Malaysia Advances Science-Based Targets For Corporate Sustainability

Malaysia’s Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, delivered the opening keynote address at the SBTi Symposium 2023 organised by UN Global Compact Network Malaysia and Brunei.

“The government recognises that the private sector is a key player in our national agenda, including in reducing carbon emissions and developing innovative solutions to combat climate change. After all, commerce cannot continue if there is no future should we fail to protect the environment—and most companies worldwide now recognise this.

“It is incumbent upon businesses therefore, to actively engage with stakeholders, surmount obstacles, and seize opportunities that expedite climate action,” said Nik Nazmi.

“The commitment to SBTi, should by no means be viewed as an imposition or burden to your current business operations. Rather, I urge you to position it as a strategic move towards fostering business resilience and creating long-term value,” Nik Nazmi added.

Themed ‘An Evidence-based Blueprint for Climate Action,’ SBTi Symposium 2023 aimed to enhance awareness and knowledge about the significance of science-based targets in establishing sustainability goals and shaping business strategies. 

Building on the success of its inaugural event, the SBTi Symposium 2023, now in its second year, brought together 300 Malaysian business leaders and global climate experts at the in person event held at the Monash University Malaysia Campus to discuss how companies can leverage science-based targets to accelerate their Net Zero journey and support Malaysia’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is the leading standard-setter and certification body for ambitious corporate climate action. SBTi aligns targets with the latest climate science, and develops guidance and robust standards for companies and financial institutions to set bold decarbonisation targets. By setting science-based targets, companies commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the urgency of climate change. 

This year’s symposium provided insights on how the adoption of science-based targets equips Malaysian businesses with the tools to make strategic decisions towards significantly diminishing their environmental impact. This practice, while being instrumental in promoting planetary health, simultaneously uncovers an array of opportunities for sustainable growth and profitability, demonstrating the synergy of ecological responsibility and business success.

“Embracing the SBTi is a game-changer for Malaysian companies. By aligning their sustainability efforts with the global standard, companies will gain a significant competitive advantage that drives long-term business resilience and growth,” said Faroze Nadar, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Network Malaysia and Brunei (UNGCMYB).

“Through this year’s SBTi Symposium, our goal is to support more companies to raise their sustainability ambition by setting science-based targets that can support Malaysia’s transition to a low carbon economy,” Mr Nadar added.

Joining Malaysia’s Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, were esteemed speakers including:

  • Adelene Anthony Sinniah, Head of Sustainability, Axiata Group Berhad
  • Shane Guha Thakurta, General Manager, Investor Relations & Sustainability, IJM Corporation Berhad
  • Shahril Azuar Jimin, Chief Sustainability Officer, Maybank
  • Datuk Ir. Dr. Dennis Ganendra, Chief Executive Officer, Minconsult Sdn. Bhd.
  • Wan Sayuti Wan Hussin, General Manager (Strategy, Policy & Regulation), Corporate Sustainability, PETRONAS
  • Mohamad Irwan Aman, General Manager, Sustainability, Sarawak Energy Berhad
  • Rashyid Redza Anwarudin, Chief Sustainability Officer, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad
  • Jens Radschinski, Regional Expert for Art. 6 and Carbon Pricing, UNFCCC/RCC Asia Pacific
  • Dedy Mahardika, SBT Engagement Manager, SEA & Oceania, CDP

At the symposium, SBTi expert, Dedy Mahardika, SBT Engagement Manager for SEA & Oceania at CDP, shared best practices for incorporating science-based targets into business strategies and shed light on SBTi adoption and progress in Malaysia.

“​​We’re pleased to have joined the SBTi Symposium to support UNGCMYB’s goal of raising sustainability ambition and helping companies in their transition. Setting ambitious corporate climate targets is a journey. Beyond addressing climate change and environmental issues, companies with science-based targets have been proven to reap business benefits,” said Dedy Mahardika, SBT Engagement Manager for SEA & Oceania at CDP.

Globally, over 5,000 companies and financial institutions have made commitments to take action through the SBTi. As of 26 May 2023, 18 Malaysian businesses have joined this initiative, and among these companies, 11 have pledged to establish net-zero targets.

The symposium was supported by Monash University Malaysia serving as the venue sponsor as well as IJM Corporation Berhad, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad, Minconsult Sdn. Bhd. and Sarawak Energy Berhad. 

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