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COMPANY OF GOOD

Greenpac focuses efforts, time and resources on community, environment

Monday, July 4, 2016 - 05:50
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Greenpac hosted an initiative to donate hydroponic systems as well as seeds and nutrients to Jurong residents and school students, and the firm's staff regularly visit the neighbourhood to train students and residents and care for the plants.

Singapore

ENVIRONMENTALLY friendly packaging company Greenpac differentiates itself through its sustained and frequent efforts to help build the community, thanks to its philosophy of "doing good for the community and doing well within the company".

When asked how Greenpac's community service started, founder and chief executive officer Susan Chong says: "We might not have deep pockets but we focus our efforts on volunteering our time and resources to helping out in the community."

One example is the company's hiring policy - it once hired a deaf and mute worker and after overcoming the initial challenges relating to integration, the company has maintained its philosophy of giving all employees equal opportunities.

In addition to its inclusive work environment, the company also subcontracts selected projects to ex-offenders under the Yellow Ribbon initiative.

It encourages and cultivates a culture of giving - employee appraisals incorporate a 10 per cent component for "going the extra mile". Volunteering started off as a self-motivated effort by employees but Greenpac eventually adopted it into its Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, framework. The company has key performance indices for giving and appraises its employees for the way in which they contribute.

The CSR framework rests on three main pillars - responsible entrepreneurship, environmentally friendly initiatives and community outreach programmes.

Environmentally friendly initiatives are key to Greenpac's business operations. For instance, its four-storey factory in Jurong is Singapore's first "green" factory. Opened in 2013, it is one of Singapore's few Green Mark Gold-certified buildings.

The features of this building include a zero energy office with renewable solar energy to power the entire office and a rainwater harvesting system.

The company's efforts towards sustainability extend beyond the infrastructure of its facilities. Greenpac hosted an initiative to donate hydroponic systems as well as seeds and nutrients to Jurong residents and school students, and the firm's staff regularly visit the neighbourhood to train students and residents and care for the plants.

As Ms Chong says: "When employees work in a purpose-driven organisation, they are more motivated by their jobs."

In addition to environmental initiatives, Greenpac gives back to the community in its own area of expertise: packaging. It supported the first all female local expeditition from Singapore to Mount Everest in 2009 through packaging and delivering of their telecommunications products.

In the field of education, Greenpac sponsors internships to the School of Science and Technology.

When asked about challenges that Greenpac has faced in its CSR efforts, Ms Chong says that it is sometimes "difficult to strike a balance between doing well and doing good and it is crucial to know the limits the company's resources have".

When asked for advice to firms that are interested in harnessing a more giving culture, Ms Chong says: "It is important to know your limits and identify which specific causes you want to support."

She also says that cash donations were "not the only way to give and often, sustained volunteering and non-monetary initiatives have a more lasting impact".

  • This is part of a series of stories on impactful corporate giving under the Company of Good programme led by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre(NVPC). The Business Times is supporting the initiative as media partner.
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