10 November 2023

RM 1 billion Green Financing, Digital Climate Assessment Tools, and Capacity-Building Workshops for SMEs in Sarawak

Press Release

Building sustainable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) businesses for growth and resilience through green financing and user-friendly climate assessment tools supported by Sarawak Government.

Kuching, 10 November 2023 - Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad (“Alliance Bank” or the “Bank”), InvestSarawak Sdn Bhd, and the UN Global Compact Network Malaysia & Brunei (“UNGCMYB”) have signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) to accelerate an inclusive climate transition for SMEs under the “Climate Inclusive Financing & Development Programme”.

The Programme was opened by The Honourable Datuk Amar Awang Tengah bin Ali Hasan, Deputy Premier of Sarawak and Minister of International Trade, Industry and Investment Sarawak who also gave his keynote speech at the event where the MoU was exchanged.

InvestSarawak, a new entity under Ministry of International Trade, Industry and Investment (MINTRED) Sarawak that assists local businesses with financing opportunities to jumpstart their growth, will help businesses accelerate their green growth ambitions through sustainability-linked transition projects and initiatives.

Under this programme, the Bank will extend RM1 billion in green financing to enable Sarawakian SMEs environment, social and governance (“ESG”) roadmaps towards sustainable-trade readiness and business resiliency.

The Kuching event also marked the official launch of the Promoting Green Resilient & Sustainable SMEs or PRO-GRESS tool which is developed by UNGCMYB.

PRO-GRESS is a simplified diagnostic tool that helps SMEs measure their climate action maturity level, provides a peer benchmark and generates a climate transition action plan for business owners. The report, which SMEs can use as a guide towards sustainability, will also provide SMEs their Climate Readiness level with which they can receive preferential financing rates from the Bank.

Several roadshows focusing on capacity-building with relevant advisory, training, and optimising use of the PRO-GRESS tool will also be organised as part of the collaboration. The first workshop was held in Kuching today and saw over 50 SMEs, government agencies and local business associations taking part in a half day workshop themed “From Sarawak to The World”.

“Today, we are proud to announce our collaboration with InvestSarawak and UNGCMYB whom we see as partners who share our values and recognise the crucial need for SMEs to transition towards sustainability in order to continue their upwards growth trajectory. As businesses grow, they will need both banking and non-banking solutions to meet the challenges in an increasingly competitive marketplace and I believe our full suite of fast, convenient and personalised solutions can help more businesses achieve their growth ambitions through their life cycle as we believe in being more than a bank, but a true partner to our customers. Today, the RM1 billion financing program which Alliance Bank is launching for Sarawakian SMEs is to enable their green journeys to build business resilience and position themselves to capture new opportunities for growth,” said the Bank’s Group Chief Strategy, Marketing & Business Development Officer Dr. Aaron Sum. He added that the partnership will help the Bank build a bigger presence in Sarawak which is a fast-growing economic corridor and is a move that is in line with the group’s refreshed strategy Acceler8.

“There's a growing emphasis on the need for businesses to adopt climate friendly practices. By doing so, they can not only mitigate their environmental footprint but also drive innovation, foster resilience, and create value for stakeholders. This commitment is a collective endeavour. Today, as we officiate our partnerships with Alliance Bank and InvestSarawak, I am most proud of the fact that our partnership has resulted in an innovative approach in supporting SME climate transition. We are pioneers in taking an uncommon approach to empower and incentivize SMEs by providing tools and financing beyond traditional corporate supply chain pegged approaches. To be able to use the word “inclusive” in our collaboration, makes this very special,” said Faroze Nadar, Executive Director at UNGCMYB.

(Front row, left to right) Alliance Bank’s Group Chief Strategy, Marketing & Business Development Officer Dr. Aaron Sum, InvestSarawak Chief Executive Officer Timothy Ong and UN Global Compact Malaysia & Brunei Executive Director Faroze Nadar at the MoU signing ceremony which was also observed by (back row, third from right) The Honourable Datuk Amar Awang Tengah bin Ali Hasan, Deputy Premier of Sarawak and Minister of International Trade, Industry and Investment Sarawak.