(From left) SAMENTA Honorary Secretary General Yeoh Seng Hooi, SME Corp. Malaysia Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mohd Rithaudden Makip, SAMENTA National President Datuk William Ng, Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development (MECD) Deputy Secretary General (Policy and Monitoring) Noor Afifah Abdul Razak, Alliance Bank Group Chief Strategy, Marketing & Business Development Officer Dr. Aaron Sum Wei Wern, SAMENTA Northern Region Deputy Chairman Dr. Celvin Tan and Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association SME Committee Chairman J. Philip Vincent at the roundtable event in Penang.

Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad and SME Corporation Malaysia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding as a joint effort to assist MSMEs in adopting environment, social, and governance (ESG) practices through a combination of relevant financing and non-financing solutions.

The MoU marks the commitment by both parties to continue working together to develop and provide sectoral-focused ESG guides, practical tools, as well as corresponding green financing to assist MSMEs in the ESG adoption journey.

Both organisations will also advocate for sustainable practices through market surveys, industry focus groups, and panel discussions in order to garner grassroots input and feedback from MSMEs themselves.

The partnership kicked off with a roundtable discussion jointly organised by Alliance Bank and SME Corp. Malaysia in Penang where representatives from 19 business and industry associations, federations as well as government agencies came together to share their views on the ESG landscape in Malaysia and how it is affecting businesses locally.

The three main themes that emerged from the discussion were firstly, the importance of setting basic, uniform ESG standards to help MSMEs get started. The second major theme was the need for a definitive source or single platform for all ESG-related resources including toolkits, guides and playbooks which will help prevent confusion among businesses looking to start their ESG journey while the third theme circles around creating more targeted incentives for SMEs as well as consumers to adopt sustainable practices.

The insights from the roundtable will also form valuable input to the upcoming ESG Symposium co-organised by Alliance Bank, UN Global Compact Network Malaysia & Brunei (UNGCMYB) and Monash University later this month. This will then lead to the creation of ESG sectoral playbooks that will enable faster learning and adoption of ESG practices by SMEs.

Earlier this year, Alliance Bank and SME Corp. Malaysia, along with UNGCMYB had also jointly commissioned the ESG survey report, “ESG Insights from Malaysian SMEs: Building A Better Future Together” which found three out of five SMEs here believe embedding ESG practices in their businesses helps them create long-term value, builds a stronger workforce and increases their business opportunities which was reflected in the roundtable findings.

“The implementation of PKSlestari, an initiative by SME Corp. Malaysia aims to encourage and accelerate the adoption of ESG practices among MSMEs by developing an SME sustainability ecosystem. Understandably, it will take some time for SMEs to acquire the relevant knowledge and expertise to drive sustainability in their operations.

“Nevertheless, SMEs should start their efforts in this direction by taking small but sure steps to help chart their journey towards a sustainable industry, to foster long-term value creation for the companies and their stakeholders,” said Rizal bin Nainy, CEO of SME Corp. Malaysia.

“We have always championed the needs of SMEs and see an urgent need for them to start transitioning to become more ESG-oriented in order to build business resilience as well as capture growth opportunities.

“Our approach is built around the 3As concept which stands for Advocacy, Advice and Answers – the three pillars that aims to provide a complete ecosystem to help our customers build their own ESG roadmap and embark on it using the relevant resources provided. Driving the first pillar of our ecosystem, Advocacy, are the awareness initiatives and thought leadership events we carry out together with our strategic partners such as SME Corp. Malaysia.

“Alliance Bank is honoured to be working alongside partners who share our values and together, help advance sustainability particularly among the SMEs who are the backbone of our nation,” said group CEO of Alliance Bank Kellee Kam, adding that SMEs who embark on ESG earlier than their peers stand to gain from the growing number of corporates and multinationals looking to work with suppliers who align with their sustainability values.

For more information on Alliance Bank’s sustainability purpose, please visit https://www.alliancebank.com.my/corporate/sustainability.


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