Loretta Teo & Eliza Boecker
Asia CSR Team - Azqore
Eliza & Loretta’s introduction

A lawyer by training, Eliza has been in Private banking since 1996, with roles ranging from Relationship Management to Head of Strategy for PWM Latin America at Deutsche Bank New York, and a member of the Management Committee. Eliza was also the Business Manager and Head of Business Compliance for the International markets at Bank of Singapore, before joining Azqore as COO for Asia. Eliza has worked in Kuala Lumpur, Frankfurt, New York and Singapore and in addition lived in London, Tokyo and Hong Kong, an experience that has shaped her outlook and made her very much a global citizen.

A banking operations professional, Loretta has had experience across various firms, like UBS and Nomura, before joining Credit Agricole 5 years ago.  Currently Azqore’s Head of Asia Operations, she has worked in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and even had a short stint in India.  These experiences have opened her eyes to various cultures and cuisines.  

Both Eliza and Loretta kicked off the Azqore Asia CSR initiative in 2020 and have never looked back since.

How and when did you start Azqore Asia CSR?

Loretta and I were approached to sponsor the initiative in November 2020 and were able to put together a great, enthusiastic team as well as get approval for our planned initiatives for the next year within 2-3 weeks. We were able to officially kick off in Dec 2020.  

Azqore SA is part of the Credit Agricole Indosuez Wealth Management group. The Credit Agricole SA Group has a strong vision and strategy for CSR, with the aim of incorporating this commitment to its activities, business and processes.  Within Azqore, we want to also align ourselves to this goal.  

In line with the Group’s CSR strategy to “Be an actor of a sustainable society”, our team has defined our core objectives being:  

  • creating awareness internally, 
  • creating opportunities internally and externally to allow our staff to get involved and contribute, 
  • and finally, to engage stakeholders, clients and partners to move our firm towards becoming a more sustainable business. 
Which challenges did you face at the beginning? How did you overcome them?

The initial challenge was to come up with a plan and a team, within a very short time, and to have it be able to make a difference very quickly.  

Since CSR is new to the company, we decided to focus on creating awareness, within Azqore, about sustainability and climate issues and educating our staff on recycling and other waste issues (e-waste, cyber waste etc).  We did this by organising fun activities (to encourage greater participation) that would expose them to the issues we face.  We organised a kayak coastal clean-up which was fun, active and exposed participants to the amount of plastic and other waste in the waters and coastal areas around Singapore.  We also organised a fresh food truck, which aims to reduce food waste by sorting and selecting slightly bruised or visually less attractive fruit and vegetables that are good for consumption, and delivering these to beneficiaries in need.  

Azqore Fresh Food Truck

At the same time, we focused on the local community, with COVID-19 affecting the livelihoods of many in the community, and encouraged buying local, where we can, to support some of these communities.  We created activities that can benefit these communities, for e.g. festive giving to an elderly care home during Christmas and Chinese New Year 2020/2021, involving the whole office, and supporting a group of women home bakers who started their business during COVID-19 to supplement their household incomes during Women’s Day.  

We believe with awareness and understanding, our staff will be more willing to participate, contribute and do their bit for sustainability, the community and the environment.

You have created a team and quick-wins in just 2 months, well done! What would you say were your Keys of Success?

The key to our success is really the enthusiasm, high conviction, creativity and energy of our team, who are all volunteers, and fully committed to the sustainability and community causes we support, be it for Azqore, for our local community,  or for Singapore and beyond.

Apart from the great team of volunteers, the strategy to focus on “fun” activities to create awareness worked, as our activities tend to be oversubscribed, due to restricted numbers during the various Phases of COVID-19 in Singapore.  

We were keen to be able to track and report on progress, to encourage participation and support, e.g. on our recycling efforts and managed to source a company that collects and weighs our various types of waste from our premises, for a fee.  They also provide a dashboard to enable us to track our progress.  This engagement reduces the risk of contamination of our recycled waste as it is not mixed together with other types of waste in a central waste repository, which caters to the entire building.  

We are organised and yet flexible, ensuring that we planned ahead and yet be ready to adapt our schedules to the situation, especially in these unprecedented times.  We already had a calendar of planned events for 2021 at the start of the year, some of which we were not able to do in the past month due to the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), where staff were required to WFH as a default.  

In order to keep the momentum, we tried to keep the communication channels alive and still maintain the “fun” element, producing crosswords and word searches around CSR topics.  We also encouraged staff to recycle at home and bring their own reusable bags and containers when shopping or buying prepared food. 

We have also benefited from being part of the Credit Agricole Indosuez Wealth Management group, and are able to tap on their experiences, expertise, and platforms to carry out our activities.

What have you discovered in these past months?

These past few months have exposed us even further to the extent of the environmental/climate issues and made us more aware of these issues in our daily lives, whether at the office or at home.

People may find the concept of “saving the environment” daunting.   To be personally responsible for saving the planet may seem like an unachievable goal.  Therefore, our activities aim at breaking down the tasks into manageable actions.  Our objective is to highlight that every small action counts and everyone can play a part.

What are your Next Steps?

Sustainability is a broad and wide topic, with so much more to learn and discover. While we are proud of what has been achieved to date, there is still work to do to continue to engage staff and drive home the CSR message.  Ultimately, the aim is to make CSR a habit and an integral part of our daily lives.

Another focus is to obtain certifications to validate our efforts and ensure we remain on the right track and encourage more people, our vendors, clients and partners, to join us in our CSR effort.

What are you most proud of?

We are proud of what we have been able to achieve in a relatively short period of time. 

What would be your top 3 pieces of advice to The Matcha Initiative (TMI) users?
  1. Ensure your objectives and timelines are clear.
  2. Organise activities that meet or bring you towards those objectives
  3. Surround yourself with an energetic, creative and committed team.
How could you help The Matcha Initiative (TMI) users?

We are happy to share our experience and best practices.

Eliza & Loretta kindly accept to answer your questions.
If you need additional insights, you can send them a message.