UOB Malaysia launches sustainability accelerator programme for SMEs


Ng Wei Wei, Chief Executive Officer, UOB Malaysia (left), with Liew Chin Tong, Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Malaysia, at the launch of the Jom Transform programme in UOB Plaza 1 KL

KUALA LUMPUR: UOB Malaysia has launched the Jom Transform - Sustainability Accelerator Programme (JT-SAP), which aims to provide small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with foundational knowledge to adopt sustainable practices and accelerate their transition to a low carbon economy.

In a statement, the bank said the inaugural JT-SAP brings together over 150 SMEs and industry associations for a three-day workshop whereby participants will acquire knowledge on international case studies, key trends, solutions and insights on sustainability to help them future-proof their businesses and improve their competitiveness.

The launch ceremony was officiated by Liew Chin Tong, Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Malaysia, at the bank’s corporate headquarters in UOB Plaza 1 Kuala Lumpur.

Citing the UOB Business Outlook Study 2023, the bank said 84% of businesses in Malaysia consider sustainability to be important, but only 37% have started implementing sustainability practices within their organisations.

It said the challenges to implementing Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) practices in the survey include insufficient knowledge, upfront costs and lack of support.

“As SMEs form about 98% of businesses in the country, it is important for them to join the sustainability journey for Malaysia to achieve its net zero ambitions," said UOB Malaysia CEO Ng Wei Wei.

In addition, UOB Malaysia has also rolled out the UOB Sustainability Compass to help local SMEs overcome their inertia and kick-start their sustainability journey.

The UOB Sustainability Compass report was developed with PwC to guide SMEs through a roadmap that identifies the different phases of becoming sustainable.

According to UOB, they are educated on the regulations, standards, and certifications that affect their sectors and are recommended sustainable financing solutions to kick-start their sustainability initiatives.

"While many SMEs understand the importance of pivoting their practices to reduce their carbon emissions, they require more assistance to kick-start their green journey.

"With the UOB Sustainability Compass, the bank hopes to value-add by hand-holding these businesses to overcome their initial barriers,” said UOB Malaysia managing director and country head of commercial banking Beh Wee Khee.

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UOB , SME , sustainability , JT-SAP , ESG , Ng Wei Wei , Beh Wee Khee

   

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