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SOME of the biggest names on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), as well as a number of notable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are vying for an inaugural national award which aims to showcase the highest level of corporate social responsibility (CSR) excellence in Singapore.
The accolade, called the Singapore Apex CSR Awards, is organised by Singapore Compact for Corporate Social Responsibility, with the Singapore Business Federation and The Business Times as co-presenting partners.
So far, it has attracted entries from both blue chips and mid-sized companies across several business sectors including property and construction, marine and telecommunications. Both listed and unlisted companies may participate.
Kwek Leng Joo, president of Singapore Compact for CSR, said: "Global research findings have strengthened the evidence that companies' financial performance goes hand in hand with good governance, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
"As the highest honour for CSR leadership at the national level, the Singapore Apex CSR Awards are designed to recognise companies with successful and sustainable business models."
Singapore Compact for CSR's executive director Christopher Ang added: "Over time, the awards will serve to raise the standard of business responsibility in Singapore and set a benchmark for the national CSR standard in Singapore."
CSR is a management concept in which companies integrate social and environmental causes into their business culture, ensuring compliance and taking responsibility for those issues.
KPMG in Singapore, part of a multinational professional services company, is the knowledge adviser for the awards. For the purposes of the awards, they define CSR as "the accountability of a firm to create long-term value and build resilience to environmental and social changes".
They will be judging applicants on five criteria: risks and materiality; impact on value chain; stakeholder engagement; corporate governance; and transparency and disclosure.
The awards are a platform to show how an organisation has created shared values from its perspective in a holistic manner. They will be competitive as the organisation is required to demonstrate best CSR practices in all five areas, but they will also show that the company stands apart from its peers in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, said Mr Ang.
"Recognising their achievements provides a benchmark for other companies aspiring to better sustainability practices," he added.
The awards, which will be given out annually, are supported by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.
Entries will be divided into two categories: small and mid-sized companies with revenues under S$300 million, and large companies earning S$300 million and above.