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Sustainability Learning Program - group forum

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Any possibility for Advance country particularly America and Europe to use this sustainability subject as trade barrier? If yes, how to prevent it? ESG has obviously become one of their tool to block competition, even our guest speaker of the day Sime Darby being blocked by US for the plantation product due to ESG issue.

Developed and developing country will always have a big gap on sustainability execution. The fact that developing country are manufacturer where most of CO2 come from will tips them to the disadvantage side of the balance. It will not be fair if same standard is used to measure sustainability between developed and developing country. What is your comment?

Oct 02, 2022

I don't agree ESG is a tool to bar or block or tariff etc. It is a report card, you can write whatever you want. In some countries like Australia (ASX) they have a template that merely asks if you have XYZ policy in place. How difficult is that? The issue is not ESG but developed countries have their own standards that they impose on other countries if you want to do business with them. I am sure if you sell to China or India or Africa, they don't really care about your ESG at all.

But generally, is good to have if one is serious about not wanting to be known as a company that exploits migrant workers. And Malaysia is the number one importer of migrant or foreign workers, it had been in the past during colonial days and will continue in the future.

Personally, if you feel that we treat our foreign workers (including maids) "well" then I can't say much except being embarrassed. Companies are not to be blamed, as people, we seem to have a mean streak when dealing with foreigners or refugees, including those who are born here with ancestry from China or India even to our own women folks who happen to give birth overseas. That is not good.

Malaysia has a long way to go especially for governance and social. We have a good start. We just sent a former PM to jail for stealing RM 42 mio subject to him getting a pardon of course (should BN win). What is clear from the last 50 years is that Malaysian have a big problem with respecting the law and correspondently enforcing them. I used to teach environmental law at UM in the 90s (remember Bakun - the Judge then James F decided to hear a preliminary objection - on standing and less than 10 minutes the poor Sarawak Natives were out the door heading home), and my former students were interested in knowing how to get around them. Looking at the technology today we did not have to drown a forest for Bakun, in fact with hindsight it was ridiculous to even consider this project just to save a tycoon who happened to be DrM's friend. Clearly we sorely need ESG for the government of Malaysia too.



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