Companies with ESG goals generate higher returns, says Maybank CEO 

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

BUSINESSES with sustainability goals are expected to attract more compelling investments, according to Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) group president and CEO Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli (picture).

He said analysis by Maybank showed that sustainability actions will have a positive impact on an organisation’s performance. 

He said Maybank looked at about 190 companies under its research coverage across Asean+6 markets. 

“We found that those with higher environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings, as measured by Sustainalytics, generated excess returns over the MSCI All Country Asean Index. 

“This was by 8.4% year-on-year, and 3.9% per annum for three years to March 31, 2022 respectively,” he said during Maybank’s Invest Asean 2022 conference today. 

Khairussaleh said the reopening of borders is lifting growth of the Asean+6 countries under its coverage in the first half of 2022.  

He said vaccinated individuals were able to easily travel to these countries, people are returning to offices and mobility indices have largely gone back to pre-pandemic levels. 

Needless to say, he said markets remain cautious of global headwinds from monetary tightening, a US and China slowdown, and the Russia-Ukraine war. 

“What gives me optimism is how we can move forward together. 

“Maybank is committed to sustainability alongside digital innovation and building new value drivers,” he added. 

Khairussaleh said the bank has committed to achieving a carbon-neutral position of its own emissions by 2030 and net-zero carbon equivalent position by 2050.  

He said some of the initiatives include committing to purchase Malaysia Renewable Energy Certificates, equivalent to 70% of the Malaysian operations’ Scope 2 carbon emissions.  

“We are the first bank in Malaysia to do so,” he noted.

Khairussaleh said as the largest banking group in Malaysia, and fourth-largest in Asean, Maybank aims to become part of its clients’ journey towards sustainability.  

He highlighted that of the commitment to mobilise RM50 billion towards sustainable financing by 2025, the bank has already achieved over RM13.6 billion in the financial year ended 2021. 

He also said the bank has disbursed RM11.4 billion in financing to support small and medium enterprises across Asean while over 500,000 households have benefitted from its community programmes in 2021. 

“Maybank’s purpose is to humanise financial services; to make it seamless to bank with us, to be inclusive in our approach, and to work with stakeholders for the betterment of their wellbeing while creating and preserving wealth. 

“Our ambition is to build a future of shared prosperity and a sustainable Asean. I may sound idealistic but a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,” he said.