by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
MALAYSIA External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) has launched the Sustainability Action Values for Exporters (SAVE) programme to increase awareness and adoption of sustainable practices among local manufacturers.
Its CEO Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa said there is a rapid rise in the awareness and adoption of sustainability around the world.
“The global marketplace has now placed the sustainability agenda and responsible business practices as a key benchmark for trade transactions.
“It is inevitable that all players in the marketplace have to be more responsible for the environment and the safety and rights of all people involved, including customers, employees, vendors and the general public,” he said in a statement.
Wan Latiff also said it is imperative to demonstrate the adherence of good corporate governance and that Matrade will continue to undertake its export promotion programmes.
“We are now diversifying our export markets and products, which is why we go to new markets like Central Asia, South Asia as well as Africa, so we will continue to bring Malaysian companies especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to these new markets,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.
He said the country’s exports are very strong in furniture, medical glove and halal industries, but Malaysia will expand to new exports such as aerospace, automotive, medical devices and high-tech products.
According to Sustainable Brands and Harris Poll research, consumers are now looking to brands that bring societal and environmental values with 80% of global consumers saying they would change their consumption habits to reduce environmental impacts.
This is a strong indication that Malaysian exporters need to start transforming their ways of doing business.
SAVE is a Matrade initiative to transform Malaysia into a sustainable trading nation and focus on creating a community of sustainable local exporters.
The programme is to influence the adoption of sustainability practices based on the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among Malaysian exporters as a strategy to give them a strategic advantage in export.
The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030 named Agenda 2030.
The SDGs address various global challenges including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.
SAVE is expected to reposition Malaysia as a source for sustainable products and services as the country aims to achieve 17 SDGs by 2030.
The event was launched by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) deputy secretary general (investment) division Hairil Yahri Yaacob who said that MITI fully supports the initiative.
“MITI calls on all stakeholders in the Malaysian exports ecosystem to make sustainability and responsible business their core agendas as it will give a strategic advantage to local exporters when they compete in the global marketplace,” he said.
Hairil Yahri also said MITI is developing the New Industrial Masterplan 2021-2030 which will integrate elements of sustainability in the promotion of Malaysian products and services globally.
“We find it interesting that the programme gives weight to emphasise on SMEs and mid-tier companies.
“This will give them an edge when they pitch their product to key global markets, especially markets where the sustainability index is a benchmark in purchasing decisions,” he said.
Matrade is collaborating with several strategic partners to ensure the success of SAVE. A series of high-powered engagements will also be conducted including the National Export Day 2019 — themed Sustainability and Inclusiveness — on Oct 24, Sustain- ability-Ready Exporters Conference on Nov 19 and the Matrade Goes Green Campaign.
The National Export Day 2019 expects 1,000 participants while Sustainability-Ready Exporters Conference is set to welcome 500 participants from SMEs and mid-tier companies.