Accelerating ESG integration in Malaysian banks

PwC Malaysia’s 2021 survey on ESG readiness in the Malaysian banking sector


Malaysian banks are stepping up in their  ESG journey but is adoption up to the mark? PwC Malaysia’s inaugural survey on environmental, social and governance (ESG) readiness among Malaysian banks indicate that there is still room for improvement. 

The level of awareness is encouraging but banks are not without their challenges when it comes to implementing ESG. 

21% of survey respondents say they have embedded all three ESG-related frameworks1 introduced as guidance for banks, into their organisations. Navigating Bank Negara Malaysia’s Climate Change and Principle-based Taxonomy (CCPT) in particular has its complexities, ranging from absence of client data or information, challenges in translating principles-based guidelines into practice, and difficulty in measuring indirect environmental impact, to lack of ESG expertise. 

Overcoming the challenges involved in operationalising ESG requires a holistic approach driven by a strong tone at the top at the board level. Investing in capability and capacity building is critical, as is the need for strong sustainability governance cascading through all three lines of defence. 

1Climate Change and Principle-based Taxonomy (CCPT), Value-based Intermediation Assessment Framework (VBIAF), Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)


say they have considered Climate Change risks


have yet to apply the CCPT’s Guiding Principles to categorise their customer portfolio


have assigned a department to operationalise ESG


Board-level training has been conducted or is being planned


have not defined metrics to monitor progress against their overall business strategy and risk appetite

What’s the way forward for Malaysian banks?

ESG strategy and alignment to corporate strategy

Consider a strategic approach to climate risk management by setting a science-based target or Net Zero strategy which is aligned to the overall corporate strategy of your bank, whilst considering the business opportunities created by climate change.

Managing ESG risks

Establish an ESG risk management framework, which is comparable to the established frameworks for financial risks, whilst also accounting for and reporting to the Board for ESG risk specific nuances where necessary.

Credit assessment

Consider incorporating ESG factors into risk rating models and frameworks to make credit risk appraisal decisions which are aligned to the bank’s overall strategy.

Culture & Capacity building

Investing in upskilling and capacity building programmes is critical, but more importantly, ensure that it aligns with your vision of the culture, capabilities, knowledge and competencies that your workforce should have.

Addressing data gaps

Identify reliable internal and external data sources to accurately reflect your exposure to climate risk, in order to facilitate robust risk monitoring and risk management.


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Contact us

Andrew Chan

Andrew Chan

Asia Pacific Sustainability, Strategy & Transformation Partner, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2173 0348

Elaine Ng

Elaine Ng

Partner, Financial Services and Risk Services Leader, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (12) 334 6243

Nik Shahrizal Sulaiman

Nik Shahrizal Sulaiman

Partner, Risk Services, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 19 650 7305

William Mah

William Mah

Partner, Climate Risk Modelling Specialist, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2173 1146