DBS, a leading financial services group in Asia, announced a partnership with The Sandbox, a leading decentralised gaming virtual world and a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, to create DBS BetterWorld, an interactive metaverse experience showcasing the importance of building a better, more sustainable world, and inviting others to come alongside.
The partnership makes DBS the first Singapore company to seal a partnership with The Sandbox and the first bank in Singapore to make a foray into the metaverse. This also marks a new milestone in DBS’ journey to continually explore the potential of Web 3.0 opportunities to benefit its customers and the broader community.
Under the partnership, DBS will acquire a 3×3 plot of LAND – a unit of virtual real estate in The Sandbox metaverse – which will be developed with immersive elements.
Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS, said, “Over the last decade, the biggest changes in the world of finance have been catalysed by digital advancements. In the coming decade, driven by new technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, these shifts have the potential to be even more profound. Metaverse technology, while still evolving, could also fundamentally change the way banks interact with customers and communities. Given the speed of change, experimenting and learning-by-doing enable us to best test the potential of various technologies. Our partnership with The Sandbox and Animoca Brands marks the start of an exciting collaboration as we push the boundaries of what is possible in the metaverse. We also look forward to harnessing it as an additional innovative platform to spread the word on important ESG issues and to shine a spotlight on communities and partners doing good work to address them.”
Sebastian Paredes, CEO of DBS Hong Kong, said, “The metaverse presents exciting opportunities to redefine how we live, work and engage with each other. We have been getting our feet wet in this space, and our very own young technologists have been given the freedom to develop experimental concepts in the metaverse. With today’s partnership, we have an excellent opportunity for our young talent to be deeply involved in developing a compelling and meaningful use case in The Sandbox. This also contributes to our ongoing efforts to groom the next generation of tech talent who will eventually lead DBS in tapping new and emerging technologies to usher in the future of banking.”
Yat Siu, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Animoca Brands, said, “DBS Bank has long been recognised as one of the most innovative banks across the world for its digital banking initiatives and the use of emerging technologies. We are absolutely thrilled to co-create the future of an open metaverse with DBS Bank through this collaboration with our subsidiary The Sandbox.”
Sebastien Borget, COO and Co-Founder of The Sandbox, said, “We welcome DBS to The Sandbox as the first bank in Singapore to step into the open metaverse and join our efforts to create the SingaporeVerse, a neighbourhood on our virtual map that will bring the culture of Singapore to life in the metaverse in a very engaging, equitable, inclusive way that is open to all. ESG issues are important to us, and we look forward to collaborating on an experience that invites our audience to make a positive global impact, to discover the creative possibilities of our platform, and maybe to find their next life-changing opportunity in the metaverse.”
Over the past few years, DBS has been advancing its sustainability agenda across three sustainability pillars: responsible banking, responsible business practices, and impact beyond banking:
- Responsible Banking – In October 2021, DBS was the first Singapore bank and among the first 100 banks globally to become a signatory to the UN-affiliated Net-Zero Banking Alliance, committing to net-zero financed emissions by 2050 or earlier. The bank has also enhanced individual customers’ access to ESG investments and launched a LiveBetter platform to enable them to lead more sustainable lifestyles.
- Responsible Business Practices – DBS has been actively embedding ESG considerations into its business operations. The bank has set a target of achieving net zero operational carbon by the end of 2022 and has committed 100% of its new suppliers to the bank’s Sustainable Sourcing Principles.
- Impact Beyond Banking – DBS also seeks to be a force for good by building lasting relationships with customers, and positively impacting communities through supporting social enterprises. In 2014, DBS established the DBS Foundation (DBSF) to catalyse social entrepreneurship in the region. In 2021, the bank committed an additional SGD 100 million to a new chapter of the foundation to do more to address the region’s increasingly pressing societal issues. With the new chapter, the bank hopes to ramp up efforts to create social good and help pave the way for a more equitable world.
The bank aims for DBS BetterWorld to be an additional engagement platform as it continues to advance these causes by providing an avenue for visitors to The Sandbox to learn more about prevailing ESG concerns. For instance, DBS will use the platform to profile social entrepreneurs in Asia who have been driving positive impact through innovative business models. Since 2014, DBS and the DBSF have helped over 800 social enterprises across the region scale their businesses and awarded over SGD 10 million in grants to close to 100 social enterprises.
Additionally, DBS will work with partners and collaborators from the Government, community, business, and technology sectors to develop meaningful concepts to enrich the DBS BetterWorld experience.
DBS will also explore opportunities to showcase DBS BetterWorld with LiveBetter, a one-stop digital platform that the bank launched in October 2021 to encourage more eco-conscious living among its customers. Through LiveBetter, the bank’s customers can easily access a suite of tools to help make the shift towards a more sustainable way of life, including handy eco-friendly tips, channels to donate to sustainability causes, as well as investment opportunities in sustainability-themed funds.
DBS will partner The Sandbox to purchase carbon offsets such that the land and production on DBS BetterWorld will be carbon neutral.