Image credit: The Sun Daily

GEORGE TOWN (Sept 26): Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) have been urged to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices into their business operations to gain more opportunities in the global market. 

Entrepreneurship Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick said currently, more and more large companies, government-linked companies (GLCs) and multinational companies (MNCs) are using ESG practices as one of the criteria for risk assessment when making investment-related decisions and procurement of supplies or services.

In an effort to increase the application of ESG practices among MSMEs, he said the government would prepare an ESG reporting guideline to make it easier for the sector to identify the basic criteria in the application of relevant values.

“The National SME Development Council, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, will convene this November to deliberate on the guidelines before it is announced and launched.

“Meanwhile, the ministry has also submitted to the Ministry of Finance that an allocation be provided under Budget 2024 to implement ESG practices among MSMEs,” Ewon said in a press conference after officiating the “Charting the ESG Path for MSMEs and Business Matching for High-Growth Industries” seminar here on Tuesday.

He said apart from meeting the increasing demand for ESG elements from stakeholders, MSME needs to take the same steps to obtain continuous market access, remain in the existing supply chain, expand its market through participation in a new supply chain or attract new investment for business expansion.

Commenting on the two-day seminar starting on Tuesday, he said it is organised by SME Corp Malaysia, involving as many as 380 business matching sessions in the next day.

SME Corp chief executive officer Rizal Nainy said as many as 60 MSMEs and approximately 20 large enterprises consisting of GLCs and MNCs will participate in the session, which will likely generate transactions amounting to RM10 million.

“These companies are all involved in high-growth industries such as medical equipment, electronics, aerospace, biotechnology and so on,” he said. 

Earlier, Ewon witnessed the signing of memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between SME Corp and Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) as well as between SME Corp and Alliance Bank Malaysia.

The MOU with SC aims to explore cooperation to facilitate greater access to capital market financing for MSMEs, while the MOU with Alliance Bank seeks to raise awareness, build capacity and assist MSMEs in accelerating the adoption of ESG practices in their businesses.