LiveBetter: Making sustainability part of the everyday | by DBS Innovation | Reimagine Banking | Apr, 2022

Sourabh SharmaExecutive Director, Consumer Banking Group, Digital Banking, shares how DBS harnessed technology for good by creating a platform that made it easier for consumers to do good and choose sustainability.

Image by DBS Consumer Banking Group, Digital Banking

Just two weeks ago, the UN sounded alarm bells, noting that Asia Pacific wasn’t on track to achieve any of its sustainability targets, including combating climate change, by 2030. While countries had varying successes, the consensus was that simply change was slow. So what can organizations do to encourage greater sustainability among their customers?

In Singapore, a DBS Consumer Sustainability Survey, conducted in July 2021 with over 1,000 Singapore residents aged 18 and above, revealed that 93% of Singaporeans were aware that their activities contributed to carbon emissions, and 73% were willing to change their lifestyles, but only if it was convenient for them. Simply put, they needed an everyday product that would easily allow them to live more sustainably.

These insights inspired Sourabh Sharma, Regional Head of DBS Digibank Apps, to create LiveBetter, a one-stop digital platform with green products and services, to help customers accelerate their sustainability journeys.

Sourabh pitched the idea to his then-boss, who quickly assembled a team of product managers and designers to work on the initial ideation and mockups, which were presented to multiple senior stakeholders.

A few months later, the LiveBetter platform was launched in October 2021.

Image by DBS Consumer Banking Group, Digital Banking

LiveBetter: A new digital product to build a better world with our customers

The premise of the idea is simple: to empower DBS’ 10 million everyday banking customers to take a variety of actions — such as contributing to eco-friendly causes, investing in green funds, and offsetting one’s carbon footprint with the purchase of carbon credits.

Recounting the initial phases of the platform development, Sourabh recalled the positive reception and demanded for DBS’ green solutions that had just launched, which indicated consumers’ willingness to opt for sustainable products.

Among these solutions were three standout products that recorded significant adoption. First was the premiere of the lowest rate for a green renovation plan in Singapore, launched in April 2021. In the same year, DBS was also the first bank to launch the Green Car Loan for all-electric and hybrid cars at 1.68% pa and Introduce eco-friendly cards made from 85.5% plastic.

Tapping into the lifestyles of the next generation of consumers

The first step to creating LiveBetter was to place sustainability front and center in the DBS Digibank app. In November 2021, customers were greeted by new sustainability icons in their apps, that served as a visual reminder to access the latest green products and solutions on the platform. Green features included:

Know Better

Bite-sized content on the platform offering information on climate change, sustainability tips and recommended actions for customers to take. The team was inspired by the growing popularity of vertical bite-sized content commonly found on social media, and implemented the format for easy consumption and retention.

Give Better

LiveBetter also featured information on local environment and sustainability organizations and provided a way for customers to donate to causes. LiveBetter partnered 15 leading charities and social enterprises including The Food Bank Singapore, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Mandai Nature Fund, prominent names in the fields of sustainability and environmental preservation.

Image by DBS Consumer Banking Group, Digital Banking

Sustainable finance for today and tomorrow

Today, LiveBetter has engaged more than 200,000 customers, with the most popular product being “Invest Better”. More than SGD 6 million has been invested in just two green funds.

Sourabh says the team is just getting started.

Asked what he’s most excited about, Sourabh pointed to the upcoming feature that enables customers to offset their carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits. He takes pride in being one of the first banks to provide this service to consumers in Asia across all spendings.

The team will also be launching a carbon calculator so customers track their carbon footprint based on the amount spent with DBS credit or debit cards. It aims to move customers towards conscious spending habits and choosing more environmentally sustainable options.

LiveBetter is one way DBS is embedding sustainability into its business. Responding to a question on how innovators can be sustainable, Sourabh suggested product builders create modular products that are long-lasting. Durable and scalable solutions allow for faster app development and maintenance, reducing the costs of software ownership when new features are added in the future.

“Consumers form a bond with products that are enduring and develop a deep sense of respect for that brand. All this pays off in the long run as you build a loyal customer base that continues to buy other products because they know they can trust you with providing the best quality.”

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