CEO Morning Brief

Westports Continues to Push Boundaries

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Publish date: Tue, 28 Nov 2023, 09:24 AM
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TheEdge CEO Morning Brief

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on November 27, 2023 - December 3, 2023

We need to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in order to find a just way so that everyone can move on together by [becoming] more sustainable.” - Ruben

Westports Holdings Bhd won gold at The Edge Malaysia ESG Awards 2023 in the transport and logistics sector category. The company attributed its win to the hard work of its employees and guidance from its board sustainability committee, combined with its continuous push for innovative sustainability initiatives.

Keeping up with the additional reporting requirements, new online ESG assessment questionnaires and evolving technologies was a challenge for Westports.

“There is no shortcut. Our colleagues at Westports are dedicating more time to sustainability-related matters and issues,” says Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam Abdullah, the executive chairman and group managing director of Westports.

Decarbonisation solutions can be cost-prohibitive as they have yet to be commercially proven. Few are willing to pay more for sustainable solutions, especially as most of the world’s population cannot afford to do so, he adds.

“We need to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in order to find a just way so that everyone can move on together by [becoming] more sustainable.”

On the governance front, Westports has achieved the ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management System and submits a biannual report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). It has also established a system that allows allegations to be investigated externally and refers any potential corruption cases to the Royal Malaysian Police or the MACC.

Westports invests in technology and systems to optimise efficiency and reduce fuel consumption and emissions intensity, according to its sustainability report - Photo by Westports

The company’s strategy takes into consideration the triple bottom-line approach, says Ruben. It focuses on building a better business, enhancing the community, contributing to a better planet and incorporating the latest solutions and best industry practices to make the most informed decisions possible.

According to Ruben, its active engagement with external stakeholders facilitates the discovery of optimal solutions for all parties involved.

“A just transition would, therefore, require incorporating broader parameters, such as recapturing social externalities and getting carbon-intensive consumers and developed nations to not only set ESG requirements but shoulder their proportionate cost to maintain the trajectory towards a net-zero world,” he says.

Despite the broadening awareness of climate change, the acceleration of the decarbonisation agenda has moderated due to cost implications and a greater recognition of limitations with prevailing technologies, he says.

The need for a just transition arises as the global carbon allowance has been disproportionately utilised. Malaysia has and will need to contribute to solutions.

Still, greater financial contributions from nations that have used more carbon allowance are even more critical, as countries disadvantaged by climate change bear the impact disproportionately, stresses Ruben.

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Source: TheEdge - 28 Nov 2023

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