ESG for SMEs: A Simple Guide to Sustainability and Success in Malaysia

Today, ESG and sustainability has become a “business license” for companies to continue operate in countries which implemented sustainability-related regulations, received loans from banks and retain eco-conscious customer. Large companies with abundant resources are capable of catching up with the requirements in a short time, but how about the small companies?

SMEs make up 98 to 99 percent of all businesses in Malaysia, contributing 38.4 percent of the GDP in 2022. They form the backbone of industrial development in Malaysia, making their survival all the more important.

SMEs are still recovering post-pandemic and investing in ESG and sustainability may seem difficult. In this video, I will share with you, how to implement ESG in Malaysia. With these 3 simple steps, not only that your businesses will become more sustainable, but you will gain benefits in terms of lower operating cost, higher revenue, and differentiate yourself in the market.

Table of Contents

Manage your company’s energy consumption

This is not as complex as you think. Identify your top three energy consuming processes or equipment and search for opportunities to use them more efficiently. Remember to improve energy efficiency first before thinking of adopting renewable energy sources like installing solar panels or transitioning to electric-powered equipment or vehicles. To help you in reducing the financial burden and speed up the action, seek out grants and government subsidies to help pay the bill.

Check out our compilation of tax measures related to ESG and sustainability from Budget 2024.

Budget 2024: The Future of ESG in Malaysia

Understand the impact of your products

Look into the life cycle stages of your product, from raw material extraction and production to end-of-life treatment process. What are the environmental and social impacts from such material use, manufacturing process, packaging material, distribution method and waste treatment option? Identify opportunities in the product design process which can minimize negative impacts and satisfy customers’ buying preferences. For your information, products which have a low carbon footprint and made from locally sourced raw material are receiving much more attention than before.

Read this case study to understand how Bernard Business Consulting (BBC) assisted a Malaysian plastic recycling company to assess carbon footprint of products.

Case Study SDG 12: Implementing ISO 14067:2018 Greenhouse Gases – Carbon Footprint of Products to Produce Responsibly

Be open to transform your business into a sustainable business model

ESG is built on financial stability. Identify what you can do differently from your usual business practice and transform your product or service to attract new customer base and create customer loyalty. The process of transforming your business inside-out can be challenging and take some time to see the result, but it could be a strategic move to sustain your business in the long run.

Learn the three steps to transform into a sustainable business model.

Three Steps to Transform into a Sustainable Business Model

In short, business owners shall focus on looking inward to find clarify in the (meant to be) confusing ESG landscape. You will discover that actually there are a lot of opportunities for improvement in your business operations and the solutions to help you to transform are not as expensive as you think. The best thing is, your problems could turn into profitable environmental solutions.

At BBC, we create sustainable innovative solutions to make a difference. Talk to us now to build a sustainable future together. 

May you be happy and peaceful when navigating your sustainability journey.

Ng Jia Xin
Ng Jia Xin

ESG and Sustainability Consultant

Additional resources to help SMEs in adopting ESG and sustainability
  1. The National Industry ESG Framework or iESG Framework by the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry Malaysia (MITI)

Read more 

  1. Simplified ESG Disclosure Guide (SEDG) for SMEs in Supply Chains by Capital Markets Malaysia (CMM) and Securities Commission Malaysia (SC)

Download now

  1. SME Sustainability Action Guide by the UN Global Compact Network Malaysia & Brunei (UNGCMYB)

Download now 

  1. Corporate Sustainability Practitioner Competency Framework by Bursa Malaysia and the UNGCMYB

Read more



透过我们的 ESG 和永续发展工作坊探讨ESG 风险和业务永续发展机遇。本次工作坊将探讨 ESG 和永续性、报告、利益相关者参与以及碳边界调整机制 (Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, CBAM) 等全球趋势的基础知识。 


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