DBS Hong Kong’s new branch outfits may be brown, but to them, it is a statement of how the future of its banking services is green.
Hong Kong customers will see local branch staff decked out in their new casual uniforms when they visit any of the bank’s Hong Kong branches every Friday and Saturday.
At first glance, the colour-blocked shirts may seem just like your typical shirts. But underneath the seams, the shirts represent everything that the bank wishes to represent: to be an environmentally friendly business with a more youthful yet professional look to appeal to the younger generation, according to Ajay Mathur, head of consumer banking group and wealth management, DBS Bank Hong Kong.
He adds that the new outfits are an example of how the bank embeds environmentally friendly elements and sustainability in every aspect of its business practices.
“Customers may feel more relaxed seeing our colleagues in this casual uniform at our branches, knowing that the weekend is coming,” Mathur told Asian Banking & Finance.
“Such wardrobe refresh builds on our image as a forward-looking bank of the future, presenting our brand value proposition as encapsulated by the “Live more, Bank less” ethos,” Mathur added.
The polo shirts feature a colour-blocking of the bank’s official colours, deep carmine and black at the collar and sleeves. For the bodice, DBS chose a comfortable brown shade that is easy on the eyes of the customers. The most notable feature of the shirts, however, is not their colour scheme but the fabric used.
The polo shirts are made from a sustainable fibre mix of organic cotton and recycled polyester. According to Mathur, the cotton was grown and processed without pesticides and other harmful chemicals and utilises plastic bottles.
The practice began even before the new casual shirts came to life. Since 2020, DBS Hong Kong staff’s branch suits have also been made from fabric making use of 65% recycled polyester and 35% polyester blend, Mathur explained.
It may seem like a small deal given the financial transactions involved in running a bank. But Mathur pointed out that the new uniforms are part of its branding.
“We see this wardrobe refresh as an important initiative, not only portraying a young and energetic image of our frontline employees but also demonstrating the bank’s commitment to driving positive environmental impact to our community,” Mathur said.
This is not the first time that DBS overhauled the non-financial aspect of its operations to make them more environmentally sustainable. Earlier in July, its Singapore arm unveiled the DBS Newton Green building.
The project saw DBS retrofitting one of its oldest office buildings to transform it into the Lion City’s first net-zero development by a bank. This means that the bank has an office building that can count itself as one of the more or less just 500 net-zero commercial buildings worldwide.
Before retrofitting works began, the old building consumed about 845,000 kWh each year, equivalent to the annual energy consumption of about 200 four-room HDB homes in Singapore. To equal that energy, the bank has lined the building’s rooftop with solar panels, powering the operations of 400 employees that work within its walls.
The bank has also outfitted its other offices and locations with solar panels in order to reduce consumption of non-sustainable energy.
“[This] is an important step forward in understanding how net-zero technologies can be scaled up to not only move DBS closer towards its net-zero objectives, but to also help other organisations green their operations as we collectively realise a more sustainable future for Singapore,” DBS said regarding its net-zero office.
“It is our belief that a different kind of bank is needed in a post-pandemic world – one that is more sustainability-focused As we work towards becoming the Best Bank for a Better World, we will continue to up the ante on addressing sustainability issues and devoting to be a purpose-driven bank,” Mathur concluded.