Malaysia will be launching the long-awaited Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) Exchange on Dec 9 to drive the nation’s environmental change and sustainable goals.

The Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) deputy secretary general Datuk Johan Mahmood Merican said regulators have played a key role in introducing new products and also in initiating markets towards sustainable financing.

The VCM is an initiative under the purview of the MOF and the Ministry of Environment and Water, while Bursa Malaysia Bhd was given the mandate to implement the VCM Exchange.

Johan said scaling up sustainable finance is timely for Malaysia, which is still at an early stage of its sustainable journey to achieve net zero carbon by 2050, at the earliest, and maintain over 50% of natural forest cover.

“We are certainly keen learners. There’s still a lot that we need to do,” he said during the second day of the Global Green Finance Leadership Programme, organised by the World Bank and the Beijing Institute of Finance and Sustainability.

Johan added that providing the necessary economic incentives for all stakeholders, particularly the private sector, to take the collective action required.

He said the government itself has started to track its budget by Sustainable Development Goals components.

“I think an important element of public expenditure is how do you then also provide funding not just in pure government programmes but those in partnership through conditional grants,” he said.

Johan said the steps taken by the government allow Malaysia to identify where the gaps are, and this should also strengthen the government’s green procurement policies in the future.

“We need to be also looking at our subsidy rationalisation to provide market economic market signals to encourage emissions reductions.

“But beyond just incentivising the corporate, we mustn’t forget the role of the people at large. I think one area that we’re looking at is how we also encourage the general public to also play their part in terms of behavioural changes and to promote green consumption,” he added