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Metaverse as a Force for Good: DBS BetterWorld To Tackle Food Waste Issue

According to the United Nations, one-third of all food produced in the world – or an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes – is wasted each year. In light of this issue, DBS, the Asia based financial services group, has unveiled its plans for a metaverse adventure, DBS BetterWorld, which will highlight what Businesses for Impact supported by the DBS Foundation are doing to address food waste.

Although tackling the issue through the metaverse will be a first for DBS, it won’t be the first time the company has acted to change the food waste issue. In 2020, it launched its Towards Zero Food Waste initiative to rally employees, customers, communities and the public to collectively create a more food resilient future. As at the end of 2022, the initiative has generated over 2,000 tonnes of total food impact, which includes food waste reduced, food recycled, and food redistributed.

Karen Ngui, head of group strategic marketing and communications at DBS, and board member of DBS Foundation, said: “DBS believes that it is possible to leverage the metaverse as a force for good. It can be harnessed as an interactive platform to increase awareness of important ESG issues and creatively spotlight those who are finding innovative ways to address them.

“For starters, with DBS BetterWorld, we have chosen to delve into the challenges of food waste and food resilience. These are issues that DBS and the DBS Foundation have been championing, in a unique and engaging way. As metaverse technologies mature, we hope to create mechanisms for communities and businesses to translate the outcomes of their virtual initiatives to real world impact.”

The unique approach

As part of the experience, players must complete a series of activities inspired by five Businesses for Impact supported by the DBS Foundation and their unique approach to mitigating food waste:

  • Brewerkz – a craft beer maker based in Singapore. Brewerkz is focused on upcycling brewers’ spent grains, a by-product of beer-making that is often discarded in the industry today, into food products.
  • Breer – a food upcycling startup based in Hong Kong. Breer collects surplus bread from bakeries and restaurants and uses it to brew craft beer.
  • GreenPrice – Based in Hong Kong. GreenPrice specialises in selling food that is close to or just past their ‘best before’ date. This helps eliminate food waste while making food more accessible to low-income households.
  • Edible Garden City – Operating out of Singapore. Edible Garden City champions the grow-our-own-food movement by making soil-based urban farming and edible gardening more accessible to city dwellers.
  • Rooftop Republic – Based in Hong Kong. Rooftop Republic transforms underutilised and unconventional spaces in the territory, such as disused helipads, into urban farms.
Giving back to the community

Cognisant of its responsibility to society as a purpose-driven bank, DBS gives back to the community and empowers others to create positive change in various ways. Since 2014, the DBS Foundation has been committed to uplifting lives and livelihoods by igniting change in businesses and communities.

To date, the DBS Foundation has nurtured over 800 businesses for impact in Asia, with some 100 of these awarded grant funding totalling over SGD13million through its annual Grant Award. The DBS Foundation Business for Impact chapter now catalyses the growth of innovative, purpose-driven businesses, including SMEs, designed to address pressing issues facing our planet and society.

In 2022, the DBS Foundation raised the bar with the formation of a new Community Impact chapter to equip the underserved with digital and financial literacy skills to face the future with confidence and enable communities to be more food secure and resilient. It committed SGD5.6million in funding to support 10 inaugural programmes across all the bank’s core markets of Singapore, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Taiwan.

In August 2023, DBS announced that it will commit up to SGD1billion over the next 10 years to improve lives and livelihoods of the low-income and underprivileged. Furthermore, it fosters a more inclusive society. DBS will deploy SGD100million each year in Singapore and its other key markets with effect from 2024. It augments existing community initiatives by the bank and DBS Foundation. In addition, the bank’s 36,000-strong workforce will commit over 1.5 million volunteer hours over the next decade to give back to society.

Incorporating interactive features to drive engagement

Players based in Singapore will be treated to extra rewards which can be redeemed via special QR codes accessed using DBS PayLah! 2. DBS has also included easter eggs for players to discover, including cameo appearances by popular characters from the bank’s web series, Sparks.

DBS BetterWorld will be accessible to the public once The Sandbox’s Alpha Season 43 is launched.

  1. All five Businesses for Impact are recipients of the DBS Foundation Grant Award, which was designed to recognise and catalyse the growth of businesses that have successfully integrated both social / environmental impact and financial profit into their business models and are strongly positioned for long-term growth.
  2. DBS PayLah! is the bank’s everyday app for customers in Singapore that enables them to meet their daily needs – from making payments, sending funds, hailing rides, booking tickets, ordering food, and more – all while earning rewards.
  3. The Sandbox’s Alpha Season 4 is expected to launch before the end of 2023.


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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