Email This Print ThisSustainability Report

We are pleased to present TeleChoice International Limited's ("TeleChoice") first annual Sustainability Report to share our environmental, social and governance ("ESG") performance. The report covers TeleChoice's ESG performance for a three-year period from 1st January 2015 to 31st December 2017. TeleChoice plans to publish its sustainability report annually combined with the Annual Report.

This report covers ESG performance for our business operations in Singapore and excludes overseas operations unless stated otherwise. We plan to include our offshore operations progressively in the coming years as we gain experience in sustainability reporting.

Reporting Framework
This report has been prepared in accordance with the latest GRI standards: Core option. The report also complies with the SGX-ST Listing Rules (711A and 711B) and the SGX Sustainability Reporting Guide.

We have applied the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard for measuring and reporting our carbon emissions footprint.

Reporting Process
The TeleChoice Board of Directors has the overall responsibility for directing the management in the development of sustainability strategy and identifying material ESG factors to be included in the Sustainability Report.

The Board has ultimate responsibility for this report, including its due compliance with the SGX-ST guidelines on corporate governance and sustainability reporting. Apart from determining the material ESG factors as set out in this report, the Board also determines the Company's response to the attendant risks and opportunities.

The Board is assisted by the sustainability management committee, headed by the president and includes senior members of management representing significant functions. The Committee provided direction concerning the report content, priorities of issues, reporting scope and boundary.

The Committee, in turn, is assisted by a sustainability reporting project team, headed by our vice president of Business Development. The project team has the responsibility for collecting, verifying and providing ESG performance data.

Report Content and Quality
In determining the content of this report, we have considered the significance of material ESG topics, concerns and expectations of our stakeholders, ESG risks and opportunities and general sustainability trends in our sector.

We have used the GRI Standards defining report quality by applying the principles of accuracy, balance, clarity, comparability, reliability and timeliness.

Data provided in the report has been mainly derived from official records to ensure reasonable accuracy and consistency. We have used internationally accepted measurement units for presenting ESG data. Financial figures are in Singaporean dollars unless specified otherwise.

Restatements
As this is our first sustainability report, restatements do not apply.

Assurance
We did not obtain external assurance for this sustainability report. We have relied on internal verification mechanisms to ensure the accuracy of information. Our ESG performance data is reported in good faith and to the best of our knowledge. ESG data is verified using an internal mechanism and checks. Financial statements included in the Annual Report, however, have been audited by independent auditors.

Availability
This report is published as a part of our Annual Report and is available in printed version upon request as well as in PDF form for download on our website at www.telechoice.com.sg.

Feedback
We welcome stakeholders' views and questions regarding this report. Contact us at sustainability@telechoice.com.sg.

Our Stakeholders

We are committed to creating long-term value for all of our stakeholders.

We deal with a diverse range of stakeholders across our business segments. These include our customers, business partners, suppliers and contractors, investors, regulators and government agencies, communities and employees.

Our approach is to proactively engage with our primary stakeholders who may be impacted by our business operations or who have the potential to affect our business. We believe building trusted relationships with stakeholders is key to sustainable business growth. Through our business policies and strategies, we endeavour to create value for all stakeholders.

Our engagement approaches involve both formal and ongoing methods. Examples of our engagements include employee engagement survey, customer satisfaction surveys, and suggestion boxes. We also gain invaluable insights into our stakeholders' expectations and concerns through our routine interactions with them. We use these learnings to make informed management decisions.

A summary of our stakeholders and how we engage with them is presented below.

Chairman and President's Statement

TeleChoice remains committed to managing its environmental, social and governance ("ESG") impacts, risks and opportunities in a diligent manner.

The Singapore Exchange ("SGX") has introduced rules that require issuers to produce an annual sustainability report with effect from the financial year ending 31st December 2017 on 'comply or explain' basis. Complying with the SGX rules, this year we have published our first sustainability report prepared in accordance with the internationally recognised GRI Standards. The sustainability report, included in this Annual Report, provides information about our ESG performance. We will continue to integrate material ESG issues into our business processes to ensure long-term value creation for all stakeholders.

BERTIE CHENG
Chairman

VINCENT LIM
President

Engaging Associations
We actively engage with industry associations relevant to our business interests through memberships and by sharing our experience. Some of our association memberships include:

  • Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation
  • Singapore Computer Society
  • Singapore Business Federation

Material Factors

Our approach to sustainability centres on the management of the environmental, social and economic impacts of our business operations and their potential effect on our stakeholders. Our strategy is to manage our most significant sustainability impacts, risks and opportunities with an aim of creating long-term value for all stakeholders.

Materiality Methodology
We have identified the material ESG factors using the Global Reporting Initiative's GRI Standards for Sustainability Reporting which includes guidance for materiality analysis.

We have followed the following steps to arrive at the list of material factors for reporting:

  1. Identification: We identified sustainability issues that reflect our business' impact on the environment, society and economy and their significance to our stakeholders.
  2. Prioritisation: We shortlisted the issues that represent the most significant environmental, social and economic impacts of our operations.
  3. Validation: We considered the significance of our material impacts to stakeholders and how they might influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.
  4. Review: We seek feedback from stakeholders on this report to review our material topics for the next reporting cycle.

Materiality Assessment
The TeleChoice management team attended a Materiality Assessment and Stakeholder Mapping workshop, facilitated by an external sustainability consultant before the start of the reporting process.

Guided by the facilitator, the TeleChoice management team identified the material ESG factors based on their knowledge of respective business areas, potential impacts of TeleChoice Group's business operations, insights from their day to day engagement with a range of stakeholders and common challenges facing the info-communications and technology ("ICT") industry. The team also considered TeleChoice Group's long-established values and long-term business goals to align these with sustainability strategies.

We also examined sustainability reporting trends among local ICT and peer companies for benchmarking. Also, we consulted the SGX Sustainability Reporting Guide to complete the materiality assessment.

For this report, we did not engage external stakeholders explicitly to take their views on the identified ESG factors. However, the internal stakeholders including the senior management have used their experience of dealing with respective stakeholders and their understanding of stakeholder expectations and concerns in prioritising material factors for reporting.

A formal engagement with select groups of external stakeholders for the next report is under consideration.

Board Approval
The senior management extensively discussed the identified list of material factors and then presented to the Board. The Board reviewed and approved the material factors for sustainability reporting.

Presented below is a summary of our material factors and their boundary.

Sustainability Governance

At TeleChoice, the Board provides strategic direction for addressing sustainability impacts, risks and opportunities. The Board's Executive Committee ("EC") is responsible for reviewing and considering material Environmental, Social and Governance ("ESG") factors to support sustainable growth of the business. The EC also provides views and recommendations on sustainability strategies and sustainability reporting for the Board's review and approval. Responsibilities of the EC include determining and reviewing ESG targets and overseeing the management and monitoring of material ESG factors.

The Sustainability Management Committee ("SMC"), chaired by the president and represented by senior executives, is responsible for formulating and implementing sustainability strategies, for establishing targets, for reviewing ESG performance and for providing direction for the preparation of sustainability reports. The SMC is assisted by a sustainability reporting project coordinator.

A sustainability reporting project team is responsible for collecting, verifying and providing ESG performance data and information.

Board Statement
The Board of TeleChoice is responsible for considering sustainability issues as part of strategy formulation. The Board endorses the identification of the material Environmental, Social and Governance ("ESG") factors covered in this report. The Board also provides oversight of the management and monitoring of these material ESG factors, through regular reporting of the key performance indicators.

Awards and Recognitions

Our dedication to customer service, quality, efficiency and excellence has won the Group several accolades and recognitions over the years. Some of the more recent awards are listed here.

Received in 2017

  • Gold Medal Partner Award by Huawei (Global Partner Event, Jakarta)
  • Excellent Support Partner by Huawei
  • Certificate of recognition from Ericsson
  • Million Dollar Sales Award from Narada
  • Avaya Diamond Partner
  • IBM Platinum Business Partner
  • IBM Top Performing Business Partner (Power)
  • Lenovo Top Data Centre Group Value Added Partner for Year 2015/2016
  • Red Hat Strategic Products Partner of the Year
  • SolarWinds Significant Win (Asia),
  • Tech Data - Top Partner Contributor Award (Red Hat)
  • Tech Data - Top Partner Contributor Award (IBM Power Systems)
  • 32 retail staff awarded the Excellent Service Award from SPRING Singapore and Singapore Retailers Association (1 Star award, 15 Gold awards and 16 Silver awards)

Received in 2016

  • The Loyalty Award by Narada
  • Best Quality Award by Huawei
  • Best Project Manager Award by Huawei
  • Best Performance Partner for Nokia Telkomsel Project
  • Certificate of Appreciation by Telkomsel
  • Certificate of Recognition by Ericsson
  • StarHub Highest Sales Growth Award
  • StarHub Platinum Shop Top Sales (Mobile)
  • StarHub Platinum Shop Top Sales (E&S)
  • StarHub Best NPS 2016 Platinum Shop

The complete list of awards for prior years is available at www.telechoice.com.sg/awards.html.

Customers

TeleChoice adopts a customer-centric approach aimed at ensuring an excellent customer experience.

As a leading regional provider of distribution, fulfilment and retail managed services to major mobile device manufacturers and operators, it is critical for us to ensure excellent customer experience at our retail stores, call centres and other touch points. Our ability to serve customers efficiently is paramount in growing our business with brands that rely on us for serving their customers.

High-quality customer service is equally important for our enterprise customers to whom we offer Information and Communications Technology ("ICT") and Network Engineering services. Offering trusted and reliable solutions, and high standards of service support are at the core of our customercentric approach.

We have implemented stringent quality control measures across our businesses to enhance customer experience.

Ongoing engagement and seeking regular feedback are parts of our efforts to deliver superior customer service.

Customer Experience
We measure customer experience at our retail stores through the Net Promoter Score ("NPS") management tool. NPS allows us to measure our customers' overall perception of our service. Based on responses, NPS groups customers into three categories of Promoters (score 9-10), Passives (score 7-8) and Detractors (score 0-6). The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. A score of 9 to 10 indicates that a customer is highly likely to recommend a brand to their friends and family.

In 2017, the NPS for the Planet Retail stores improved to 9.15, up from 8.45 in the prior year reflecting higher customer experience. Each of the five Planet Platinum stores covered by NPS had a score of more than 9 for the year 2017.

Ensuring Quality Standards
We adopt the highest industry quality standards to provide exceptional customer service. Our quality policy aims for continuous improvement in our management processes. Our subsidiary S&I Systems Pte Ltd is an ISO9001:2015 Quality Management Systems certified company which allows it to perform at the highest level of our customers' expectations.

Managing Customer Experience Through Mystery Shopping
Our Planet EP stores participate in a third-party Mystery Shopping Programme ("MSP"). The programme enables us to enhance employees skills based on the service gaps identified through MSP.

Rewarding Employees for Service Quality
We have implemented recognition schemes to recognise employees for exceptional customer service. For example, Hooray programme at our Platinum stores provides rewards to employees for every customer compliment. At Planet stores, employees receive gift vouchers as rewards for customer compliments.

To inspire our store staff to aim for excellence and to identify service role models, we participate in Singapore's national Excellent Service Award, managed by six industry-led bodies.

Privacy and Data Protection
We are committed to protecting the privacy of our customers and employees in accordance with local laws and regulations where we operate our business.

In Singapore, we comply with the Personal Data Protection Act ("PDPA") that governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal data by all private organisations. We have designated individuals to be Data Protection Officers responsible for ensuring that the Group complies with the PDPA and have implemented a personal data protection policy.

Employees' data are handled, stored and where applicable, disposed of, with stringent access and security measures to ensure electronic and physical protection from unauthorised use. New employees have to read, understand and endorse after reading through the personal data protection policy.

There were no substantiated complaints concerning breaches of customer privacy or loss of data in the reported period.

Customer Compliments:

People

Our approach is to attract and retain the best talent, invest in the development of our people and ensure their well-being.

It is vital for us to develop a vibrant workplace where our people can look forward to personal development, career growth, job satisfaction and fulfilment. Our human resources policies keep employees' well-being at the centre. We promote mutual respect, trusted relationships, teamwork and open communication. We invest in our people through regular training and coaching to improve skills and productivity continuously.

Our focus is on attracting and retaining the best talent, promoting an inclusive workplace, employee development, employee engagement, and improving the well-being of our people. We regularly monitor our performance in these areas and periodically review our policies.

Employee Profile
We employed 380 full time employees as at the end of 2017. Permanent employees accounted for 85% of our workforce. The average age of our employees was 37 years.

Supporting Diversity
We respect diversity and are committed to promoting an inclusive workplace. Women represented 44% of full-time employees. The proportion of managerial roles held by women was 41%. Women accounted for 37% of the total Head of Departments ("HODs") positions.

Our workforce represents diverse age groups (see chart). We are proud of our racially diverse workforce which includes at least 11 nationalities.

In Singapore, we support the government's policy of rehiring retiring employees to keep them economically active. In 2017, we rehired three retiring employees including two female employees.

Hiring
Our goal is to attract and retain the best talent to serve our customers efficiently. Our policy is to hire based on merit and ability. In 2017, we recruited 105 new employees, 50 of them were women. Of the new hires, 56 were less than 30 years of age, 43 were in the age group of 30 to 50 years, and the remaining two were more than 50 years old.

Developing Talent
Talent management is a crucial strategy for us to retain, develop and manage the best people to support our business growth.

We have implemented a comprehensive talent management programme which includes succession planning and a talent review process. Our Talent Management Committee, consisting of the Group President, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Human Resource and the business division heads oversees the programme. The Committee meets twice a year for talent review.

Our Talent Management Framework identifies high potential employees within the organisation and provides them development opportunities in the areas of management and leadership. Development plans include special projects and assignments and additional responsibilities to prepare talents for higher roles.

Succession planning is an integral part of our talent management. We have put in place programmes to help build the succession pipeline.

Building Skills Through Training
Employee training and education is a crucial part of our people management. New employees attend an orientation programme to understand the organisation and its corporate governance. There are also check-in sessions with management to help in engagement and culture building. Employees have access to several ongoing opportunities for learning new skills. Employees can upskill through instructor-led training, online e-learning or on-the-job mentoring. Employees are kept up to date on learning resources through regular learning and development e-newsletters.

Common learning areas include product training, product certification and regulatory certification training, and supervisory and managerial skills training.

We organise Lunch and Learn sessions on supervisory and management skills for our current people managers. Topics include 'Effective Delegation', 'Having Difficult Conversations' and 'Motivation and Engagement'.

Our StarHub Platinum shop employees attend customer service training organised by StarHub. Each employee can enrol in three Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications ("WSQ") modules. Since the start of the programme in 2016, 58 retail employees have attended modules on 'Interact With Customers', 'Selling Products and Services' and 'Maintain Professional Image.'

Our employees deployed at the Samsung concept stores get opportunities to attend training programmes organised by Samsung.

In 2017, our average training hours per employee was 19.1 hours as compared with 25 hours per employee in the prior year. For the same period, our training expenditure per employee was $130.60.

Managing Performance
Through a comprehensive performance management programme, we enable our employees to meet their business and personal development goals consistently. Our performance management system covers all permanent employees. As part of the process, managers hold discussions with their staff at the beginning of the year to establish goals. A formal performance appraisal takes place at the end of the year. Managers are encouraged to have an ongoing discussion with their employees to review progress and provide coaching and guidance.

Engaging Employees
Keeping our employees engaged and motivated is a key priority. TeleChoice embarked on its first Employee Engagement Survey in 2015. The Employee Engagement Survey further reinforced TeleChoice's efforts in building an organisation where employees stay engaged, empowered and work towards excellence.

The first voluntary survey saw a healthy participation rate of 90%. The survey findings were reviewed by management and employee driven focus group discussions were conducted to obtain more insights. Action plans were crafted based on these results.

These follow-up activities spurred new initiatives such as more regular feedback sessions with employees, improving existing policies to cater for more team bonding and work-life harmony activities such as 'Dine with Family Day'. There are also more open conversations conducted between employees and supervisors relating to work tasks and development. In addition, the Group President has started sending out regular email messages to all employees to enhance direct communication starting from 2017. The Group President also makes periodic visits to retail outlets to speak with employees.

The second survey was administered in Oct 2017. The participation rate increased to 94% and the organisation registered a 16% increase in overall engagement score, on par with Singapore's Norm.

Providing Benefits
We offer competitive wages and benefits to our employees based on compensation benchmarking study conducted by a third-party. Our full-time staff members are eligible for several employment benefits which are not available to temporary or part-time employees. Some of the benefits include:

  1. Specialist Consultation and Treatment claim;
  2. Flexi-Benefit with limit for Optical, General Medical, Dental, Mobile Phone and Health Screening;
  3. Bonding Funds;
  4. Marriage/Family Care/Examination Leave(s);
  5. Executive Health Screening for employees age 35 years old and above;
  6. Hospitalisation & Surgery/Personal Accident/Term Life Insurance

Human Rights
We support internationally accepted human rights principles and local regulations.

Our policies ban discrimination, forced labour and child labour. There were no incidents of discrimination, forced labour or child labour in the reporting period.

Freedom of Association
We respect our employees' right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. We work closely with the Singapore Industrial & Services Employees Union ("SISEU"). As at the end of 2017, 87 employees were active members of SISEU.

We have signed a memorandum of understanding with SISEU to ensure the well-being of our employees.

Caring for Employees
We have implemented several measures to ensure the wellbeing of our employees. A Fruit Day is observed once a month, and fresh fruits are provided to employees to encourage a healthy diet. We offer on-site health screening for early detection of diseases such as hypertension, heart ailments, diabetes and cancer.

To strengthen cultural bonding, we give hongbao to our employees to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Some of the examples of other fun initiatives include a year-end party, periodic dinner and dance event and movie nights. Also, we observed early release from work for the eves of the four major public holidays in Singapore.

Ensuring Safety and Health
Ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees is a top priority for us. Safety is a material topic for our ICT and Engineering divisions where we pay particular attention to proactive safety measures to proactively manage potential safety concerns. We have implemented the necessary measures to promote safe work practices. We assess health and safety risks in our operations and take preventive measures. We regularly monitor and review health and safety performance.

TeleChoice has obtained bizSAFE Level 3 certification in Singapore from the Workplace Safety and Health Council which reflects our commitment to ensuring safety at workplace.

In 2017, there were no recordable incidents of fatalities, injuries, and occupational diseases.

OUR PEOPLE PERFORMANCE

Environment

We are committed to minimising the environmental impact of our business through resource efficiency and conservation.

Electricity, fuel and waste are our primary environmental impacts. The retail stores we manage for our customers use power for lighting and air-conditioning. Vehicles deployed for our engineering and maintenance services consume fuel. We also generate waste mostly from packaging in our stores and warehouses. Our environmental efforts are focused on energy efficiency, reducing and recycling waste and using resources efficiently.

Energy
We measure and monitor our energy consumption, and calculate associated carbon emissions to manage our footprint. In 2017, our electricity consumption intensity was 203 kWh/m2 as against 212 kWh/m2 in the year before.

Greenhouse Gas ("GHG") Emissions
We monitor Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions from the use of electricity and fuel consumption. Our combined Carbon Dioxide emission from fuel consumption (scope-1) and purchased electricity (scope-2) in 2017 was 250 tonnes as compared with 245 tonnes in 2016. The slight increase in emission was on account of higher petrol consumption. Carbon Dioxide emission from purchased electricity accounted for 70 per cent of our total emission.

We have started switching to energy efficient LED lighting in our stores in a progressive manner. We use store renovations as an opportunity to replace older lights with LED lights. We have limited, or no control over air-conditioning in our retail operations as we lease store space in commercial buildings with centralised systems controlled by landlords.

We encourage our employees through awareness campaigns to minimise the non-essential lighting in the office and to make efforts to conserve water and recycle paper.

Waste Management
Our approach is to make efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. In our retail business, paper, plastic and wooden pallets are the main types of waste generated. Our electronic waste (e-waste) consists of decommissioned office equipment such as personal computers, notebooks, monitors and servers.

In our Platinum stores, we have discontinued using paper bags to reduce our environmental footprint. Instead, we now provide re-usable non-woven shopping bags. We also give customers a choice of electronic receipts to save paper. In our offices, we encourage double-sided printing to optimise the use of paper.

We dispose of our waste through licensed waste management contractors.

Compliance
We are committed to complying with applicable environmental regulations. There were no incidents of non-compliance with environmental laws in the reported period.

OUR ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE

Community

We are committed to be a responsible corporate citizen and contribute to community development.

We started a social outreach programme with the active involvement of employee volunteers in 2015 when we partnered with Dignity Kitchen. Dignity Kitchen is Singapore's first hawker training school for disabled and disadvantaged people. "Lunch Treat For The Elderly" is a social outreach programme run by Dignity Kitchen. Under the initiative, Dignity Kitchen provides city tours for the elderly and the disadvantaged. At the end of the tour, they are treated to a luncheon at Dignity Kitchen. Since 2015, TeleChoice has hosted more than 800 elderly for their lunches, together with active ageing activities such as Karaoke Competitions.

In 2017, in our third-year partnership with Dignity Kitchen, we donated $10,000 in support of the Lunch Treats for the Elderly programme. This year's activities also included a snow skin mooncake-making session for the elderly led by a disadvantaged hawker from Dignity Kitchen. Over 30 staff volunteers from TeleChoice and its parent company, Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte Ltd, participated enthusiastically alongside the elderly to churn out snow skin mooncakes.

In 2017, through TeleChoice's subsidiary, S & I Systems Pte Ltd, we have also participated in the SGX Bull Charge Charity Run. Beneficiaries of the run include AWWA, Autism Association Singapore, Fei Yue Community Services, Shared Services for Charities and Community Chest.

Economic Performance

We are committed to creating sustainable value for our shareholders and stakeholders.

For a detailed description of our financial performance, please refer to the Group Financial Review section of the 2017 Annual Report. A summarised version of the economic value generated is presented here in line with the GRI Standards.

Financial Assistance from Government
We received $291,000 in 2017 and $563,000 in 2016 under the wage credit scheme and temporary employment credit in Singapore.

Anti-corruption
Our corporate governance policies cover areas of Fraud, Whistle-Blowing, Document Retention, and Conflict of Interest to facilitate the development of controls that will aid in the detection and prevention of any fraud, misappropriations and other irregularities.

All new employees are required to read, understand and be assessed on these policies during the orientation programme.

There were no confirmed incidents of corruption in the reported period.

Compliance
The Group is committed to complying with applicable laws where we operate. We regularly review the local legislation to keep our policies updated. There were no incidents of violations of social or economic regulations in the reported period.

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