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Turning Ideas into Action: LESA 2023 Brings Together Industries and #Sustain-ablers to Ensure Earth's Survival

2023-03-24 12:06

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, March 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The Asia School of Business' (ASB) Leadership for Enterprise Sustainability Asia (LESA) 2023 Conference has concluded with impactful solutions for the climate change, income disparity, and resource depletion that is plaguing the planet. It brought together more than 5400 people, with ideas and innovations from around the world to address the urgent need for sustainability. Globally renowned business theorist W. Chan Kim previewed his soon-to-be-released book Beyond Disruption, MIT Media Lab scientist Kate Darling shared her research on how humans can benefit from robotic animals, and Hannah Jones, CEO of The Earthshot Prize, established by the Prince of Wales, inspired the audience with a call to action to repair the planet within the next decade.

The event was made possible with the support of the exclusive ILEA Sponsor, Maybank, the Gold sponsor, Petronas, the Silver sponsors, Teradata and Vale, and the Bronze sponsors, FIDE Forum and Sarawak Energy.

"The time for talk has passed. We must convene people and innovations, and we need to galvanize them into action. Asia School of Business was created precisely for this purpose," said Sanjay Sarma, incoming CEO, Dean, and President of ASB. "LESA has been successful in bringing in all these great innovative ideas together; you cannot help but wonder what other hidden jewels are in Malaysia that we can use to take on the decades and centuries ahead," he added.

Innovate now, or pay up later

A central theme of LESA conferences has always been innovating within the needs and demand for sustainability. Speakers such as Hannah Jones raised crucial questions on how we approach business practices in relation to sustainability. "The first job of a Chief Sustainability Officer and the C-Suite is to ensure the company is resilient and shockproof. And the undeniable reality of climate change is the increase in its volatility, which means navigating the turbulence and suddenness. We all learned that due to Covid," she said.

With increasing awareness both in private and public sectors, more and more countries and organizations are adopting and implementing policies and legislation to combat and mitigate ecological crises. As companies adapt to these new rules and guidelines, innovative solutions are emerging, but many also lag behind. A key takeaway from the conference was that it is better to be part of the conversation, and contribute towards policies,  rather than be subject to decisions made by others.

Sustainability is not one-size-fits-all

Despite the increase in awareness, there is a significant gap in understanding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles. A focal talking point of the conference was the lack of a universal definition of sustainability. Depending on the industry, the materials usage, and the activities engaged in, it is nearly impossible for some companies to meet benchmarks set by the multitude of monitoring bodies. This may potentially discourage many from incorporating ESG earnestly, and prevent others from being effective.

"Conventional tools alone cannot solve the environmental challenges we face. To make a difference, we need people-centered climate actions prioritizing equity, inclusivity, and behavioral insights. By understanding the barriers to effective change and creating new circular business models, we can unlock opportunities while positively impacting both the environment and society," said Prof. Yi-Ren Wang, Assistant Professor in Organizational Behavior at ASB.

Implementing ESG requires a systemic approach

To make real progress, a concerted effort must be made to make systemic changes. Much like the ongoing digital transformation, implementing ESG is not merely cosmetic. Changes must occur at all levels of an organization and must be part of the ongoing conversation for all stakeholders. As climate change continues to inflict ecological harm across the globe, incorporating ESG into business at all levels will become inevitable. Without proper implementation of policies and legislation, there is a genuine risk of wasted effort and changes being mere lip service. Only with proper collaboration and monitoring can  sustainability be achieved.

The conversation continues

Although the conference brought together brilliant minds, industries willing to show leadership, and concerned global citizens, the need for more ideas, innovations, and above all action is apparent.

Conferences such as LESA are pivotal in ensuring sustainability is taken seriously. "Plan A would have been to prevent climate change. We are now at Plan B, which is to make the planet sustainable. There is no Plan C," reminded Sanjay Sarma.

About Asia School of Business

Asia School of Business (ASB) was established in 2015 by Bank Negara Malaysia in collaboration with MIT Sloan School of Management to be a premier global business school, a knowledge and learning hub infused with regional expertise, insights, and perspectives of Asia and the emerging economies.

ASB's degree and executive education programs are globally-acclaimed for leading the way in management education. Through its award-winning Action Learning based curriculum, in partnership with the corporate community and students from across the world, ASB is committed to developing transformative and principled leaders who will contribute towards advancing the emerging world and beyond.

To learn more about Asia School of Business, visit:, or check out their LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook pages.

Source: Asia School of Business
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