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Welcome to SME Bank's Sustainability Journey

"Institutionalise sustainability across the organisation and support Malaysian MSMEs to be sustainable by adopting low-carbon business models and sustainability practices.”

At SME Bank, we are committed to making a positive impact on society and the environment. Our sustainability journey is built on three pillars: Responsible Banking, Responsible Business Practices, and Creating Social Impact. Through these pillars, we aim to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future.



We take a nurturing and inclusive approach in our responsible banking practices to ensure the unserved and underserved businesses receive the same level of high-quality service and advice to support their adoption of sustainability practices.


Responsible business

We believe in walking talk by adopting sound sustainability practices across our organisation. We aim to achieve it by attracting and retaining the best talent and by implementing initiatives that reduces our direct environmental footprint.


Creating social

We seek to be a force for good by supporting community causes such as those that are driving positive environmental and social impact.

Through this journey, we aim to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future. Our aim to achieve Carbon neutral operations by 2030, and Net Zero by 2050.

We are aligned with the Performance Measurement Framework established by Bank Negara Malaysia, emphasizing the importance of promoting development outcomes and enhancing accountability as a public institution. Through our initiatives, such as financing underserved segments, financial inclusion, job creation, and supporting environmentally friendly projects, we aim to contribute to a more equitable and sustainable society.

Our commitment to sustainability is reflected in our three-year Sustainability Roadmap (2021-2023) which is divided into three phases:

Our sustainability journey began in 2021 with a focus on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiation and streamlining our business focus, financing policies, and guidelines.

Activities and achievement:

  • Established a RM3 billion Sustainability Sukuk Programme, which received AAA ratings from MARC, a testament to our commitment to financial excellence and sustainability.
  • Our inaugural RM500 million Sustainability Sukuk issuance which was oversubscribed by 3.56 times (bid-to-cover) at a very competitive pricing and witnessed overwhelming international investor participation, highlighting the growing importance of sustainable financing.
  • Established the Bank’s Sustainability Sukuk Framework (SSF), aligned with the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) and the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) and Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) Framework issued by Securities Commission.
  • Achieved the gold rating for our SSF from an independent external reviewer, Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (MARC), the highest rating by MARC.

At SME Bank, we believe the age-old adage that education begins at home, hence, it imperative that the SME Bank family truly embraces the sustainable mindset and lifestyle. In materialising this, various programmes, courses, trainings, and campaigns are conducted to equip our staff with the necessary tools and knowledge in our quest to embrace sustainable practices including:

  • Development of in-house ESG/Sustainability bite-sized learning series which provides our employees with a better understanding of ESG principles and sustainability practices.
  • Programmes and engagement activities such as monthly quizzes, trainings, webinars, campaigns, and contests related to sustainability.
  • Our very own sustainability tagline, "Think Sustainably, Act Responsibly," was borne out of a competition which was organised among employees. This tagline encapsulates our vision of fostering a sustainable mindset throughout the bank. It serves as a constant reminder that every action we take has an impact and that we should make responsible choices that align with sustainable principles.
  • Conduct special programmes and activities in celebration of special days i.e International Women's Day, Earth Hour, Global Recycling Day, World Sustainability Day, World Kindness Day etc. These initiatives help raise awareness and encourage our employees to actively participate in promoting sustainability.
  • Engage in meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities that aligns with environmental conservation, one of them being mangrove planting at Balik Pulau Forest Reserve, Penang. This CSR initiatives are not only carried out Bank wide but also encouraged at divisional and even individual levels. Employees can then provide report to fulfil their annual CSR hour requirements. These activities not only support government initiatives but also showcase our commitment to environmental sustainability.

We believe in empowering our staff to become the champions of sustainability within and beyond our organisation. By fostering an ESG culture and engaging in meaningful sustainability initiatives, we are committed to driving positive change and making a difference in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future.

The SME Bank Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Framework, serves as our guiding framework for sustainability. This comprehensive framework aligns our vision, mission, goals, strategy, and governance with the UN SDGs.

The SME Bank Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Framework, serves as our guiding framework for sustainability. This comprehensive framework aligns our vision, mission, goals, strategy, and governance with the UN SDGs.

Phase 3 focuses on promoting ESG adoption among MSMEs. We aim to support them in adopting low-carbon business models and sustainability practices.

  • Provide guidance reviewing and enhancing client’s business models through our Sustainability Accelerator Program conducted by Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research (CEDAR), Find out more on cedar.my
  • Support social enterprises through our social enterprise development programs. These programs provide capacity building modules and financing facilities to help social enterprises achieve positive impacts and remain sustainable.Find out more on cedar.my

SME Bank also participates in BNM's iTEKAD programme, which supports low-income microentrepreneurs and aligns with the Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating poverty. Our iTEKAD Ishraf and Penjana Komuniti program, in collaboration with CEDAR, empowers microentrepreneurs, single mothers, and Asnaf entrepreneurs. We provide guidance, coaching, and seed capital to improve their businesses.

Sustainable Sukuk Framework

SME Bank has developed its own Sustainability Sukuk Framework (SSF), which adheres to international standards set by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA), the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF), and the Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) Framework put forth by the Securities Commission

Find out more about SME Bank’s Sustainable Sukuk Framework and its latest progress relating to use of proceeds and impacts:

SME Bank Sustainability Sukuk Framework (SSF)
  • The SSF sets out the guidelines for SME Bank’s Sustainability Sukuk issuances for its Islamic Medium-Term Notes (IMTNs) programme of up to RM3.0 billion and Islamic Commercial Papers (ICPs) programme of up to RM1.0 billion, with a combined limit in nominal value of up to RM3.0 billion.
  • The proceeds from the Sustainability Sukuk issuances will be channelled to finance and/or refinance, in part or in whole, new or existing assets, businesses and/or projects that directly support 11 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Click to view the Sustainability Sukuk Framework (Revised).
  • Click to view the Sustainability Sukuk Framework.
External Reviewer Sustainability Sukuk Framework (MARC)
SME Bank Sustainability Sukuk Progress Report 2022
SME Bank Sustainability Sukuk Progress Report 2023

and Awards

We are proud to be recognized for our efforts in sustainable finance. These acknowledgments reinforce our commitment to excellence and sustainability.


Best SRI Sukuk

Alpha South East Asia


Best ASEAN Green Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) SUKUK

Alpha South East Asia


Best Sustainability Sukuk for 2021

The Asset Triple A


Sustainability Award 2021

Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (MARC)


SRI & ESG Deal of the Year Awards

Islamic Finance News


Best Sustainability Sukuk-SMEs under the Islamic Finance Awards 2023.

The Asset Triple A

Join Us in the Journey

Embracing sustainability is crucial for SMEs in shaping a better future. At SME Bank, we are dedicated to sharing our sustainability journey and providing guidance to empower SMEs. By doing so, we not only offer them a competitive advantage but also inspire ESG adoption throughout ecosystems and supply chains.

We invite you to join us in this transformative journey towards achieving our Shared Prosperity Vision 2030. Together, let's drive positive change and contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future for all.