Capital market participants must step up sustainability commitments, says SC chairman

Capital market participants must step up sustainability commitments, says SC chairman
-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR (June 22): Capital market participants must step up efforts to support sustainable and climate-resilient lifestyles and business practices, in line with net-zero carbon Malaysia by 2050, said Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) executive chairman Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek Hussin. 

He said companies now face rising expectations from stakeholders and the communities they serve, and are also being evaluated based on their sustainability commitments and their handling of social issues.

“Our corporates are rising to the challenge. Recent research by PwC found that 94% of the top 50 Malaysian public listed companies have environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies in place.

“Therefore, boards and management must take the lead, and ensure sustainability is at the heart of business strategy and operations. Crucially, investors must also play their role by shining a spotlight on the credibility of corporate commitments and shape the narrative ahead.

“Progress has certainly been made. But there is still a long way to go,” Awang said in his opening speech at the first day of the SRI 2022 virtual conference titled “Preserving the Climate through Sustainable Business and Living” on Wednesday (June 22). 

The two-day virtual conference is organised by the SC’s learning arm Securities Industry Development Corp. 

The key to managing the transition to a more sustainable and greener future is the availability of financing and impetus for change, said Awang. 

“In the long term, sustainable change requires investments in new technologies and innovative solutions. Market-based funding and risk management instruments are well equipped to facilitate public and private efforts in climate mitigation and transition,” he said. 

In this regard, he said the capital market can be an effective platform to mobilise capital for change, driving issuers, investors and market participants to be increasingly sustainable. 

“ESG is moving from the periphery into the mainstream. The SC believes that the Malaysian capital market is well positioned to facilitate this emerging asset class. 

“It is time for us to work together for meaningful, on-the-ground change. We must embody the 3Ps of People, Planet and Prosperity in our actions, business activities and everyday lives, and to keep sight of the fundamental goal — to transition to a more resilient, sustainable and equitable economy,” Awang added. 

Surin Murugiah