Venture Philanthropy Changing Communities
13 Dec 2021

Venture Philanthropy Changing Communities

Hywel ap John Phillip
General Counsel and Director
AT Capital Group – AT Holdings Pte Ltd


As an investor for impact, AT Capital supports Social Enterprises (SEs) that have a focus on reducing food waste in the region. One of their recipients is S4S Technologies. We took the chance to chat with Mr Phillip to find out more about their opinions on the impact of food waste and how the partnership with DBS Foundation (DBSF) has assisted them in extending their support to the SEs that are aligned with their corporate values.

  1. What motivated you to reach out to DBS to start the discussion on supporting organisations working towards zero food waste?
    AT Capital has been involved in charitable activities for over 15 years. Through our AT Capital Charitable Foundation, we are particularly interested in supporting education, healthcare, and sustainability causes. Our long-term relationship with DBS brought our attention to DBSF and we were intrigued by the work they do, especially the championing of social entrepreneurs. Supporting SEs in working towards zero food waste is perfectly aligned with the AT Capital Charitable Foundation’s own sustainability goals, and we are pleased to collaborate with DBSF in promoting sustainability in Singapore and elsewhere.
  2. Why do you think that the issue of waste is an important one?
    Food wastage has a negative impact, whether environmentally, financially and ethically. The environmental impact is multi-fold; for example, irresponsible agricultural practices have caused deforestation, including harm to wildlife and watercourses due to the adverse use of pesticides as well as contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Logistically, the processing and transportation of food adds to the negative impact. Food wastage leads to increased landfill and the decomposition that follows further increases greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, financial and ethical challenges arise directly from the same agricultural, logistical as well as waste collection and storage processes.
  3. What struck you most about S4S Technologies?
    S4S Technologies is one of the three SEs that AT Capital Charitable Foundation chose to support in 2021. We were particularly impressed with how S4S Technologies is empowering women micro-entrepreneurs in agriculture. The transformational impact of S4S Technologies’ work on the lives of this growing group of women farmers is spectacular. Through our donation, we are seeking to remove important logistical barriers faced by trail-blazing micro-entrepreneurs such as S4S Technologies by funding their physical and digital distribution systems.
  4. How would you encourage other corporates and family offices to join the journey of impact?
    It is important to emphasise that ultimately, it is in everyone’s interests to work together and join the fight towards zero food waste and sustainability, whether it be corporations, family offices, their employees or the communities in which they operate. A recent slogan at COP26 sums it up brilliantly: “There is no Planet B!”
  5. How can DBS continue to help our clients in making a greater positive impact for a better world?
    DBS is leading by example. For instance, DBS has been building awareness through regional and local events as well as creating collaborations between like-minded ecosystem partners. It is also integrating a positive impact into the DBS culture by encouraging employees to volunteer and mentor social entrepreneurs. To that end, I would encourage DBS to extend their efforts to reach out to other family offices who, like AT Capital, are driven by ethical goals. By responding quickly and with a collective purpose, we can amplify the positive impact DBS is already generating.
  6. How has this experience changed your impression of DBS as a Bank?
    AT Capital has always enjoyed a long and successful relationship with DBS. Our project with DBSF has not only been exciting and rewarding, but also reinvigorating and inspirational. Through this collaboration, it is heartening to see that there are so many passionate and driven individuals who are working so hard to improve the future for everyone.