This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on December 12, 2022 - December 18, 2022
Bermaz Auto Bhd bagged two awards at the inaugural The Edge Malaysia ESG Awards 2022. The company is one of the top three performers in Asean and the silver winner in the consumer products and services sector.
Group operations director Wong Kin Foo says the company is elated and honoured to win the prestigious awards. He thanks its board, management and everyone at Bermaz for their invaluable support and contribution.
Bermaz started its sustainability journey in 2018, when the concept of sustainability was still nascent, says Wong. The company’s environment, social and governance (ESG) rating by FTSE Russell was 2.3 then.
But with proper guidance and better understanding among the management and employees about ESG through consultations with Bermaz’s principal manufacturers, sustainability consultants, seminars and workshops, the company managed to gradually instil sustainability practices across the organisation, he says.
“[We ensure that] ESG remains at the heart of our business operations. This is reflected in our latest ESG rating by FTSE Russell of 4.2 as of June 2022.”
Wong says the company integrates several ESG criteria into its operations. The first is an economic aspect to improve the company’s sales by giving customers a better ownership experience and by introducing environmentally friendly, clean, efficient and safe products.
Next is the environmental aspect, which is in response to climate change. The company addresses this by focusing on the use of non-toxic and recyclable materials. It has also implemented renewable energy initiatives such as the installation of solar energy, and proper waste management and disposal systems.
From the social perspective, Wong says the company formed the Mazda Medicare Fund (MMF) to inculcate a sense of social responsibility among employees and customers. The aim is to provide financial support to the underprivileged, especially those in low- and middle-income households that suffer from critical illnesses such as cancer or end-stage renal disease. These people require financial support due to high medical expenses.
“MMF also contributes to recognised charitable communities such as old folks’ homes, disabled homes and orphanages that are managed by non-governmental organisations and independent parties. These initiatives are ongoing and done annually through various fundraising projects such as the 8th Mazda Charity Golf Tournament held in October, which successfully raised RM510,000 from the golfers, donors and sponsors,” he says.
Under human capital management, the company formed the BAuto Training School (BAT) to upskill employees and provide an avenue for school leavers to build a career in the automotive industry. BAT offers various technical and vocational education programmes accredited by institutions such as the UK’s Institute of Motor Industry and Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran.
“BAT also aims to equip the next generation with greater knowledge and exposure to cope with advancing technology and meet the demands of next-generation vehicles,” says Wong.
Ultimately, rapid changes in the global climate, economic developments and the Covid-19 pandemic caused businesses to go through a profound transformation and understand the need for sustainability practices, he adds.
“The adoption of ESG elements is suddenly thrust forward and became the primary focus of businesses. Public-listed companies with good ESG ratings such as Bermaz will provide assurance and comfort to stakeholders that they are investing in a responsible entity that is fully aware of its ESG commitments,” says Wong.
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