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SINGAPORE BUDGET DEBATE

New scheme to encourage corporate giving

Firms will be given advice, resources and access to networks so they can run more effective giving programmes

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Productivity and innovation issues aside, it is just as important that Singapore businesses are civic-minded and play active roles in the community, said Ms Sim.

Singapore

THE National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) are working together on a new programme to drive corporate giving in Singapore.

Called the Company of Good, the initiative to be launched this June will be open to all businesses in Singapore and "empower" them to give better, said Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann in Parliament on Thursday.

The programme will offer levels of support customised to the varying needs of businesses, which will be given advice, resources and access to networks where they can learn best practices.

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Companies which are starting giving programmes without prior experience can receive basic training in this area from the NVPC, which aims to train about 200 companies in two years, and subsidise the course fees as well.

And companies on the programme can choose to make this known by displaying a special "Company of Good" logo on their corporate materials.

Ms Sim, speaking during the debate on her ministry's spending plans for the new financial year, said: "We regularly speak of corporate transformation in terms of productivity and innovation. It is just as important that businesses in our future economy are civic-minded and play active roles in our communities."

She praised the efforts of firms such as real-estate giant CapitaLand, the decade-old foundation of which donates a portion of the company's annual profits to support causes for underprivileged children.

CapitaLand staff are given three days of leave to do volunteer service each year, and if an employee uses all three days, the company donates S$500 to a charity of his or her choice.

Another firm that was lauded in the House was GreenPac, a small and medium-sized enterprise which provides environmentally-friendly packaging solutions. It sets itself benchmarks for giving and appraises its employees on how they give.

To date, it has donated hydroponic systems to schools and estates in Jurong; its staff make regular visits to train students and residents to care for the plants.

Ms Sim said: "We will do more to encourage businesses to be more civic-minded, meet the aspirations of their employees and be enterprises of which Singaporeans can be proud."

The Company of Good programme will recognise exemplary firms as "champions" and celebrate their corporate-giving programmes. The President's Volunteerism and/or Philanthropy Awards (Corporate) winner will also be selected through the programme.

More details will be available when the official Company of Good website (www.companyofgood.sg) goes "live" next month.

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