KUALA LUMPUR (July 1): The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd are teaming up to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to build export resilience and attain new growth.
In a joint statement today, Matrade and CIMB said the programme is the realisation of the five-year Sustainability Action Values for Exporters (SAVE) programme launched in October last year, with the goal of building capacity in sustainability for Malaysian exporters.
In partnership with sustainability consultancy Impacto, Matrade-CIMB completed the pilot orientation for the pioneer batch of 40 SMEs in the food and beverage sector in June this year.
Leveraging the potential of digital platforms, the session was conducted virtually, mainly focusing on shaping a sustainable business by managing unprecedented risks, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Matrade-CIMB explained the first session was delivered as a 2.5-hour webinar, equipping SMEs with insights into how risk management strategies and sustainability standards, supported by an effective business continuity plan, can not only future-proof businesses, but also help save costs and improve market access and competitiveness in export markets.
Matrade deputy chief executive officer (CEO) of exporters development Sharimahton Mat Saleh said sustainability can help SMEs meet export requirements of other countries and successfully tap new markets.
"Many more developed economies as well as informed consumers prefer a product that has been produced sustainably.
“We view sustainable practices as part of a business strategy. We hope SMEs will learn that simple sustainable actions, such as reducing energy consumption and ensuring the well-being and welfare of the workforce, actually save costs and enhance productivity, while opening up new business opportunities,” she added.
Meanwhile, CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd CEO Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff said the programme is aimed at enhancing local exporters’ capabilities in economic, environmental and social (EES) areas and part of CIMB’s commitment to becoming a pioneer and catalyst for EES practices in Asean.
“With the introduction of various sustainable solutions, SMEs are not only given access to the global market, but also incentivised for operating responsibly by integrating principles of sustainability into their daily business processes.
“Looking at the challenges faced by SMEs during this pandemic, it was quite impactful to have them on board this programme and see how crucial it is to be sustainability-ready and build resilience to grow,” he said.
The next session of the SMEs Sustainable Exporters Programme is scheduled for July 21, 2020.