The Malaysian hospitality industry took a significant step towards sustainable tourism today with the launch of the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) certification for hotels and resorts. 

This pioneering initiative, a collaborative effort between the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), SGS Malaysia, and SAIMATRIX INTERGRATED, was officially launched in a landmark event at Dorsett Grand Subang. 

The event featured a press conference, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the three parties, and the video launch of the ESG Certification. Surya Kumar, Undersecretary of the Tourism Licensing and Enforcement Division from The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) attended the afternoon event as its guest-of-honour.

Why is the ESG Certification Important?
The Malaysia government in 2020 had, in an effort to restore and preserve the country’s tourism industry, launched The National Tourism policy (DPN) 2020 – 2030. This policy, which was based on the principles of Competitiveness, Sustainability, and Inclusiveness, is in line with Malaysia’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG), adopted in 2015. The ultimate aim is to position Malaysia as the ‘Top of Mind Ecotourism Destination of the World’ and to secure a spot among the global top 10 tourism destinations in terms of both arrivals and receipts.

Approved and endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture (MOTAC), this ESG Certification for Hotels & Resorts aims to provide clear guidelines and a comprehensive, holistic, and measurable checklist for hotels and resorts in Malaysia; serving as the industry’s benchmark, following the nation’s 2030 vision for sustainable tourism. 

By adopting these standards, hotels and resorts can ensure they are operating in an environmentally responsible, socially equitable, and well-governed manner.

1.Engagement and Commitment: Hotels and resorts begin their journey towards ESG Certification by participating in Basic ESG Training by SAIMATRIX INTERGRATED. This initial step exposes them to the requirements of certification and provides essential knowledge about ESG principles. By engaging in this training, establishments can better understand the expectations involved in pursuing the certification, allowing them to assess their level of commitment and readiness for the process.

2. Pre-Assessment and Gap Analysis: Following the training, hotels and resorts undergo a pre-assessment and gap analysis conducted by SGS Malaysia. This comprehensive process evaluates the establishment’s current practices and performance against the established ESG framework; identifying areas needed for improvements.

3. Implementation: Based on the findings of the gap analysis, SAIMATRIX INTERGRATED facilitates hotels and resorts to develop and implement action plans to address identified gaps and enhance their performance in key ESG areas. These action plans are tailored to the specific needs and priorities of each establishment, ensuring targeted and effective improvements.

4. Reporting: Once the necessary improvements have been made, hotels and resorts undergo a rigorous certification audit conducted by SGS Malaysia. This audit evaluates the establishment’s adherence to the ESG framework and assesses their eligibility for certification.

5. ESG Certification Award: Upon successful completion of the audit process and verification of compliance with ESG standards, hotels and resorts are awarded ESG Certification. This prestigious certification serves as a testament to their dedication to sustainable practices and responsible tourism.

6. Certification Renewals: To maintain certification status, hotels and resorts undergo yearly renewals. This ensures that certified establishments continue to uphold ESG standards and remain committed to sustainability in the long term.

Roles of Key Stakeholders
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH): As the primary driver of this initiative, MAH leverages its extensive network and platform to encourage the adoption of the ESG Certification among the hotels throughout Malaysia. MAH’s commitment to advancing sustainable practices within the hospitality industry ensures that hotels and resorts across Malaysia are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to meet the government’s ESG standards by 2030.

SGS Malaysia – As the appointed certification body, SGS Malaysia provides comprehensive services including GAP analysis, auditing, and certification. Their rigorous standards and thorough evaluation processes ensure that hotels and resorts meet the highest levels of environmental, social, and governance criteria. SGS Malaysia’s expertise in conducting detailed assessments and providing actionable feedback is critical in helping establishments achieve and maintain ESG compliance.

SAIMATRIX INTERGRATED – As the designated training provider, SAIMATRIX INTERGRATED develops structured training modules and detailed documentation, including manuals, policies, and procedures aligned with SGS auditing checklists. They also facilitate ESG-specipreparation for the auditing processes. By deriving action plans and coordinating audits and inspections, SAIMATRIX INTERGRATED ensures that hotels and resorts are well-prepared to achieve and maintain ESG standards.fic training for participating hotels and resorts, ensuring thorough  preparation for the auditing processes. By deriving action plans and coordinating audits and inspections, SAIMATRIX INTERGRATED ensures that hotels and resorts are well-prepared to achieve and maintain ESG standards.

The Next Step
Finally, to further support hotels and resorts on this ESG journey, we will be organising a series of free webinars scheduled for the 10-11th and 17-18th of July next month. These webinars will provide invaluable insights into the certification process, clarify its significance and demonstrate the tangible benefits of participation. Stay tuned for more details on how to register for the webinar via MAH emails to our members and their official Facebook page. Together, let us seize this opportunity to shape the future of Malaysian tourism and pave the way for a more sustainable and prosperous industry.

Source – MAH