New award to celebrate SMEs' corporate social responsibility initiatives

Singapore

NETWORKING company CEO Asia has tied up with Maybank, trading platform BBX and non-profit organisation B Lab to launch a new award yesterday that celebrates the corporate social responsibility initiatives of companies, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Titled Brands for Good, it recognises companies that have championed sustainable and inclusive economic goals, social development and environmental protection.

Glenn Lim, the founder of Brands for Good and managing director of CEO Asia, said: "Brands for Good provides an opportunity to businesses who have yet to embark on this journey, to kick-start and take small steps in making a difference in society."

He pointed out that SMEs are best positioned to make a positive impact because they understand problems on the ground.

Speaking at the launch, Maybank Singapore's head of branding and marketing Chandran Dharmarajan said that corporate social responsibility initiatives can improve branding and build customer loyalty.

He said: "The expectation customers have of the brand is not just that it is a great product or service, but it is the difference the brand is making to them holistically."

B Lab co-founder Caroline Seow said: "We need to emphasise that creating positive impact is not just for charity or tree huggers, it is actually good for your business."

Other than customer loyalty, she added, corporate social responsibility initiatives can boost the morale and productivity of employees, and attract investors.

The awards will be divided into three broad categories - the environment, the community and the workplace - which were decided in consultation with B Lab.

B Lab provides companies with a self-assessment toolkit on social responsibility commitment.

Up to a total of 50 awards will be given, depending on the number of nominations received.

To be eligible for nomination, companies need to be registered in Singapore, and must be for profit.

While there are currently no monetary incentives attached to the award, Mr Lim hopes that there will be funding for it in the future.

Mr Lim would also like to take the award to other regional countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia. He said: "Through Brands for Good, we will recognise the top brands that have embedded the principles of sustainability throughout their organisations."