact the giving space on a national level. Visit NVPC at www.nvpc.org.sg.

FAQs on MoU between NVPC and GCSN:

1. Who are the parties involved in the MoU?
The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) is a charity registered under the laws of Singapore, and has been established to promote a giving culture in Singapore through catalysing development in volunteerism. NVPC facilitate partnerships with non-profits, companies, public sector bodies and individuals to enliven the giving ecosystem within Singapore.

Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS) is the national lead agency promoting Corporate Sustainability, providing a one-stop concierge service for businesses to begin, deepen and broaden their sustainability journey. GCNS is the local chapter of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) network, and promotes UNGC’s 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, anti-corruption and the environment at country level.

2. What is the MoU about?

It is a two-year agreement to support and build capability and capacity for Singapore-registered businesses in undertaking an integrated approach to corporate giving and sustainability that is strategic, sustainable and impactful to the business and community.

3. Why are NVPC and GCSN collaborating on this MoU?
Currently, companies in Singapore are guided by two frameworks – the *Company of Good framework on corporate social responsibility and the *UN Global Compact framework on sustainability. Following the introduction of mandatory sustainability reporting for all listed companies by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) from FY2017, the new integrated framework will be aimed at helping companies better align their CSR efforts with sustainability investments for greater impact. The issue of sustainability is significant for businesses as investors increasingly focus on such issues when making their investment decisions. At the same time, companies are keen to continue to meet community needs through their business operations and contributions.

 
Company of Good Framework:
The Company of Good measures good and holistic giving through a framework comprising 4 ‘I’s. This framework was referenced from the Points of Light’s Civic 50 model, and adapted for use in the local context through continuous consultations with businesses and academics including Ms Caroline Brassard, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

 
Investment: How extensively and strategically a company gives “Does your company give in more than one way that is aligned to the vision, mission, strategy and/or nature of your business?”

 
Integration: How giving is integrated with business functions and supports business interests “Does your business marketing also advocate a social cause or does your business procure from charities?”

Institutionalisation: How giving is supported by policies, systems and incentives “Does your company provide paid volunteer leave or recognise outstanding employee volunteers?”

Impact: How mechanisms have been put in place to measure impact “Does your company set up processes to measure the input, output, outcome and impact of your giving?”
For more information: https://companyofgood.sg/about.

 

UN Global Compact Framework:
Corporate sustainability starts with a company’s value system and a principled approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Responsible businesses enact the same values and principles wherever they have a presence, and know that good practices in one area do not offset harm in another. By incorporating the Global Compact principles into strategies, policies and procedures, and establishing a culture of integrity, companies are not only upholding their basic responsibilities to people and planet, but also setting the stage for long-term success.
The UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles are derived from: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
For more information: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-isgc/mission/principles.

4. What are the areas of collaboration for the MoU?
The MoU encompasses five major areas of collaboration:

1) Co-develop an integrated framework for corporate giving and sustainability

2) Conducting a joint feasibility study on the establishment of a Trustmark for corporate giving and sustainability: The Trustmark will provide assurance and recognition of good standards and practices undertaken in CSR and sustainability

3) Co-developing an internship programme: A programme will be developed to equip students with skills for a career in CSR and sustainability, as well as to provide support to companies in these areas of work.

4) Co-organising events and activities: Companies will get to participate in events and activities to exchange ideas and experiences, as well as network with like-minded parties in CSR and sustainability.

5) Initiating the development of a professional development programme: Current and potential practitioners can be trained with knowledge and skills in CSR and sustainability.

5. How can companies benefit from the framework?

With the new framework, companies can be guided on how they can align CSR efforts with sustainability to effectively allocate their resources better and make a greater impact. They can also look forward to tapping on the workshops and programmes to build their capability in corporate giving and sustainability. There will also be opportunities for them to network with other CSR and sustainability practitioners where they can share ideas and learn from each other’s experience. With the internship programme, companies can look forward to employees trained in this integrated framework who will be joining the workforce.