SINGAPORE (Feb 12): DBS and Singapore Management University (SMU) have partnered on a first-of-its-kind comprehensive initiative in Southeast Asia that focuses on promoting and growing sustainability.

The DBS-SMU Sustainability Initiative includes the introduction of Singapore’s first sustainability major, as well as funding for sustainability research, scholarships, fellowships and community engagement.

Main image: SMU Vice Provost Professor Steven Miller and DBS Singapore Country Head Shee Tse Koon met at DBS-supported social enterprise Bettr Barista to discuss the details of the multi-faceted DBS-SMU Sustainability Initiative

Under this initiative, DBS plan to commit more than $1 million to provide further support to academics, businesses and students passionate about tackling real world sustainability challenges.

The SMU Lee Long Chian School of Business will be offering a major in sustainability for the first time in the academic year 2019. This major aims to develop graduates who will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to implement sustainable practices in businesses that lead to long-term measurable impact.

The DBS-SMU Sustainability Initiative will also establish two DBS Fellowships to attract and retain research scholars in the field of sustainability, as well as two DBS Sustainability Scholarships annually for students with a view to creating impact for sustainability in Singapore.

Furthermore, one DBS Sustainability Business Study Mission will be organised annually for student to visit regional centres of excellence in sustainability.

The initiative will also see students being paired up with relevant skills to work on projects related to organisational improvement in (up to) 10 social enterprises which DBS Foundation supports, as part of the DBS-SMU Talent Enterprise Development.

Shee Tse Koon, Singapore country head of DBS Bank says, “Being purpose-driven is part of DBS’ DNA. This harks back to our mandate when we were established more than 50 years ago as the Development Bank of Singapore and carries forward to the present day with championing sustainability being a big part of our agenda. In particular, one focus area is how we can create social impact, whether through our support of social enterprises, or by partnering with business, communities and the public.”

Gerard George, dean of SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business says, “Increasingly, businesses have embraced sustainability as part of their strategic goals. Many companies consider a sustainability strategy necessary to be competitive today and in the future. The multi-pronged efforts under the DBS-SMU Sustainability Initiative will help nurture SMU students to meet the needs of the job market, foster research excellence and build intellectual capacity among our faculty, as well as raise the general awareness of sustainability issues.”