KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) today launched the Sustainability Action Values for Exporter (SAVE) Programme to boost com-petitiveness of Malaysian exports amid slowing external demand.
The programme is aimed to encourage the adoption of sustainability practices based on United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Speaking to the media at the launch, Matrade CEO Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa said the rise in the number of conscious consumers is a compelling factor for businesses to adopt sustainable business practices as a corporate social responsibility study by Cone Comms and Ebiquity Global found that 91% of consumers would switch brands associated with a good social or environmental cause.
Wan Latiff said Matrade does not have any target or benchmark for the SAVE programme, instead it will formulate an action plan for the next five years.
“First, awareness on the importance of sustainability among the exporters must be there. The global marketplace has now placed the sustainability agenda and responsible business as a key benchmark for trade transactions,” he said.
This view is echoed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry deputy secretary-general Hairil Yahri Yaacob who pointed out the principles of sustainability are already embedded in the 11th Malaysia Plan.
He said the 12th Malaysia Plan is expected to expand the sustainability agenda when it is released next year.
“Compliance to sustainability will greatly ensure our exporters gain added market access, failing which they are at risk of being excluded from certain markets. As such, the SAVE campaign introduced today by Matrade is very timely and must be actively embraced by all Malaysian exporters,” said Hairil.
Meanwhile, revised export figures showed that Malaysia’s exports for 2018 hit the RM1 trillion mark.
“The goal for this year is to maintain exports at RM1 trillion and we still have four months to go to achieve that,” said Wan Latiff.
The latest trade statistics indicated that Malaysia’s exports fell 0.8% year-on-year in August 2019 to RM81.4 billion, while the first eight months saw a drop of 0.4%.
Commenting on the decline in exports performance, Wan Latiff explained that Malaysia is not spared from the US-China trade war, which affects the entire global economy.
However, he noted that Malaysia has benefited from the trade diversion as exports to the US increased 10% in the first eight months of the year.
Source: The Sun Daily