Categories: SpeechesPublished On: 13/01/2022

PAIB Committee Members, Distinguished Speakers, Ladies & Gentlemen

Good afternoon and welcome to the 10th CFO Circle, a high-level virtual gathering for senior finance leaders. MIA has intentionally created this exclusive platform to bring together CFOs to share experiences, learn from best practices and engage on critical issues shaping business and the profession.

Today’s session is especially critical as we are focusing on ESG in the New Normal: A Corporation’s Lens. Hot button issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, wealth gaps, rising poverty and eco-sustainability, among others, have put pressure on companies worldwide to prioritise the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda. As we can see, the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently, the devastating flood emergency has not only damaged lives and assets but also disrupted supply chains and dampened economic recovery.

CFOs and corporates must also be prepared to adapt as institutional investors escalate ESG considerations in their dialogues, policies and decision-making. Recently, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) announced that it would announce a sector sustainability policy framework by year-end as guidance for its future investments, that will comply with ESG practices. Another game-changing move for ESG, especially climate resilience and decarbonisation was Blackrock’s announcement that it will continue “pushing companies to disclose a net-zero aligned business plan consistent with their business model and sector.” Blackrock is the world’s largest asset manager with US$9.5 trillion in assets under management as of October 2021. In addition, CFOs and corporates must also be cognizant of the increasing scrutiny of ESG issues by their stakeholders and regulators and the impact of poor ESG practices on their resilience, reputation and markets.

The Joint Committee on Climate Change (JC3) has also recently finalised the Reference Guide on Climate Risk Management and Scenario Analysis, which sets expectations for financial institutions to integrate climate-related risks considerations in financial institutions’ business and risk strategies. This further emphasises the need for financial institutions to focus on identifying and leveraging on opportunities as well as mitigate challenges in support of the climate transition. Institutions are also now best positioned to set mechanisms and reporting systems in place to advance the financial sector’s response to climate risk.

As members of the C-suite and advisors to boards, CFOs are in a prime position to influence, manage and report on enterprise ESG strategies and systems. Recognising this, MIA is aligned with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the global profession as we work to position the profession as leaders and strategic advisors on matters such as climate governance, carbon neutrality and sustainability through our support of key UN SDGs.

To figure out the ESG priorities for organisations and enterprise, especially those that resonate with climate matters, today’s programme featuring an esteemed panel of subject matter experts and the profession’s representatives will focus on:

how companies should respond to and integrate ESG into their purpose and systems, and

what role can CFOs play in this transition to sustainability?

First, we will hear from Phang Oy Cheng, Executive Director – Governance and Sustainability, KPMG and next from Sharath Martin, Senior Policy Consultant, ACCA. This will be followed by a panel session moderated by Simon Tay, MIA’s Executive Director, who will be joined by Oy Cheng, Sharath, Asri Hassan Basri, Group Chief Corporate Officer of Axiata Group Berhad and Azizan Abd Aziz, Group Chief Financial Officer of BIMB Holdings Berhad. The panel has been composed to provide perspectives from the profession and industry.

To further support CFOs and accounting and finance professionals on their ESG journey, MIA would like to invite you all to sign up for our new ESG programmes scheduled for 2022. Providing a deep dive into ESG for accountants and finance professionals that will help support enterprise regulatory compliance, investor ESG engagement and stakeholder scrutiny, MIA together with the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Malaysia will deliver a highly interactive series of seven ESG-focussed courses that will guide participants on managing and leading ESG organisational transformation and systems integration. The ESG series will upskill accountants with practical guidance on implementing sustainability, materiality assessment, enterprise risk management, human rights and environment, carbon foot printing and reporting for organisations, natural capital, and natural capital assessment.

For more information on the ESG series, do get in touch with the MIA team. MIA is confident that today’s CFO circle event and the upcoming ESG series will be useful building blocks and tools in a volatile and uncertain business environment rife with ESG and climate change risks. Please enjoy today’s session and do stay safe. Thank you.