TUESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER, MENARA MATRADE, KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s trade promotion organisation, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is taking the leadership role to boost Malaysian exporters (Small and Medium Enterprises, Mid-Tier Companies) readiness in adopting sustainability values in their export business. To champion this objective, MATRADE organised its first ever sustainability conference called Sustainability-Ready Exporters (Su-RE) Conference.
Attended by some 500 participants who came from a diverse range of industries such as manufacturing, plastics, construction, food products, oil & gas, energy, and even services, the Conference was opened by Minister of International Trade & Industry, YB Datuk Darell Leiking who was accompanied by MATRADE’s Chairman, Tan Sri Dr. Halim Mohammad.
Su-RE Conference 2019 presented two panel sessions – the first on the plate featured subject matter experts on sustainability practices while the second panel session was an experience-sharing session by business leaders who have adopted and implemented sustainability practices in their respective company.
According to MATRADE’s Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa, the move to encourage Malaysian exporters to embrace sustainability is timely, when more and more markets around the world are demanding for products and services that pay attention to the societal well-being.
“We know that the global consumers are increasingly becoming more conscious on sustainability and they translate this into the way they purchase their products and services. This leads to global businesses seeking products and services that are sustainable to serve that demands. This to us makes a strong business value proposition and Malaysian exporters must embrace sustainability so they have a strategic advantage when exporting to the world. Most importantly beyond that, they will make a huge positive impact to Mother Nature and the world community too,” Wan Latiff said.
He added that this effort is not another CSR or public relations exercise for MATRADE. “The world is changing, with growing impact of climate change, rapidly rising world population and the depletion of our natural resources. Our buyers around the world, especially in developed nations with strong purchasing power have put sustainability agenda at the top of their list. MATRADE is anticipating this sentiment to have an influence in international trade. As the lead Government agency responsible for promoting Malaysia’s exports, we must assist our exporters to become sustainability ready,” he explained.
Sustainability and Inclusiveness are the fundamental principles of the recently launched Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030 and this Vision will be the guiding principles for all Government initiatives, to be articulated through the 12th and 13th Malaysia Plans (2021 to 2030). In order to achieve the goals mapped out, it is critical that the Public and Private sector to join forces and collaborate to push the sustainability agenda among Malaysian businesses, particularly exporters.
The Su-RE Conference is a key activity for MATRADE’s Corporate Shared Values (CSV) programme known at the “Sustainability Action Values for Exporters” (SAVE). MATRADE’s focus with this CSV programme is to champion the implementation of sustainable practices by Malaysian companies involved in export. The SAVE Programme involves a series of capacity building activities, identification of suitable sustainability benchmarks for Malaysian exporters, business matching for sustainable businesses and many others.
In realising the activities lined up in the 5-year SAVE programme, MATRADE is partnering with relevant stakeholders, including MITI and related ministries such as Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Climate Change. Another important stakeholder is the United Nations, and MATRADE will work together with the UN Country Team of Malaysia to engage the relevant UN agencies in this regard.
The Strategic Partners for this initiative include the local chapter of UN’s Global Compact - Global Compact Network Malaysia (GCMY) - and leading financial institution, CIMB. MATRADE will continue to build on the partnership with both organisations to facilitate a robust organic growth in the adoption of sustainability practice amongst Malaysian exporters.
The success of the Su-RE Conference is also attributed to its key conference partners, in particular, its Technology Partner, PouchNATION Malaysia which is a cashless payment and brand activation provider that facilitated a paperless registration for Su-RE Conference. Also supporting the conference were Media Partners, The Star and Business Today. Others were Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC) and the UN’s International Office of Migration (IOM).