Alliance Bank, SME Corp Partner on MSMEs' ESG Journey

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_Alliance Bank, SME Corp Partner on MSMEs- ESG Journey
Image courtesy of Alliance Bank

Alliance Bank and SME Corporation have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a collaborative effort to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in embracing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices.

This partnership combines both financial and non-financial solutions to aid MSMEs on their ESG journey.

This MoU underscores the commitment of both entities to work in tandem to create ESG guides tailored to specific sectors, practical tools, and green financing options that can facilitate MSMEs in adopting ESG principles.

Additionally, Alliance Bank and SME Corp. Malaysia will champion sustainable practices through activities like market surveys, industry-focused discussion groups, and panel conversations, aiming to gather input and feedback from MSMEs themselves.

The collaboration commenced with a roundtable discussion jointly organised by Alliance Bank and SME Corp. Malaysia in Penang, where representatives from 19 business associations, industry federations, and government agencies convened to share their insights on the ESG landscape in Malaysia and its impact on local businesses.

Three central themes emerged from the discussion: the significance of establishing fundamental, standardised ESG guidelines to aid MSMEs in their initial steps; the necessity for a central resource or platform for all ESG-related materials, including toolkits, guides, and playbooks, to reduce confusion among businesses embarking on their ESG journey; and the creation of more targeted incentives for SMEs and consumers to embrace sustainable practices.

The insights gained from the roundtable will provide valuable input for an upcoming ESG Symposium co-organised by Alliance Bank, UN Global Compact Network Malaysia & Brunei (UNGCMYB), and Monash University. This will culminate in the development of sector-specific ESG playbooks, which will expedite the learning and adoption of ESG practices by SMEs.

Earlier in the year, Alliance Bank and SME Corp. Malaysia, in collaboration with UNGCMYB, commissioned the ESG survey report titled "ESG Insights from Malaysian SMEs: Building A Better Future Together."

The report revealed that three out of five SMEs in Malaysia believe that integrating ESG practices into their operations contributes to long-term value creation, enhances their workforce, and expands their business opportunities, which aligns with the findings from the roundtable discussion.

Mr. Rizal bin Nainy, CEO of SME Corp. Malaysia, emphasised the importance of the PKSlestari initiative, which aims to promote and expedite the adoption of ESG practices among MSMEs by cultivating an ecosystem for SME sustainability. He acknowledged that SMEs might need time to acquire the necessary knowledge and expertise for sustainability but urged them to take small, incremental steps toward becoming a sustainable industry.

Mr. Kellee Kam, Group CEO of Alliance Bank, expressed their commitment to supporting SMEs in transitioning towards an ESG-oriented approach to enhance business resilience and seize growth opportunities.

He outlined the "3As" concept, encompassing Advocacy, Advice, and Answers, as a holistic ecosystem designed to assist customers in constructing their ESG roadmap.

Alliance Bank, through its advocacy initiatives and partnerships with organisations like SME Corp. Malaysia, aims to advance sustainability, particularly among SMEs, which are the backbone of the nation. Mr. Kam highlighted that SMEs embracing ESG principles ahead of their peers stand to benefit from the increasing number of corporations and multinationals seeking suppliers aligned with their sustainability values.

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Source: Alliance Bank

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