Communications giant Singtel has carved its place in society as a strong corporate citizen with its impactful, purpose-driven sustainability initiatives. For Singtel, it is not just about creating long-term growth of the business, but also bringing shared value to its stakeholders, ecosystem of partners and the community through fostering technology, innovation and collaboration.
Singtel’s Sustainability Strategy
With these objectives in mind, Singtel’s sustainability strategy is built on four pillars covering Economic, Social and Governance topics – Marketplace and Customers, Community, People and Environment.
Singtel’s four strategic pillars: marketplace and customers, community, people and environment.
Stakeholder Engagement & Materiality Assessment
Singtel also places much emphasis on continuous stakeholder engagement. In 2014, the company completed a formal three-year stakeholder engagement exercise and a comprehensive materiality assessment of its supply chain and value chain. The review provided the basis for the Singtel Group’s sustainability strategy and performance reporting according to the identified material issues covering its four sustainability pillars.
Material issues by stakeholders identified in relation to Singtel’s sustainability pillars.
Putting Theory into Practice
The materiality review and stakeholder engagement exercise to assess both internal and external stakeholders on key topics have helped Singtel design relevant programmes to address these needs. For example, one key focus area that Singtel identified was the rapid growth of smart devices and social media, as well as internet pervasiveness, giving rise to issues such as a digital divide and impacting vulnerable segments such as youth and children in the area of online safety, cyber bullying, as well as device and gaming addiction. In response to this, Singtel has streamlined its community strategy focus into three core areas, including cyber wellness and online safety. It has also embarked on several initiatives to address the topic of online safety, reaching out to both parents and children. In 2016, it also created Singapore’s first cyber wellness toolkit for special education schools to conduct lessons for their students with special needs. All these have helped to fill an existing gap in this sector. Another focus area identified was the complexity and potential impact of the company’s supply chain on its business and reputation. In 2016, Singtel undertook a comprehensive organisation-wide Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) across Singapore and Australia, looking at the direct and indirect environmental impact of how it sources for its business needs. It also conducted a Social Hotspot Analysis which identified sources of vulnerability within its supply chain, such as human and labour rights, as well as environmental issues. In addition, it carried out a risk assessment of key sustainability impact and compliance requirements across 75% of its supply chain expenditure. Singtel’s Supplier Code of Conduct was subsequently updated to address the broader spectrum of issues identified by the LCA. It ensured that the Code was aligned with its UN Global Compact commitments in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environment and anti-corruption. To participate in any tenders, suppliers need to comply with Singtel’s Supplier Code of Conduct. This contains the minimum social and environmental standards it expects of its suppliers. This Code has been designed to:
- Improve the environmental and social performance of Singtel procurement activities;
- Reduce the environmental and social risks associated with Singtel business activities;
- Ensure Singtel procurement activities are inclusive, allowing business opportunity with small to medium enterprises and minority groups; and
- Work with its suppliers to enhance their sustainability performance.
The Singtel Group will, from time to time, conduct onsite evaluations and inspections of its suppliers’ facilities, and those of their subcontractors supporting its operations, to review their progress against its Code of Conduct. The Singtel Group is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace by minimising the risk of accidents, injury and exposure to health hazards for its people, including its contractors. It works closely with its outsourced vendors and partners to ensure that health and safety risks are minimised for its employees and contract workers. Singtel recognises that sustainability is an ongoing journey, and will continue working with partners to create long-term value for its stakeholders.