Marina Bay Sands makes it a point to give back to society

The best way to encourage greater corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Singapore is to lead by example, says the chief of one of the country’s largest employers.

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) has some 9,400 employees on its payroll, and president and chief executive officer George Tanasijevich says that the integrated resort is in a unique position to give back to society.

“CSR is important to us because we have been given a tremendous opportunity to enter (the Singapore) market and establish MBS. What comes along with that is an obligation to fit into the community and to find ways to help out,” he tells The Business Times.

MBS has wasted no time in teaming up with several well-known local organisations, such as the Community Chest, the Singapore Association for the Deaf and the Metta School – all of which have produced encouraging results so far.

The Heartsrings Walk earlier this year, for instance, saw about 6,000 walkers taking part to help raise a record $1.3 million for the Community Chest.

Next month, the 2,155-seater Grand Theatre at MBS will be the new home for the annual charity concert ChildAid.

The two-day performance, on Dec 7 and 8, features talented youths under the age of 19 and is in aid of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund.

MBS has inked a three-year deal to be the official venue partner for ChildAid until 2014, when the event marks its 10th anniversary.

Mr Tanasijevich says that the fact that ChildAid promoted the arts among the younger generation was consistent with MBS’s own focus on youth and education in Singapore.

“There’s going to be a wide variety of performances. It’s my first time watching ChildAid live and I’m excited to experience it. I’m always astonished by how good and confident these kids are and how much fun they have doing what they do.”

As far as the wider CSR outreach is concerned, he hopes that more companies here, both large and small, will do what they can to support or help those in need.

“Singapore, obviously, is a very prosperous nation and has exceeded economic expectations for decades now. But it doesn’t mean that every piece of society has experienced that same growth at that same rate,” he says.

Employers should also study ways to find out how their respective businesses could be leveraged in a CSR context.

In MBS’s case, it recently donated $150,000 to the Metta School to equip four hospitality training rooms, which will provide the facilities for some 90 students undergoing a skills certification course in areas such as baking and housekeeping.

“To give opportunities to these kids is really a nice way to find synergy between what we do for a living versus what we are trying to do to give back to the community,” says Mr Tanasijevich.

As an IR with so many different elements and components to the business, he knows that this probably means a “greater responsibility” placed on its shoulders to be a leader in CSR.

“We put the pressure on ourselves. Hopefully, we are contributing meaningfully and we will continue to grow into the future.”

Source: The Business Times