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DBS partners international certification body, TÜV SÜD, to help mid-cap companies and SMEs get ‘ESG-ready’

  • DBS introduces four-step programme to help companies learn, strategise, implement a sustainability plan to achieve third-party assurance
  • TÜV SÜD part of an ecosystem of public and private sector partners the bank has assembled to help companies build capability and capacity for sustainability

Koh Kar Siong, Group Head of SME Banking at DBS, and Richard Hong, CEO of TÜV SÜD ASEAN, sign a memorandum of understanding 
to formalise the partnership between DBS and TÜV SÜD to provide training, testing, verification and validation to SMEs and mid-cap corporates. 

Singapore, 15 August 2023 – DBS and international certification body, TÜV SÜD, today announced a year-long partnership to provide comprehensive training, testing, verification, and validation activities for sustainability assurance and certifications to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and mid-cap corporates. Both parties will also conduct joint outreach activities to promote sustainability best practices and drive adoption. 

To kick off the partnership, DBS and TÜV SÜD will offer sample training sessions to SMEs on the sidelines of the two-day SMEICC 2023 conference organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry which launched today. The sessions will provide SMEs with a taster of the full-range of ESG-readiness courses available to them and include topics such as decarbonisation and certifications. 

The collaboration is part of an ecosystem of public-private partnerships the bank is putting together under DBS’ ESG Ready initiative. The programme aims to help mid-cap corporates and SMEs develop a credible sustainability action plan, and to achieve independent assurance in environmental, social and governance (ESG) areas. 

Participants journey through a progressive four-stage programme where they can access industry-leading expertise to learn and upskill; develop a sustainability strategy; and implement their action plan with the necessary tools and solutions. Companies can then validate their ESG performance through independent third-party assurance and reporting. In addition, DBS will provide a toolkit comprising a range of training courses, assessment tools and decarbonisation solutions. To help overcome potential cost barriers associated with the transition, companies can access a suite of financing solutions including bridging or working capital loans.    

Demand for sustainability-related training and solutions has been strong as companies look to build capability and capacity. Since the beginning of the year, over 600 companies have participated in sustainability masterclasses, events, workshops, and courses organised by DBS and its partners. The goal is to engage 1,000 companies this year. 

Koh Kar Siong, Group Head of SME Banking, DBS, said: “SMEs are the backbone of our economy and play a key role in a low-carbon future. Amid rapid shifts in sustainability-related policy, financing, and reporting requirements, companies increasingly need tools and know-how in sustainability. Our research has also shown that one in two1 SMEs prefer to seek guidance from banks to advance their sustainability agendas. Therefore, we are bringing together an ecosystem of partners, like TÜV SÜD, to help drive collective action for sustainability. Our programme is designed to help companies accelerate their sustainability ambitions, regardless of how mature they are in their respective journeys.”  

Richard Hong, CEO, TÜV SÜD ASEAN, said: “TÜV SÜD and DBS' collaboration embodies our shared commitment to sustainability and empowering SMEs. With extensive expertise in testing, inspection, certification, and training, we are dedicated to fostering positive change and building a sustainable future. Together with DBS, we will promote sustainability best practices, equipping SMEs to confidently embark on their sustainability journey, by adopting standards through sustainability training and certification under the Sustainability-as-a-Service (SaaS) Programme. This joint endeavour not only benefits businesses but also contributes to Singapore's 2030 Green Plan, creating a greener and more resilient society for generations to come.” 

The SaaS programme offered by TÜV SÜD PSB supports local companies in adopting international standards via a 3-step approach encompassing online self-assessment, training, and certification. This enables companies that wish to obtain independent third-party assurance and verification to gain a competitive advantage. Eligible enterprises can receive up to 70% funding of qualified costs under the programme.

Yap Tee Peng, Director of Sanz Pte Ltd, said: “The sustainability landscape has been changing very rapidly, especially after the pandemic. Our business is fully committed to sustainability, but navigating and adapting to the rapidly changing sustainability landscape requires significant knowledge, human and financial capital. Having a one-stop programme that covers training, operationalising, and financing is extremely beneficial, and we look forward to working with DBS to further strengthen our sustainability capabilities.”


According to a survey of over 800 companies in Singapore and around the region, one in two small and medium enterprises (SMEs) refer to financial institutions for sustainability guidance in the areas of funding assistance, implementation and technical knowledge. 


For more information, contact: 

Tania Tan 
Group Strategic Marketing & Communications 
Tel: +65 92489483 
Email: [email protected]

Stefanie Lim 
Corporate Marketing & Communications 
Tel: +65 69736022
Email: [email protected] 

About DBS

DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 19 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world.

Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named “World’s Best Bank” by Global Finance, “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney and “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney and the world’s “Most Innovative in Digital Banking” by The Banker. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia“ award by Global Finance for 14 consecutive years from 2009 to 2022.

DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets.

DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, as it banks the Asian way. Through the DBS Foundation, the bank creates impact beyond banking by supporting social enterprises: businesses with a double bottom-line of profit and social and/or environmental impact. DBS Foundation also gives back to society in various ways, including equipping communities with future-ready skills and building food resilience.

With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. For more information, please visit

About TÜV SÜD 

Founded in 1866 as a steam boiler inspection association, the TÜV SÜD Group has evolved into a global enterprise. More than 26,000 employees work at over 1.000 locations in about 50 countries to continually improve technology, systems and expertise. They contribute significantly to making technical innovations such as Industry 4.0, autonomous driving and renewable energy safe and reliable. 


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