Climate Impact Matters
Southeast Asia Countries
Many Southeast Asian countries have set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
For example, Indonesia has pledged to reduce its emissions by 29% by 2030, and countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam has committed to Net Zero greenhouse gas/carbon emissions by 2050. In order to meet these targets and achieve a more sustainable future, it will be important for SMEs in Southeast Asia to adopt more sustainable practices and technologies.
Transitioning to a better world
SMEs that fail to act urgently on climate action stand to lose a great deal in the face of rising physical and transition risks, but those that take decisive action now will not only mitigate these risks but also position themselves to capitalize on the numerous opportunities that the transition to a low-carbon economy presents.
As climate change intensifies and the risks it poses become increasingly apparent, SMEs in Southeast Asia must prioritize and act urgently on climate action. From rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities and businesses, to more frequent and intense natural disasters such as cyclones and floods, the impacts of climate change are already being felt in the region. In addition to these direct impacts, SMEs in Southeast Asia may also face indirect challenges such as supply chain disruptions and rising energy costs.
SMEs that fail to adapt and mitigate their carbon emissions risk being left behind as the global economy shifts towards sustainability. By taking decisive action now, Southeast Asian SMEs can not only protect themselves from these risks, but also position themselves as leaders in the low-carbon economy of the future.
Opportunities for SMEs
Taking action on climate presents numerous opportunities for SMEs in Southeast Asia, including improved resource efficiency, diversification into low-carbon products and services, and access to new markets. As the demand for low-carbon products and services increases and supply chains prioritize low-carbon alternatives, SMEs that are able to meet this demand will be well-positioned to succeed in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Women-owned businesses, which make up 40% of the total number of SMEs in ASEAN, are even more vulnerable to changing environmental conditions as they tend to be smaller and have less access to key resources, such as finance, networks, technology, and information. Nonetheless, research has shown that women are recognized globally as more sustainable consumers than men, and female founders are more likely to build businesses that prioritize environmental and social goals. Due to this unique leadership trait, it is important that climate change adaptation and mitigation opportunities for the business sector actively engage women and have both gender and climate-related targets and milestones.