In a pioneering step forward, Sunway Malls is taking the lead in transforming the landscape of retail by spearheading sustainability education efforts. With a commitment to creating a greener future, Sunway Malls is paving the way for retail businesses via multiple collaborations to gain sustainability knowledge to propel the sustainability agenda forward.

The mall group launched the Sustainability Collaboration Alliance Network (SCAN), a five-way partnership linked up with United Nation 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).

SCAN is the first alliance network in Malaysia to solely focus on sustainability in the retail industry. Its aim is to encourage environmentally responsible practices while nurturing a thriving business community. It cannot be denied that the retail industry, while being a key driver of economic growth, plays a significant role in carbon emissions.

By adopting eco-friendly practices, the retail players in the country are expected to reduce carbon footprint, minimize waste, and conserve resources. These efforts not only align with global sustainability goals but also resonate with the growing consumer demand for ethically produced goods and eco-conscious brands.

With the essential stakeholders of mall operators, retailers and sustainability experts under SCAN, Sunway Malls curated a 3-tier learning programme, known as ReX (Retail Extended Learning), with the first tier launched today.

The first tier emulates a foundation level, with an overview on the importance of sustainability practices in bite-sized video formats. This comprehensive platform is currently complimentary to the mall group’s business partners, and members of MRA and MRCA.

The second and third tier are intermediate and post-graduate levels, whereby retailers would be encouraged to attend seminars and conferences, followed by a Master programme in sustainable development.

“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 forms of practices or policies. This mean over 50% of our business partners have yet to commence their sustainability journey,” says HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks.

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

Through the launch of SCAN and ReX, Sunway Malls is setting a benchmark whilst inspiring other retail centres and retailers to integrate sustainability into their core strategies, fostering a more environmentally responsible and economically viable future.

“We strongly believe the retail industry needs to be equipped with the proper knowledge and tools, so informed decisions that promote sustainability can be made diligently. This bold step would not been possible if not for the foresight and boldness of our two national retail associations – MRA and MRCA, as well as with the guidance and education on sustainability from SDSN and JSC,” says Chan.

SDSN’s Asia Headquarters is responsible for initiating and coordinating continent-wide priority programs, particularly in the areas of decarbonization, biodiversity conservation, financing sustainability, and education for sustainable development.

The SDSN office in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur is its Asia Headquarters, one of only three such global centers, alongside Paris (overseeing Europe and Africa) and New York City (overseeing The Americas).

JSC on the other hand forms the hub for research and policy practice by creating world-class programmes to train a new generation of students, practitioners and policy leaders to solve SDG related issues and problems.

Sunway Malls is the first amongst the malls in Malaysia to incorporate a green clause, encouraging its retailers and business partners to adopt sustainability practices. The mall group has also incorporated green procurement to catalyse sustainable consumption and production of green technology products and services.

These efforts are part of Sunway Malls’ strive towards achieving Sunway’s wider goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.