Sustainability is key to resilience for Malaysian businesses – HSBC survey

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Malaysian businesses say that sustainability is a key component of their future business strategy, especially when re-assessing their operations to embed firmer environmental foundation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the findings of a survey by HSBC.

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The emphasis on sustainability has either remained consistent or increased for nearly two-thirds or 65 per cent of businesses in Malaysia based on the first half of 2020, the bank said.

“Thirty per cent of Malaysian businesses feel that sustainability is as important as before compared to all other markets (23 per cent), and more than one out of three businesses (35 per cent) feel it is more important than before,” HSBC said in a statement today

The HSBC Navigator “Resilience: Building Back Better” poll covered 2,604 companies across 14 markets globally, including 200 firms from Malaysia. Conducted between April 28 and May 12, it measures the pulse of businesses as they adapt to current challenges, and highlights steps taken to be resilient in the future.

It also said more than three out of five (61 per cent) businesses felt regulatory measures, comprising government (42 per cent) and industry regulations (32 per cent), would be among top three sources of pressure for more sustainable business along with pressures from customers (52 per cent) in the next one to two years.

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HSBC Malaysia chief executive officer Stuart Milne said there was a near-unanimous commitment among business decision-makers to build back better.

More than nine out of 10 Malaysian business (94 per cent versus 91 per cent across all markets) agreed that the need to re-assess or review their operations would enable them to rebuild their business on firmer environmental foundations, he said.

“Sustainability helps Malaysian businesses build resilience and positions them well for growth. As such, the financial services sector has a critical role to play in supporting sustainable business activities,” he said.

On the finding that the greatest pressure came from regulatory measures, the bank said it suggested that businesses would need to take necessary time and steps to understand regulation around sustainability and to take action and adapt accordingly.

HSBC said it was ramping up its support to enable our customers to develop more sustainable ways of doing business.

“We believe we have the scale and global reach to play a leading role in advising them on their journey towards net zero (carbon emissions) through our climate ambition of providing between US$750 billion and US$1 trillion of finance and investment by 2030,” it added. – BERNAMA

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