Sustainability as a Catalyst

Senator Datuk Lim Ban Hong, Deputy Minister Of International Trade & Industry, Shares On Future Proofing Malaysian Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the importance of adopting sustainability practices among the Malaysian business community. This awakening champions a universal value that focuses on the environment, society and governance commonly known as the ESG. This development, if anything, brought about various opportunities for environmentally-friendly products to succeed in not only local, but the global markets too.

Since the outbreak, we have witnessed the acceleration of economic transformation among industry players particularly in moving towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocated by the United Nations. Datuk Lim believes that this can contribute greatly to our nation’s economic progress, post-pandemic.

The Malaysian government supported the SDGs as it is a signatory of the Paris Agreement signed at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The central idea was to be inclusive and take into account the environment, social and governance well-being in economic development.

"In order to future-proof the local industries, industry players are encouraged to adopt sustainable business models, one of which includes using alternative sources to produce their products." - Senator Datuk Lim Ban Hong

Recently, Datuk Lim visited One Tech (M) Sdn Bhd, a Small and Medium Enterprise in Ampang that is pioneering Malaysia's green furniture manufacturing and uses sustainable and reclaimed materials to produce furniture and interior fittings. The company was founded in 1993 and deployed traditional methods to produce school desks, chairs and furniture in the early days. The company’s Director Harith Ridzuan informed him that to address the environmental challenges, and the need to produce sustainable wood products, One Tech began to offer green interior solutions in 2013.

Since then, through its participation in the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation’s (MATRADE) (an agency under Ministry of International Trade and Industry) - Export Promotion Programmes and Market Development Grant (MGD), the company has successfully entered the European and American markets, which are known to have strict environmental protection requirements.

The company shared that they’ve suffered a decline in demand last year due to the pandemic, but it was quick to respond by going into e-Commerce. The company then leverages MATRADE's eTrade programme and MDG that support the company’s venture in online selling and digital marketing. This has helped improve the demand for their products and facilitated the recovery of the business.

Currently, One Tech is selling their products on Amazon and other known major e- marketplaces, having numerous clients worldwide who can attest to their eco-friendly wood products. The company now continues to operate under strict adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures.

As Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Lim is proud that the initiatives and incentives by MITI through its agencies have helped local companies. In that regard, he would like to urge more SMEs to actively sign up for government programmes especially by MITI and its 13 agencies to enhance their readiness to compete globally and succeed beyond the local market.

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