DBS joins global sustainability index

DBS Group Holdings says it is the first Singapore bank to be included as an index constituent of the FTSE4Good Global Index, comprising more than 800 companies who have demonstrated good ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) practices.

DBS was also the top index constituent in the FTSE4Good ASEAN 5 Index. Inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index means that DBS is now one of eight Singapore-listed companies to be globally recognised for its ESG practices.

Launched in 2001, the FTSE4Good Index Series is a series of benchmark and tradable indexes for ESG investors. It identifies companies that demonstrate strong ESG practices. To be included in this index, companies are independently assessed across more than 300 data points, which are applied according to the sectors and countries in which they operate.

According to FTSE Russell, the consideration of ESG factors is now a core focus for many large institutional investors across asset owners, asset managers, consultants and banks. According to data from Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, over US$22 trillion of assets are being professionally managed under responsible investment strategies, an increase of 25% since 2014.

Mikkel Larsen, co-chair of DBS’ Sustainability Council says, “DBS’ inclusion in the FTSE4Good index, one of the world’s foremost indices that recognise ESG performance, now places us on the global stage. This is an affirmation that our sustainability efforts are on the right path, and we look forward to introducing more innovative initiatives to support Singapore and the region’s sustainable development agendas.”

In recent years, DBS has been strengthening its sustainability agenda in various ways. Last month, the bank issued its first green bond with an issue size of US$500 million, to support the financing of green assets. It was the sole bookrunner of Singapore’s first corporate green bond in March 2017. The bank also played an instrumental role in bringing to market the world’s first listed social sustainability bond – the Women’s Livelihood Bond, a US$8 million bond that provides loans to social enterprises and microfinance institutions, positively impacting the livelihoods of more than 385,000 women in Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

DBS also says it is the first Singapore bank to adopt the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines in its 2015 annual report. GRI is an international independent standards organisation that helps businesses, governments and organisations understand and communicate their impact on sustainability issues.

Photo: Nicolas Lannuzel/Wikipedia