SCP Practices Promote Innovative Thinking
Beginning with the end in mind, Malaysian SMEs are urged to look at Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) from an opportunistic point of view rather than an obligation to promote an efficient and prosperous economy.
In line with Malaysia’s vision for sustainability, the principles of SCP aim to achieve a safe and healthy environment and ultimately translate into a better qual- ity of life.
In an effort to address cooperation in facilitating SMEs’ access to finance for SCP projects, EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUMCCI), for the second year running was awarded the South-East Asia Prosperity Fund for its ‘Sustainable Consumption and Production Project’ taking place from July 2013 to April 2014.
Working closely with the British High Commission, the program is promoting the adoption of SCP practices and technology for Malaysian SMEs which will develop the platform for SMEs with SCP credentials to export capabilities around the ASEAN region.
EUMCCI’s policy and project manager Jacqueline Chang said, “Sustainability has strategic implications for future competitiveness and success. Therefore, the EUMCCI’s EU Projects Desk is tasked in this project to assist Malaysian SMEs.”
According to Jacqueline, to unlock new opportunities for growth and profitability, smart businesses should look into SCP in transforming products and services.
By increasing the number of environmentally friendly manufactured products and technologies, Malaysian SMEs with SCP credentials can also use their intellectual property as collateral for future loans.
British High Commissioner to Malaysia Simon Featherstone remarked, “With this year’s IGEM 2013 theme focused on ‘Advancing Green Growth and Global Entrepreneurship’, I hope that this project will contribute towards the aspiration of the Malaysian government to harness green growth and increase SCP practices as well as utilise and deploy green technologies in this country.” Further, the Malaysian government, led by the Environment and Natural Resource Economic Section (SEASSA) of the Economic Planning Unit is currently implementing an SCP policy support program as part of the development agenda of Malaysia.
Supported by the European Union through financing of the project ‘SCP Policy Support Malaysia’, the team consists of national and international experts to champion the cause of SCP.
The program aims to create the necessary policy to lend support to the upscaling of SCP practices among government affiliates, industry and consumers including the public at large.
In his opening address at the Asia Green Conference 2013, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili said, “To ensure business success, companies must embrace sustainable management. It is only when profitability merges seamlessly with the common good will we have socially and environmentally responsible organisations.”
He added, “This will involve adopting new technologies and business model while developing new products to support new patterns of demand. This will open up the previously closed markets to SMEs.”
According to University of Ballarat National Centre for Sustainability manager Craig Hurley, SMEs are often key players in emerging green industries.
As one of the speakers at the confer- ence, Hurley said, “One of the challenges for SCP is to convince people that this is actually a smart business model.
To operate more sustainably is good for business and it is not a cost. For a lot of people and SMEs, they perceive sustainability as a cost and something additional.”
In addition, Hurley deduced that related parties and stakeholders should get more SMEs to look creatively at some of the opportunities that SCP practices bring rather than just looking at the costs associated to make a persuasive business case.
Asserting that there is a need to pro- vide evidence to convince more organ- isations particularly SMEs to take up SCP practices, Hurley cited an example of a farm in Australia that could not be expanded until it managed its waste efficiently.
From the waste management solution that was initially perceived as a cost or a problem, organically, it has contributed to the SME’s growth.
And today, the organization has remained a growing profitable enterprise where instead of previously just a farm, now it has become a fertilizer and an energy plant.
In brief, to improve consumption and production, hence achieve better sustainability, Hurley concluded, “Innovation is key, therefore we need to think creatively as we could be talking about high technology or just small changes to processes.”
By Ahmad Najib