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DBS debuts second season of SPARKS with focus on sustainability

In line with its commitment to advancing the sustainability agenda as a purpose-driven bank, DBS Bank has debuted the second season of Sparks, an award-winning mini-series.

Themed “Everyday Heroes for a Better World” and inspired by true stories, the first three episodes of this new season follow a group of dynamic DBS bankers as they partner with the community to address some of the most pressing social and environmental issues of the day. These include plastic pollution, food waste as well as social inequality.

The episodes are inspired by the stories of three social enterprises (SEs), Evoware from Indonesia, Bettr Barista from Singapore and Eco-Greenergy from Hong Kong, which are supported by the DBS Foundation. The DBS Foundation was set up five years ago to champion social entrepreneurship and has since nurtured over 300 SEs around the region.

Evoware was founded to address the global plastic waste problem by providing an eco-friendly, biodegradable and even edible packaging solution made from seaweed. Bettr Barista empowers marginalised individuals through jobs training in coffee brewing so they can be self-sufficient. As food waste becomes a burgeoning issue in developed societies, Eco-Greenergy turns coffee grounds into innovative products such as compostable cutlery, therefore upcycling food waste.

Through Sparks Season Two, DBS hopes to spark conversations and galvanise change around key sustainability challenges such as:

  • Plastic pollution: Asia is home to eight of the world’s top 10 plastic waste polluting countries. It is estimated that five Asian countries alone – China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – account for 60% of all plastics dumped into the ocean. In Singapore, the consumption of single-use plastics continues to be a particularly pressing issue. According to the Singapore Environment Council, Singaporeans use at least 1.76 billion plastic items a year, of which less than 20% is recycled.
  • Inequality: Despite economic development, issues of social and gender inequality remain. OECD work shows that the accumulation of disadvantages for certain income groups can have detrimental effects on the prosperity and well-being of all.
  • Food waste: USD 1 trillion of food is wasted globally each year, and Asia contributes to 50% of this. In Singapore, 2.5 kg of food is thrown away by an average Singapore home each week.

At the same time, through the episodes, the bank seeks to pay tribute to everyday heroes whether individuals, businesses or members of Team DBS, who are passionately and resiliently stepping out to make a difference.

David Christian, co-founder of Evoware

Karen Ngui, Head of DBS Group Strategic Marketing & Communications and Board Member of DBS Foundation said:

“As a purpose-driven bank that’s deeply rooted in the heart of Singapore and the region, we believe we have a central role to play in creating a sustainable future that goes beyond banking. We are acutely aware that such a huge endeavour requires us to join hands with businesses, communities and the public. Fundamentally, we also believe that there is an everyday hero in each and every one of us, and together, we can all drive change – in big and small ways – for a better world.”

Over the years, DBS has been focused on advancing the sustainability agenda, through responsible banking, responsible business practices and creating social impact. It was the first bank in Southeast Asia to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Asia-Pacific and the first Singapore bank to be named as a constituent of the FTSE4Good Global Index. DBS has also been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the last two years.

Pmela Chng, founder of the Bettr Group

In 2018, the bank provided sustainable financing amounting to more than SGD 2.4 billion. Recently, the bank signed Singapore’s first sustainability linked loan for an SME with Chew’s Agriculture, a leading egg producer in Singapore.

DBS is moving towards utilising 100% renewable energy for its entire Singapore operations by 2030 and has partnered the Singapore Management University to launch Singapore’s first sustainability major.

On the social impact front, the DBS Foundation has awarded about S$5 million in grants to SEs across the region. These SEs have deployed social innovations in areas such as healthcare, social inclusion, environment protection, waste management, food sustainability, as well as employment and income generation for the marginalised. In 2017, DBS was also the official banking partner and sole placement agent for the Women’s Livelihood Bond, the world’s first social sustainability bond to be listed on a stock exchange.

For its sustainability efforts, DBS was conferred the Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Award for Sustainable Business, Sustainable Business Awards Singapore for Best Flagship Initiative and Champion of Good 2018 by Company of Good.

Since its 2016 debut, the 10 episodes of the first season of Sparks have garnered more than 250 million views and over 24 million digital engagements across the region. It has also won a number of global marketing accolades. These include the Gold Award in Digital Marketing at the global Efma-Accenture 2017 Distribution & Marketing Innovation Awards and Silver in the prestigious Shorty Awards 2018. Most recently, it was also named winner in the Video Marketing category, Corporate division, in the Conference Board’s Excellence in Marketing and Communications Awards 2019.

Cast members in Sparks Season Two include industry veterans and rising stars such as Adrian Pang, Tan Kheng Hua, Jae Liew, Aanchal Wadhwani, Arifin Putra, Chen Yi Xin, Chew Kin Wah, Darryl Yong, Jamie Xia, Terrance Tan and Thomas Pang.

View the Sparks miniseries that has been inspired by true stories: DBS.com/sparks

DBS SPARKS Season Two

Inspired by true stories, DBS’ award-winning mini-series returns for a second season. Themed “Everyday Heroes for a
Better World”, it seeks to raise awareness and galvanise action around the big sustainability issues of today – issues
such as plastic pollution, food waste and social inequality. It also celebrates everyday heroes and the passion, resilience
as well as creative invention with which they tackle these issues.

Directed by renowned director David Tsui and produced by Moviola Productions, in partnership with DBS, the first three
episodes of Sparks Season Two follow a group of dynamic DBS bankers (Team DBS) as they partner innovative social
enterprises to create positive social impact.

Veteran Singaporean actor Adrian Pang reprises his role as team leader Chester Teo, while Claire Lee (Hong Kong
model-actress Jamie Xia) returns as the protagonist alongside her new colleague and childhood friend, Darren Chua
(Thomas Pang).

This season also stars Crazy Rich Asians’ Tan Kheng Hua who plays Angela, a social entrepreneur who believes in
empowering marginalised women and at-risk youth, as well as actor Darryl Yong who plays Justin Rusli, founder of a
social enterprise that aims to create innovative seaweed-based solutions to help solve issues around plastic waste.

Since its 2016 debut, the 10 episodes of the first season of Sparks have garnered more than 250 million views and over
24 million digital engagements across the region. It has also won a number of global marketing accolades. These include
the Gold Award in Digital Marketing at the global Efma-Accenture 2017 Distribution & Marketing Innovation Awards and
Silver in the prestigious Shorty Awards 2018.

Most recently, it was also named winner in the Video Marketing category,
Corporate division, in the Conference Board’s Excellence in Marketing and Communications Awards 2019.

Episode Synopsis:

Episode 1 – A Generational Challenge
Team DBS is back! The bankers take on a new client who is on a mission to change his family plastic business. But
with family tensions threatening to derail the endeavour, can Team DBS find a way to help their client reach his goals?

Episode 2 – Pay It Forward
An unexpected visit takes Team DBS on a heartwarming journey where lives are forever changed by simple acts of
kindness. Together, they must find a way to save the social enterprise that has given hope to so many who are in need.

Episode 3 – From Grounds Up
The bankers find kindred spirits in two young entrepreneurs with a big dream. But with the odds stacked against them,
Team DBS must overcome one challenge after another to turn their dream into reality.

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