Moving Towards Sustainability

06 February 2012

by Shareen Shariza Abdul Ghani
Director, Strategic Human Capital Management

In our inaugural article, we introduced Khazanah’s journey into corporate responsbility (CR) which began in 2006 with the introduction of the Silver Book. Sustainable development is a key component of CR. But in relative terms, the concept of sustainable development is still a recent phenomenon. In 1983, the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) under the auspices of the United Nations, was created to address the growing concern about the alarming deterioration of the human environment and natural resources. The result of this initiative was the Brundtland Report.

The report, published in 1987, was the first to focus on global sustainability. In short, this attempted, in a holistic manner to address governments, businesses and, above all, people whose welfare should be a key element for environmental and development policies.

In an October 2007 Harvard Business Review article, Michael E. Porter and Forest L. Reinhart wrote a paper entitled “A Strategic Approach to Climate”, that "companies that persist in treating climate change solely as a corporate social responsibility issue, rather than a business problem, will risk the greatest consequences."

From a market and business perspective, Porter and Reinhart saw that businesses need to look both "inside out," which they define as a company's impact on climate and "outside in" on how climate regulatory change may affect the business environment in which the company competes. In Malaysia, sustainable development is fast becoming a catchphrase in the consciousness of stakeholders cutting across multiple spectrums. A growing portion of the population is slowly but surely realising the finite nature of our natural resources.

With consultations and discussions with the experts in the field and referencing from various global networks and resources such as the Brundtland Report and our own independent analysis on the many facets of sustainability, we have crafted the framework of the Khazanah journey towards instilling best practices in sustainable development, which would drive our corporate responsibility (CR) initiatives.

How we work

At Khazanah, we have identified broad priority areas of responses. They are:

  • Sustainable investments and value creation
  • Human and social capital development
  • Social investments, community development and environmental stewardship
  • Silver Book & CR Advocacy within corporate Malaysia

Khazanah recognises the value of engaging relevant stakeholders to support us in identifying issues of concern and providing feedback on CR programmes we design to ensure relevance and coherence with the business mandate and objectives. We also acknowledge that there are still some gaps, common challenges and issues in moving the CR and Sustainability agenda forward in the context of the investment sector.

Hence, we continue our corporate research & development on sustainability valuation in examining methods to measure sustainability at portfolio investments, as well as strengthening our network through advocacy and capacity building of best practices in corporate responsibility with our Silver Book programmes. We are also engaged in the conservation of Johor Ramsar’s wetlands and continue to widen our scope of engagement through partnerships with various civil society organisations.

In Human and Social Capital Development we focus on developing Malaysian civil society partner organisations through our Grants Programmes which ensures financial support as well as subject matter expertise and advisory on organisational development and internal business process improvements through the Monitoring and Management framework.

Advocating CR and Sustainability through the Silver Book Platform allows Khazanah to engage and organise dialogues and experience-sharing activities among government-linked companies (GLCs) and non-GLC participants. Our next update will begin to focus on real-life initiatives which emphasize measurable outcome-based solutions which are making an impact in our communities.

(Shareen has been in Khazanah close to five years and have designed and implemented programmes addressing sustainability, in particular, R&D on Sustainability Valuation methodology, Biodiversity Valuation and conservation of Ramsar wetlands and community development programmes with a focus on access to education and poverty alleviation. A significant part of Shareen's development was shaped by her work with a renowned humanitarian organisation, providing aid and support for the recovery of post-conflict and disaster affected communities)


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