UOB Malaysia Launches Sustainability Accelerator Programme for SMEs to Promote Sustainable Practices

UOB Malaysia has launched the Jom Transform – Sustainability Accelerator Programme (JT-SAP) to empower SMEs with knowledge about sustainability and facilitate their shift to a low-carbon economy. The program includes a three-day workshop, and it’s part of UOB’s efforts to address the challenges that prevent many businesses in Malaysia from implementing sustainability practices.

18 October 2023 – United Overseas Bank (UOB) Malaysia has introduced the “Jom Transform – Sustainability Accelerator Programme (JT-SAP),” a pioneering initiative aimed at equipping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with the essential knowledge required to embrace sustainable practices and expedite their transition towards a low-carbon economy.

UOB Malaysia, in an official statement, revealed that the inaugural JT-SAP assembles more than 150 SMEs and industry associations for a comprehensive three-day workshop. Participants will engage in a learning experience encompassing international case studies, essential sustainability trends, solutions, and invaluable insights. These insights are intended to empower SMEs, enabling them to future-proof their operations, enhance their competitiveness, and contribute to the collective sustainability goals.

The launch ceremony of the JT-SAP took place at UOB’s corporate headquarters in UOB Plaza 1, Kuala Lumpur, and was inaugurated by Liew Chin Tong, the Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry Malaysia.

UOB highlighted the results of its UOB Business Outlook Study 2023, revealing that 84% of businesses in Malaysia acknowledge the importance of sustainability. However, merely 37% of these businesses have initiated the incorporation of sustainability practices within their organizational framework.

The study identified various challenges impeding the implementation of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices. These include a lack of adequate knowledge, initial financial constraints, and insufficient support.

UOB Malaysia’s CEO, Ng Wei Wei, emphasized the significance of SMEs, constituting approximately 98% of businesses in Malaysia, joining the sustainability movement. She noted that this step is pivotal for Malaysia’s endeavor to achieve its net-zero ambitions.

In conjunction with the JT-SAP, UOB Malaysia has launched the “UOB Sustainability Compass.” Developed in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), this compass is designed to assist local SMEs in overcoming inertia and embarking on their sustainability journey.

The UOB Sustainability Compass report offers a roadmap that identifies the various phases SMEs need to traverse in order to embrace sustainability. It educates businesses on pertinent regulations, standards, and certifications relevant to their specific sectors, while also suggesting sustainable financing solutions to catalyze their sustainability initiatives.

Beh Wee Khee, the Managing Director and Country Head of Commercial Banking at UOB Malaysia, recognized that many SMEs understand the importance of transitioning their practices to reduce carbon emissions. However, they often require more support to initiate their green journey. With the UOB Sustainability Compass, UOB aims to provide guidance to these businesses, facilitating their transition towards sustainability by assisting them in overcoming initial hurdles. – ref: The Star

Author: Terry KS

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