Forest Interactive Commits To Deliver Sustainable And Inclusive Future

Forest Interactive, CEO, Johary Mustapha Speaking at the Entrepreneurs Summit

Forest Interactive Sdn Bhd’s Founder and CEO, Johary Mustapha, recently stood as the sole Malaysian representative at the prestigious UN-Business Leadership Dialogue. Held during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this invite-only gathering, on January 16, 2024, marked a pivotal occasion for Forest Interactive and Malaysia alike.

Known as a telecommunications platform provider renowned for its innovative solutions, the company boasts a remarkable presence across the globe, operating in over 30 countries with nine physical regional offices. Since its inception in 2006, the company has continually delivered cutting-edge and revenue-generating solutions to more than 90 mobile operators worldwide.

The company’s participation in the UN-Business Leadership Dialogue underscored its dedication to shaping the agenda for the forthcoming 2024 UN Summit of the Future. Covering crucial topics ranging from climate transition to gender equality and sustainable finance, this invite-only dialogue brought together influential leaders to drive meaningful discussions and chart a course towards a more sustainable future.

Moreover, the company’s engagement extends beyond mere participation in influential dialogues; the company has recently joined the UN Global Compact Forward Faster initiative. This initiative calls upon business leaders worldwide to take tangible and ambitious action towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Speaking to BusinessToday exclusively, Johary emphasised the company’s unwavering commitment in their journey to create a more sustainable and inclusive future.

Driving Change and Championing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Workplace
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are three closely linked values held by many organisations that are working to be supportive of different groups of individuals, including people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations.

In the company’s effort to drive change and championing diversity, equity and inclusion, it practices fair hiring process by leveraging platforms like LinkedIn Learning and Udemy. It empowers its workforce with a diverse skill set, aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and emphasising its role in driving positive social change.

The company also implemented innovative policies at their workplace, including a work-from-anywhere (WFA) approach and flexible arrangements for new mothers, underscore its commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive work environment. Moreover, the company’s proactive stance against harassment and discrimination, exemplified by initiatives like the #ItEndsNow campaign and participation in external programs, further solidifies its dedication to supporting equal opportunities for women and promoting their participation in leadership roles.

Forest Interactive’s Solution for SDG Progress
The SDG Progress Report released earlier this year by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, showed that just 15 percent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets are on track, progress on 48 percent is weak and insufficient, and progress has stalled or gone into reverse on 37 percent of the SDGs.

The company responded by demonstrating a proactive and comprehensive approach to driving innovation and fostering positive change. Embracing the UN Global Compact Forward Faster Initiative, the company commits itself to a multifaceted strategy aimed at accelerating progress across all SDGs.

Central to this strategy is the company’s unwavering dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), which is evident in its transparent reporting on progress and proactive measures to address workplace challenges. By implementing initiatives such as training sessions and anti-harassment campaigns, they are achieving the initiative’s targets and also able to foster an inclusive work environment.

Moreover, the company’s embrace of innovative policies like flexible work arrangements underscores its commitment to adaptability and inclusivity. Through collaborative efforts with external organisations, the company extends the impact of its DEI initiatives beyond its organsational boundaries, contributing to broader social responsibility.

Johary Mustapha Speaking at the Entrepreneurs Summit

Key Takeaways from the WEF in Davos, Switzerland
At the UN-Business Leadership Dialogue, critical areas such as climate transition, gender equality, sustainable finance, water resilience, living wage, and food systems were extensively discussed. The capitalised on this platform to network with global leaders and learn from major corporations like IKEA and Schneider.

Particularly enlightening were discussions on the future of sustainable business, emphasising regeneration practices that contribute to ecosystem and community well-being. Moreover, insights into the impact of the generative AI revolution on sustainable employment opened new avenues for the company.

Emphasis on practical implementation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles aligned seamlessly with the company’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Mitigating Challenges in Adopting Sustainability Principles
The company is actively addressing the major challenges faced by Malaysian companies in adopting sustainability principles through a multifaceted approach. One key strategy involves implementing education and training programs both internally and externally to raise awareness about sustainability principles among employees and partners.

Additionally, the company allocates resources to invest in sustainable technologies and practices, including eco-friendly technologies and energy-efficient systems, to minimise its environmental impact. The company also fosters strategic partnerships with industry partners, NGOs, and government bodies to stay informed about evolving sustainability regulations and best practices, enabling knowledge sharing and resource pooling for mutual sustainability goals.

By incorporating sustainability into its business strategy, the company aims to contribute positively to the broader goal of creating a sustainable and responsible business environment in Malaysia. Moreover, the company leverages initiatives like the UNGC’s Forward Faster Initiative to address sustainability challenges for SMEs through structured frameworks, facilitating public commitments, annual reporting, and collaboration within a global network.

Importance of Adopting Sustainability Principles for Malaysian SMEs
The adoption of sustainability principles is becoming increasingly imperative for Malaysian SMEs, not only to stay competitive in the global market but also to meet evolving consumer expectations and regulatory requirements. Johary emphasised that embracing sustainability offers SMEs numerous benefits, including enhanced market access, cost savings, and improved operational efficiency.

To encourage adoption, the Malaysian government has introduced various incentives and support measures, such as tax incentives and financing facilities, aimed at facilitating the transition towards eco-friendly practices. Additionally, prioritising sustainability can also attract and retain talent, particularly among socially conscious younger generations.

However, failure to embrace sustainability may result in market exclusion, brand damage, increased costs, and regulatory risks, highlighting the importance of proactive adoption to ensure the long-term viability and competitiveness of Malaysian SMEs while contributing positively to social and environmental well-being.

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