SBTi symposium explores climate action, businesses to embrace climate responsibility and innovation


According to Karima, “the UN’s SDG Progress Report for 2023, for the world as whole, [shows that] none of the targets within SDG 13 are on-track to be met by 2030; some 60% are lagging; 20% show regression on the 2015 starting point; and the final 20% lack sufficient data to make a judgment either way.”

UNGCMYB urges companies to set science-based targets aligned with the Paris Agreement and launches innovative climate tool

EARLIER on June 11, the third edition of the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and Climate Symposium, themed “From Climate Pledges to Action,” hosted discussions on strategies to accelerate corporate climate action.

The event drew over 300 policymakers, sustainability experts and business leaders to Connexion Bangsar South, fostering a dynamic environment for impactful discussions and collaboration.

Organised by the UN Global Compact Network Malaysia & Brunei (UNGCMYB), the symposium featured a high-profile interview with Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability (NRES) Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, a speech by UN Resident Coordinator in Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore Karima El Korri, with presentations by Bank Negara, UN Development Programme (UNDP), global research institute CIAGR and Alliance Bank.

Whole-of-nation approach

The programme was inaugurated by Nik Nazmi, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) regional lead Julie Amoroso-Garbin and UNGCMYB executive director Faroze Nadar.

In his remarks, Nik Nazmi emphasised the critical importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration in accelerating climate action and unveiled details of the upcoming climate change bill.

“This new bill will establish a comprehensive framework to ensure that Malaysia not only meets but exceeds its climate targets. By fostering greater accountability and transparency, we aim to drive transformative change across all sectors of our economy,” he said.

The symposium also marked the launch of “Forward Faster-Climate Action’’, a UN Global Compact initiative aimed at boosting corporate accountability and transparency in climate actions.

(From left) ecoworld Malaysia president and chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah, Sum, Nik Nazmi, UNGCMYB programmes head Shanta Helena Dwarkasing, Sarawak Energy Berhad sustainability general manager Mohamad Irwan Aman and Nadar unveiling PROGRESS(From left) ecoworld Malaysia president and chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah, Sum, Nik Nazmi, UNGCMYB programmes head Shanta Helena Dwarkasing, Sarawak Energy Berhad sustainability general manager Mohamad Irwan Aman and Nadar unveiling PROGRESS

15 Malaysian companies committed to this initiative, publicly declaring their sustainability goals and the actions planned to achieve these targets.

“We are excited to bring Malaysian companies to the global stage of corporate climate action through ‘Forward Faster’. It is encouraging to see an increasing number of companies commit to science-based emissions reduction targets, which are necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Nadar.

“Other companies have committed to a just transition, which is imperative especially in countries like Malaysia, where we must look at climate action and inclusive development. We urge all companies to set ambitious climate commitments, and UNGCMYB is here to support their journey,” he stated.

Exchanging expertise

The panel discussion titled “From Commitment to Action” featured insights from notable panellists such as CelcomDigi sustainability head Philip Ling Oon Hun, Bursa Malaysia sustainability management head Ikram Rafie, Sarawak Energy sustainability general manager Mohamad Irwan Aman, whose respective organisations have all committed to the science-based targets initiative (SBTi).

Climate strategies and decarbonising operations were also highlighted by Malakoff Corporation Berhad sustainability, research and investor relations head Saravanan Desigamanie.

In a separate presentation session by nonprofit research and innovation institution WorldFish agriculture and food security, sustainable aquatic food systems unit senior scientist Nhuong Tran, explained how global food systems face numerous challenges, including escalating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil degradation, water scarcity, biodiversity loss and overfishing.

“Addressing these issues is crucial as food systems contribute up to 37% of global GHG emissions and are responsible for significant environmental impacts,” he noted.

“Aquatic foods, including fish and seafood, play a vital role in nourishing the world’s population. Approximately 800 million people depend on small-scale fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods.”

Nik Nazmi shared that the government is already drafting the National Climate Change Bill.Nik Nazmi shared that the government is already drafting the National Climate Change Bill.

By 2030, the volume of aquatic food production is projected to reach 204 million tonnes.

“Currently, around 3.3 billion people derive 20% of their animal protein from aquatic foods. Additionally, the primary and secondary sectors of fisheries and aquaculture employ a significant workforce, with women comprising half of the workforce,” he added.

Aquatic foods possess several characteristics that make them essential for food security, especially for countries that consume seafood regularly like Malaysia.

“They are a rich source of nutrients and play a critical role in cognitive development, particularly in the first 1000 days of a child’s life. However, despite their importance, aquatic foods are often excluded or siloed in food system policies. This highlights the need for effective governance to ensure their integration into broader food system decision-making processes,” he emphasised.

Rising temperatures, ocean acidification and extreme weather events disrupt aquatic ecosystems, leading to reduced fish stocks and altered species distribution.

Essentially, climate change poses a significant threat to aquatic foods and the communities relying on them. These climate-induced impacts exacerbate the challenges faced by small-scale actors and vulnerable communities, further underscoring the urgency for action.

Measuring climate maturity

In a significant move towards a just transition, the symposium also saw the launch of PROGRESS–a pioneering climate maturity assessment tool that supports SME suppliers to transition.

Developed by UNGCMYB in collaboration with Alliance Bank, PROGRESS helps corporates assess their suppliers’ climate performance through the tool and users can get access to a climate transition action plan and green financing solutions provided by Alliance Bank.

The assessment measures climate performance across three dimensions: climate governance, GHG emissions and business integration.

The questions are simplified to a ‘yes or no’ format and it is optional to key in qualitative data on a company’s carbon footprint.

Corporates such as EcoWorld Malaysia and Sarawak Energy were among the first participants of the PROGRESS programme.

“Enabling businesses to adopt ESG practices forms a core part of Alliance Bank’s sustainability purpose. We have strong, long-standing relationships with the SME community and have focused our efforts in delivering relevant, simple and personalised solutions to help our customers achieve their business potential,” said Alliance Bank Group chief strategy, marketing and business development officer Dr Aaron Sum.

“Our long-term partnership with UNGCMYB includes co-developing the PROGRESS tool, which marks our commitment in helping more businesses transition to more sustainable business models.

He continued: “The bank will continue expanding its supportive ecosystem of financing and beyond banking solutions to continue helping SMEs embed ESG within their business roadmap to build resilience and grow their business.”

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