The path to net zero should be an integrated initiative

Maybank group president and chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Farid Alias (top right) Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin (bottom) and Maybank chief sustainability officer Shahril Azuar Jimin (top left).

KUALA LUMPUR: The path to net zero, which refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emitted and removed from the air, should be an integrated initiative involving governments, industry and consumers, with policymakers taking the lead to create an ecosystem where all economic players can effectively participate.

Chairman of Malaysia Airlines Bhd, Gas Malaysia Bhd and DRB-Hicom Bhd Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin noted that while there were a lot of commitments by countries as part of the Paris Agreement, there are not many real strategies and implementations planned.

"The rhetoric and realities have to be negotiated. Meeting emission targets requires a multi-agency effort and is not confined to the Ministry of Environment (Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources).

"For ASEAN countries, the transition to low carbon would impact government revenue, which in turn has economic and social impacts. So the transition has to be managed well. It has to be a just transition,” he said during Maybank Kim Eng’s "Decarbonising ASEAN” webinar".

Wan Zulkiflee also shared that climate change awareness is high among youths today but climate science, however, is understood by few.

"We also need energy literacy. For example, to make batteries for electric vehicles, by 2030 cobalt and nickel extraction will have to be seven times what it is today. As with any energy, there will be environmental implications,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maybank group president and chief executive officer, Datuk Abdul Farid Alias opined that it is not a surprise that financial services are looked upon to effect change as they are the allocator of capital.

"Maybank’s mission of Humanising Financial Services goes hand in hand with environmental, social and governance (ESG). It means being mindful of our impact on the community and the environment that we live in,” he said.

According to Maybank Kim Eng Research, Southeast Asia is expected to invest US$9.8 billion (1US$= RM4.23) in smart grid infrastructure between 2018 and 2027 with Singapore and Malaysia, clear leaders in the region, while Thailand has also demonstrated a real commitment through various pilot projects with renewables. - Bernama

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