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KUALA LUMPUR: Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of businesses in Malaysia think they have a role to play in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals SDG), said HSBC’s global survey. 

This is considerably above the global (63 per cent) and Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) average (67 per cent), according to the survey. 

"Industry, innovation and infrastructure, good health and well-being and quality education are seen as the most relevant goals to their businesses by Malaysian businesses who feel they have a role to play in delivering UN’s SDGs,” it said.

The survey reveals that sustainability sits high on the agenda for Malaysian businesses.

“The three main outcomes of implementing sustainability initiatives for Malaysian businesses will be improvement of operational efficiency, transparency and traceability as well as growth in sales. 

Notably, Malaysia as a market, shows a higher preference than any other market for transparency and traceability as motivators for implementing sustainability initiatives,” said the survey.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, HSBC Malaysia head-commercial banking Andrew Sill said businesses are realising the value of implementing initiatives to enhance sustainability. 

“Transitioning to become more sustainable is not only beneficial for the environment and for society, but for the bottom line too. 

"Sustainable finance is a strategically important proposition for us at HSBC where we commit to lead and assist our clients in the transition to a low carbon and sustainable economy,” said Sill. 

Meanwhile, HSBC Amanah Malaysia executive officer Arsalaan Ahmed said Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and sustainability are certainly becoming increasingly important in Malaysia. 

“The macro factors that drive this trend are partly social, a consciousness among the Malaysian businesses around the importance of impact to the communities we serve and the environment we live in. The findings from the survey support this trend. 

"We believe that awareness and a preference towards adopting sustainability initiatives amongst Malaysian businesses will increase going forward,” Arsalaan said.

According to the survey, nearly half (47 per cent) of businesses expect to invest more in technology, innovation and infrastructure to improve sustainable production over the next five years, while 41 per cent plan to spend more on technology to boost supply chain traceability. 

“The main challenges that businesses face when prioritising sustainability are sourcing extra funding, reported by almost half (45 per cent) of companies, and overcoming restrictions and inflexibility (35 per cent),” it said.

HSBC said it will drive the sustainability agenda with a focus on having a positive impact on the society.

The agenda will be guided by seven United Nation sustainability goals, aligned with HSBC Group’s sustainability vision.

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