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World Business Council for Sustainable Development Launches Malaysian Chapter

The chapter will serve as a catalyst, helping businesses gain a competitive advantage during post-COVID recovery through strategic sustainability agenda

Photo by Afdhal N. on Unsplash

The Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Malaysia was launched today during an exclusive roundtable session attended by over fifty C-level representatives of large and forward-thinking Malaysian companies.

The local chapter of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) - a CEO-led organization of over 200 forward-thinking global companies, representing combined revenues of US$8.5 trillion and 19 million employees - aims to connect companies, sectors, and different stakeholders to deliver results that companies alone cannot deliver.

WBCSD brings a collective business voice to engage with policymakers and regulatory authorities and contribute to progressive policy development in Malaysia.

BCSD Malaysia said that Prof. Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid will take on the role of director and Chairman of the Board, and Prof. Dato’ Ir Dr. A. Bakar Jaafar will be a director as well as Honorary Treasurer, who are both founding members of the organisation.

Tan Sri Zakri has had a distinguished career in science as a researcher, educator, administrator, diplomat, and also as a former science adviser to the prime minister of Malaysia. He is currently ambassador and science adviser to the Wyss Campaign for Nature.

Prof. Dato’ Ir Dr. A. Bakar Jaafar on the other hand is an engineer by profession, an environmental scientist by specialization, and a maritime expert. He is currently a Professor at UTM Perdana Centre, Razak Faculty of Technology & Informatics, and Director of the UTM Ocean Thermal Energy Centre. Dato’ Bakar is also Chairman of the Board of the Malaysian Green Technology & Climate Change Centre (MGTC).

During the roundtable, Prof. Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid commented: “Research has shown that companies embracing sustainability are successful in the long-term. Hence, it is imperative for stakeholders from different industry backgrounds to engage with other stakeholders and competitors and use BCSD Malaysia as a platform to share sustainability practices”.

“Malaysian companies should take advantage of this opportunity to leverage on the knowledge of the global organisation and its extensive international network to apply many of the on-going initiatives in climate & energy, human rights, food and agriculture, circular economy, finance and many more,” he added.

Sustainable business development for the future

Sunny Verghese, Co-founder and Group CEO of Olam International Ltd, and WBCSD’s Chair, was the Special Guest at the roundtable event today, who commented on the significance of the Malaysian chapter launch.

“BCSD Malaysia is now a partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Global Network, an alliance of more than 60 CEO-led business organizations worldwide. The Network encompasses some 5,000 companies who are united by their shared commitment to provide business leadership for sustainable development in their respective countries and regions.”

Set up as a non-profit company limited by guarantee, BCSD Malaysia will be headed by Executive Director Roberto Benetello, who previously held several senior management positions in the private sector, working for fortune-500 companies and start-ups in countries such as Italy, UK, Spain, and Malaysia. Roberto also led the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUMCCI) as its CEO for close to four years. During his tenure, the Chamber grew into one of the most influential organisations and advocacy platforms in Malaysia.

Roberto Benetello, Executive Director of BCSD Malaysia

Benetello said that a company does not become sustainable overnight. However, it takes time to develop a deeply rooted sustainability culture and leadership as well as, to acquire sustainability know-how, develop methodologies and tools, and ultimately come up with sustainable solutions that work.

"This is why a platform such as BCSD Malaysia is so important. It allows member companies to share best practices in a pre-competitive space and focus on worthy solutions that are likely to have already proven their value and efficacy somewhere in the world. This saves precious time and effort," Benetello said.

He added, “Covid-19 is stress testing everything: people, politics, health and economic systems; our capitalist model, but also the way we live and work. This is a crucial moment for businesses to demonstrate leadership towards society and play an active role in turning this planetary tragedy into an opportunity to press hard on creating a more equitable and sustainable world with improved risk awareness and resilience in supply chains, operations and business models. If more sustainable companies are indeed more successful, why would companies and investors not want to make the world a better place?”

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