UOB Malaysia launches Sustainability Accelerator Programme to empower and accelerate SMEs’ sustainability journey

The Bank also developed UOB Sustainability Compass, an online tool to assist SMEs kick-start their sustainability journey


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 18 October 2023 – UOB Malaysia recently launched the Jom Transform - Sustainability Accelerator Programme (JT-SAP), which aims to empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with foundational knowledge and know-how to adopt sustainable practices and accelerate their transition to a low carbon economy. The launch ceremony was officiated by YB Liew Chin Tong, Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Malaysia, at the Bank’s corporate headquarters in UOB Plaza 1 Kuala Lumpur.


The inaugural JT-SAP brings together over 150 SMEs and industry associations for a three-day workshop. Participants will acquire knowledge on international case studies, key trends, solutions and insights on sustainability to help them future-proof their businesses and improve their competitiveness.


According to the UOB Business Outlook Study 20231, while 84 per cent of businesses in Malaysia consider sustainability to be important, only 37 per cent have started implementing sustainability practices within their organisations. The challenges to implementing Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) practices in the survey include insufficient knowledge, upfront costs and lack of support.


Ms Ng Wei Wei, Chief Executive Officer, UOB Malaysia, said, ““As SMEs form about 98 per cent of businesses in the country, it is important for them to join the sustainability journey for Malaysia to achieve its net zero ambitions. We are proud to launch the Jom Transform Sustainability Accelerator Programme, designed to equip SMEs with the right knowledge and tools to facilitate their transition. By adopting green practices, SMEs will be able to better manage their business risks and leverage sustainability opportunities to carve out a competitive edge for themselves.”


The JT-SAP leverages a comprehensive 3E (Evaluate, Engage, and Execute) Framework to enable businesses to accelerate their sustainability journey in a pragmatic manner. The programme is delivered in collaboration with like-minded partners, including the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC), Capital Markets Malaysia (CMM), PricewaterhouseCoopers Malaysia (PwC), Green Real Estate (GreenRE), and Thoughts In Gear (TIG).


Providing businesses with customised sustainability-readiness reports
Together with the JT-SAP, UOB Malaysia also rolled out the UOB Sustainability Compass to help local SMEs overcome their inertia and kick-start their sustainability journey. First launched in Singapore last year, the UOB Sustainability Compass takes “simplifying sustainable financing” a step further by providing businesses with customised reports based on their sectors and sustainability readiness.


Developed with PwC, the UOB Sustainability Compass report guides SMEs through a roadmap that identifies the different phases of becoming sustainable. They are educated on the regulations, standards, and certifications that affect their sectors and are recommended sustainable financing solutions to kick-start their sustainability initiatives.


During the JT-SAP workshop, participating SMEs have the opportunity to evaluate their sustainability maturity stages and receive personalised UOB Sustainability Compass reports which outline actionable steps and data points to further develop concrete ESG plans.


Mr Beh Wee Khee, Managing Director and Country Head of Commercial Banking, UOB Malaysia said, “ESG compliance has become increasingly enforced by consumers, regulators and global companies throughout their supply chains. While many SMEs understand the importance of pivoting their practices to reduce their carbon emissions, they require more assistance to kick-start their green journey. With the UOB Sustainability Compass, the Bank hopes to value-add by hand-holding these businesses to overcome their initial barriers.”


To know more about the UOB Sustainability Compass, SMEs can log on to



Ms Ng Wei Wei, Chief Executive Officer, UOB Malaysia with YB Liew Chin Tong, Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Malaysia


1 UOB conducted a Business Outlook Study in January 2023, covering 528 business owners and key executives from SMEs and Large Enterprises in Malaysia.