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Special Project

Special Project
From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

DBS Giving Tree

Finalist in Community or Employee Engagement

Entered in Environment & Sustainability


Sustainability is at the core of DBS Bank's purpose-driven agenda. We have achieved many firsts in our commitment towards creating a sustainable future. We are amongst the first in Asia to pledge and join global renewable energy initiative RE100. We have also pledged to power 100 percent of our operations in Singapore using renewable energy by 2030.

In line with our enhanced mission statement, "Make Banking Joyful", we seek to enrich lives and transform businesses by delivering amazing solutions and experiences to our stakeholders, in a sustainable way. Our drive to embed sustainability into the organisation is systematically arranged under the three pillars: responsible banking, responsible business practices and creating social impact.

In operating our business, we incorporate sustainable design principles, use green materials, and make the use of water and energy efficient equipment mandatory across our premises. To date, 100% of our retail branches and office premises are Greenmark certified in Singapore. Our in-house solar panels generate over 460 MWh of solar power annually, and we continue to install more.

Last year, recognising that considerable waste – from food, to plastics and décor – is generated from the holiday festivities, DBS’ corporate real estate team partnered Edible Garden City, a social enterprise supported by DBS Foundation, to curb snd discourage waste associated with the holiday season. We designed a fully circular Christmas tree known as DBS Giving Tree. This project started from a single question that we asked ourselves: “What if our decorations made the earth better?”

Strategy and Execution

The DBS Giving Tree is a 100% circular Christmas Tree made from upcycled wood from used shipping pallets. Decorations on the tree are also made entirely from sustainable materials, most of which is in fact edible – aside from the wooden toys constructed from the same upcycled wood, the rest of the tree is comprised of microgreens, herbs and edible flowers.

We called it the Giving Tree because on top of representing DBS’ efforts to give back to the planet, all its embellishments were later given to DBS employees in Singapore. The DBS Giving Tree is presented in collaboration with Edible Garden City and Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) as a closed-loop circular economy demonstration project.

Through this initiative, we wanted to curb and discourage the wastage we usually saw more of during the holiday season.  More importantly, we wanted to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability, and demonstrate how everyone can celebrate the festive season in a sustainable fashion, without compromising on fun or creativity. On a strategic level, the Giving Tree is a part of DBS' continuous drive to weave sustainability principles into every aspect of our operations – in ways both big and small.

A 100% circular tree – four more lives before returning to the soil

The DBS Giving Tree started its life as a part of actual trees, made into wooden pallets that would normally be thrown away. We gave them a second life in the form of a Christmas tree. The tree was then repurposed at the end of the Christmas festive season for Chinese New Year decor, and thereafter as a fixture in the DBS Treasures Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 3. The cycle ended when it returned to the soil as part of DBS’ first community farm, DBS Food Forest, at the DBS Asia Hub building in Changi Business Park.

Raising awareness through engagement

In all, we had eight DBS Giving Trees that were spread across our various offices. As part of out employee engagement efforts, the initiative comprised a Chinese New Year décor making session with employees. Over 150 employees utilised recycled DBS red packets to create paper décor items such as lanterns, fish, fans, mice and houses to embellish the ‘trees’ that were transformed into diamond wooden structures post-Christmas, for Chinese New Year

Raising awareness through tips and stories

Event and educational communications relating to the DBS Giving Tree were shared internally and externally, in the form of onsite posters, EDMs, videos, intranet banners, social media posts and newspaper features. Content included tips on how to reduce waste during festive seasons, and the story behind the DBS Giving Tree to generate and amplify awareness.


Considering the sustainability and circularity of the initiative, we believe that the DBS Giving Tree initiative ties in well with DBS' purpose-driven agenda. Through the DBS Giving Tree, we have helped to raise awareness of the problem of increased waste that is generated during festive seasons, and have shown how this problem can be dealt with creatively. For 2020, we are expanding the DBS Giving Tree initiative to our regional markets beyond Singapore, and it is only one of the many projects that DBS is leading to drive circular economy and net zero energy operations. 


Engaged employees

Participants were all actively engaged and gave an average ESAT score of 4.7 out of 5 when asked if they will want to participate in such an activity again. Our internal surveys also revealed that close to 70% of employee participants agreed the DBS Giving Tree initiative is a good avenue for learning more about sustainability-related issues.

Generated buzz and awareness

Communications were distributed and amplified through the following owned and paid channels:

Environmental Impact


Video for DBS Giving Tree

Entrant Company / Organization Name

DBS Bank


Entry Credits