The Association for Community and Dialogue (Acid) welcomes Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yasin’s statement that the transformation of cities into low-carbon cities will help develop the local green economy, create jobs and attract domestic and international investment.
In his speech at the launch of the virtual 2021 Malaysia low-carbon cities conference, Mahiaddin said among the sectors that would benefit from the effort were the sustainable energy sector, low-carbon mobility, waste management and recycling, and water efficiency.
The low-carbon masterplan was launched to provide complete guidelines for state governments and local authorities in developing low-carbon cities in their areas.
Acid believes that low-carbon cities would also complement the environmental, social and governance criteria, which are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments.
Environmental criteria consider how a company performs as a steward of nature. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers and the communities where it operates.
As environmental, social and governance compliance becomes more mainstream, even acting as a benchmark for investors today, it is vital for corporate entities in Malaysia, especially small and medium industries, to prepare for a transition to a sustainable Malaysia as it wriggles out of the Covid pandemic.
According to a report by the Financial Times, demand among investors for environmental, social and governance-related products continue to rise, with $54bn (RM229bn) pouring into environmental, social and governance bond funds in the first five months of 2021, compared with $68bn (RM228bn) for the entire 2020.
These clearly reveal there is a futuristic post-pandemic international vision of sustainable development, which would be the criteria for investment.
It is obvious there are essential areas that Malaysia would need to focus on, which is about preserving the environment and building an economy around it, by working for a transition towards a circular economy, and to adhere to fundamental International Labour Organization (ILO) social conventions on labour rights.
This would require a whole-of-society and decentralised approach with visionary leaders of cities, who would help in Malaysia’s transition towards a green economy, and human capital development that adheres to the social criteria of respecting fundamental labour conventions. – New Straits Times