Top Malaysian executive sets his sights on Europe

Vinod Sekhar, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Petra Group, presents the EU with a unique opportunity to revolutionise the way rubber is recycled, writes Datu Sadja Matthew Pajares Yngson.
Vinod Sekhar, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Petra Group

By Datu Sadja Matthew Pajares Yngson

Datu Sadja Matthew Pajares Yngson is the Representative Councillor of the Caribbean ASEAN Council, and Executive Director and Envoy for Diplomatic Affairs of the Eastern Caribbean-Southeast Asia Chamber.

16 Jul 2020

Europe has set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and meet a host of environmental goals in the next decade. This is why the disruptive business model of Malaysian tycoon presents the EU with a uniquely timed opportunity.

Vinod Sekhar, one of Malaysia's richest businessmen and founder of the Good Capitalism Forum (GCF), has pioneered a unique method of rubber recycling that takes old scrap ties and turns them into “Green rubber” that can be reused for several purposes – all through a process that uses less electricity then the air conditioning units in many modern factories.

He is also no stranger to the business world, having founded his first business with the equivalent of just $21.Flash forward to 2009 – and Forbes magazine named him the 28th richest man in Malaysia.

Discussing Green Rubber in a recent interview, Sekhar said "So it's true recycling, and the recycled compound is cheaper than the original. It's one of those few products where nobody loses. I win, the manufacturer wins thanks to the lower cost, and the end user wins, too."

Such business thinking is also a key a concept behind what he calls "Good Capitalism" which he seeks to promote in Europe and around the globe. Good Capitalism is centered on the notion that entrepreneurial ventures should make a profit, but also have a positive impact on communities and the environment. He hosts an annual forum in Malaysia to promote this idea.

Sekhar has hailed how some European companies are living up to that standard. In a guest article in Pan-European media platform, Euronews, he praised the recent announcement by some 68 German companies that their government should tie COVID-19 economic aid packages to climate change.

"[Sekhar] has pioneered a unique method of rubber recycling that takes old scrap ties and turns them into “Green rubber” that can be reused for several purposes"

In Durham University’s, Global Policy Journal, Sekhar described this development as "a significant move from companies that employ over three million people and with a collective turnover of one trillion euros. These steps taken by German corporations also acknowledge that capitalism can no longer function as a zero-sum game. Safeguarding our planet, the eco-system of the global business marketplace, makes perfect business sense.” In a similar spirit of Good Capitalism, Sekhar has been at the forefront of the Malaysian business response to COVID-19.

“To this end, foundations like my own contributed personal protective equipment, test kits, food and medical aid for low-income groups. Likewise, we are pursuing a microfinance program to alleviate the burden of the economic crisis on vulnerable populations. Both of these are examples of the type of “good capitalism” Malaysia has witnessed,” he wrote within a guest post for Toronto Star this month.

Good Capitalism or social capitalism, as conceived by Sekhar, is different from corporate social responsibility (CSR) which has gone global in the last decade. In the former profit is connected to positive social output, and in the latter, it is overlooked entirely. Sekhar is no stranger to promoting big ideas and has shared the stage with prominent speakers including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and last year spoke at the Milken Institute Asia Summit.

Sekhar is Chairman and Chief Executive of the Petra Group which increasingly has his eyes set on opportunities in Europe- and this regard has made visits to Hungary and the UK for a private engagement at Windsor Castle. Yet, it is Good Capitalism, not just business opportunities that he hopes to share with Europe.

"Long-term business viability depends on supporting the collective good. How the world re-evaluates the role of capitalism and the private sector in addressing not just climate change but all collective global challenges is the defining issue of our time," he wrote in Euronews.


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