Sunway Malls leads sustainability education efforts for retail sector

  • More than half of Malls’ partners yet to embark on sustainability
  • Educational videos available for free to industry players

Representatives from SCAN at the launch ceremony

Sunway Malls has launched the Sustainability Collaboration Alliance Network (SCAN), a five-way partnership linked up with the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Jeffrey Sachs Centre on Sustainable Development at Sunway University (JSC), Malaysia Retail Association (MRA), and Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA). The mall group aims to propel the sustainability agenda forward for retail businesses through this alliance. 

SCAN claims it is the first alliance network in Malaysia to solely focus on sustainability in the retail industry. It aims to encourage environmentally responsible practices while nurturing a thriving business community.

On the agenda is a three-tier learning programme, known as ReX (Retail Extended Learning), comprising three tiers. The first tier featuring bite-sized videos providing a foundation-level overview of the importance of sustainability practices has been launched. The second and third will consist of intermediate and post-graduate levels, whereby retailers would be encouraged to attend seminars and conferences, followed by a Master's programme in sustainable development. The first tier is currently complimentary to the mall group's business partners, and members of MRA and MRCA.

"From an internal survey conducted by Sunway Malls on our business partners in 2022, only 46.3% are embarking on Sustainable Development Goals through some form of practices or policies. This means over 50% of our business partners have yet to commence their sustainability journey," says HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks.

"While we emphasise sustainability is an important progression, we must also recognise that building awareness, knowledge and technical capability in sustainability is essential. We need to prioritise strategies to raise awareness and reduce the cost of transition. This is a mammoth task and it needs a multiparty collaboration to see meaningful progress," he added.

It is worth noting that the retail sector accounts for roughly 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with the bulk of it occurring in the retail value chain. Interestingly, the growth of e-commerce, while digital, requires more investments in physical infrastructure given the need for logistics and warehousing, and there is an argument to be made that harnessing the existing physical infrastructure in the retail value chain to complement the projected growth in e-commerce provides a low-emissions path.

Through the launch of SCAN and ReX, Sunway Malls hopes to inspire other retail centres and retailers to integrate sustainability into their core strategies, fostering a more environmentally responsible and economically viable future. The mall group has also incorporated green procurement to catalyse sustainable consumption and production of green technology products and services in its operations and is aligned with the Sunway Group's wider goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.


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