“For Singtel, it is not just about creating long-term growth of the business, but also bringing shared value to its stakeholders, ecosystem of partners and the community through fostering technology, innovation and collaboration.”
Communications giant Singtel has carved its place in society as a strong corporate citizen with its impactful, purpose-driven corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. For Singtel, it is not just about creating long-term growth of the business, but also bringing shared value to its stakeholders, ecosystem of partners and the community through fostering technology, innovation and collaboration.
The Singtel Touching Lives Fund is the company’s philanthropy programme dedicated to helping children and youth with special needs in Singapore. Set up in 2002 and celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the Fund has raised more than S$33 million for its beneficiary organisations to run critical educational programmes.
Singtel’s care for this group is extended to employment support through the Singtel Enabling Innovation Centre set up in end-2015. This centre at the Enabling Village provides training for persons with disabilities (PwD) in the area of infocomm technology and contact centre. In addition, it funds the showcase of assistive and information technologies for PwD, caregivers and potential employers to understand the available technologies and products from around the world that can improve lives and work productivity for PwD. These efforts have also yielded benefits for the company as it has begun hiring PwD into its workforce.
The company supports innovation for the social sector through its social innovation programme, Singtel Future Makers. Singtel believes that technology and innovation can be catalysts for sustainable social change.
Launched this year, the programme which is run in Singapore and Australia aims to build an ecosystem of partnerships to develop and support innovators who can create digital solutions to meet the community’s needs. Singtel Future Makers provides funding, mentoring, acceleration and incubation support for these social entrepreneurs.
An advocate of corporate collaboration and sharing best practices for common social causes, Singtel became a founding member of the Singapore Business Network on DisAbility in June last year. The network hopes to advance equitable employment opportunities for PwD in Singapore.
Singtel, as the market leader in mobile technology, also understands the unintended consequences of technology especially for vulnerable children and youth, which is why it embarked on initiatives to promote responsible digital citizenship. In 2014, Singtel launched notAnoobie, an information resource mobile app for parents to arm them with important knowledge and advice on how to protect their children in this digital era. The app covers topics such as device and gaming addiction, cyber bullying and online privacy.
Last month, the company launched Singapore’s first Cyber Wellness Toolkit for special education schools, a customised programme to educate students with special needs on the importance of developing safe online habits and identifying imminent dangers of the internet world. These students typically have easy access to technology at home, with minimal or no supervision. Hence, they are easily susceptible to media influences and undesirable behaviours without being aware of the dangers. The toolkit will help the teachers deliver these important lessons in a fun and engaging manner.
All these CSR initiatives are underscored by the company’s belief that its strategic, holistic and collaborative approach will catalyse more cause-based partnerships, especially between government, the non-profit and the private sector, resulting in greater and sustainable impact for its beneficiaries and the community. The company’s three-pronged approach has also stimulated deeper and meaningful engagement with its employees. This is evident as CSR has become the top staff engagement driver for the Singtel Group in its latest annual staff survey.
Singtel rallies employees to contribute to the community in various ways. This creates greater awareness of social issues while building character and empathy among its people. VolunTeaming, the company’s teambuilding initiative with a CSR or volunteering element, is a great platform where employees volunteer as a department to build rapport and foster inclusion. For example, at the 4th Singtel Carnival held on 13 October 2016, 1,700 Singtel staff volunteers organised game, activity and food stalls and hosted 1,000 students with special needs from all 20 special education schools in Singapore. The company clocks over 15,000 staff volunteering hours from its Singapore workforce annually.
Singtel is the first Asia Pacific company to join IMPACT 2030, a global business-led effort to advocate and promote corporate volunteering activities in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Singtel is also represented on the Volunteer Resource Committee spearheaded by the National Council of Social Service, a cross-sector committee involving government, voluntary welfare organisations and corporates to develop a framework for promoting skilled volunteering between corporates and charitable organisations in Singapore.
Committed to community support and development, the Singtel Group spent close to S$36 million on community investments in the last financial year. This amount includes direct financial support, in-kind charitable sponsorships and paid staff volunteering hours.
The company’s CSR and sustainability strategy, programmes, targets and performance can be found in its annual Sustainability Report.
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