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A showcase for local champions
THE recipients of the inaugural Brands for Good were honoured at an event hosted by CEO Asia on July 26. Sponsored by Maybank Singapore and BBX, the Brands for Good programme has eight categories - spanning the Workplace, the Community, the Environment and Patents - which recognised 24 companies spanning 33 awards.
"Brands For Good is a concept where companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in support of those goals. It is about enterprises solving social, workplace and environmental problems while making a profit. Doing so allows the solution that they come up with to be extremely scalable, and thus their businesses as well," said CEO Asia's Glenn Lim.
"With Singapore's commitment to achieve sustainable development by 2030 and in support of the 17 SDGs, it is timely that these SMEs, which are doing the right things, be showcased. We believe that the BFG awards will have a ripple effect; and serve as catalysts for more SMEs to come forward and share their sustainability stories," he added.
One unique aspect of the BFG programme is its recognition of companies that are using intellectual property (IP) such as patents to do societal good.
According to Alan Ng, president of IPOS Society, patented inventions have the ability to attract funding, which in turn provides the resources to fuel technical improvements of a product. "This can be translated into commercial activities that deliver impact through its utility, which would result in an economy of scale benefitting the wider masses. Patents, therefore, are not just an economic asset but also an instrument to turn a brilliant invention into a means for the betterment of human life," Genashtim's Thomas Ng said.
"To ensure sustainability, especially in view of the societal and environmental problems as populations continue to grow, organisations are going to need innovations that make careful use of the available resources, human and environmental. When IP strategy is effectively designed and implemented, it will enable organisations to create tremendous intangible assets," he added.
IPOS Society is a non-profit organisation started in 2016 by a group of former employees of IPOS (Intellectual Property Office of Singapore) who believe that IP can help achieve positive impact in a sustainable way. It aims to champion the use of human inventiveness and innovations to advance the development and progress of humanity.
With this guiding mission in mind, IPOS Society joined with CEO Asia and other organisations to launch the BFG programme, which has been very much welcomed by the participating companies.
"When we started out on this journey of using business to do good, for-profit social enterprises were rare. But it was clear to us from the beginning that if we cannot be profitable, then it would be very hard to sustain and scale what we do. We were delighted when we learnt of Brands for Good, and we felt we could play our part in showing that using business to do good is something that is feasible," said Genashtim's Mr Ng.
Added Mr Yahya of Kowabunga Education: "This award not only further reinforces that we are in the right direction but also helps us spread the awareness that doing good can also be good for business."