Conforming to the post-COVID_19 new norm, the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit was held virtually this year.  As a member of the UN Global Compact community and given its focus on Sustainability, the QI Group made its presence at this virtual summit via the active participation of its Executive Chairman, Vijay Eswaran, as a panellist at the South East Asia Plenary session – Sustainable, Resilient Supply Chain: Companies and SMEs Building Back Better for a Sustainable and Resilient Business.

As part of his remarks, Eswaran called on the business community, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to re-design their wheel, reform, transform and more importantly to conform to the new norm.

“We need to wake up to the new reality, to conform to the new needs of the day. We need to reform the way we are doing things and transform ourselves into a brand new entity,” he said.

“The business community of suppliers need to focus on sustainability. We at QI have a code of ethics drawn up for our suppliers. Our products need to be sustainable in nature and sourced ethically. They must be a part of the circular economy. Price is not the only factor anymore in the supply chain. We have to remember that suppliers are also entrepreneurs. They understand that to survive despite the odds requires that they need to create a brand new identity focused on sustainability,” he explained, in keeping with the theme of maintaining sustainable supply chains.

Eswaran also stressed the importance of advancing responsible business and achieving global sustainable development goals, how the COVID-19 crisis affected QI’s sustainability strategy, and how best companies and SMEs could strengthen their supply chain and build back a better and sustainable future for their businesses, including by fully embracing the digital revolution to adapt to the new economy. This was particularly so when SMEs form about 97% of the Asia Pacific enterprise population.

“We have to be prepared for the challenges especially the transition from hybrid marketing to digital-based experiences. Many have not yet come to terms with the new norm. The reality is that things are changing, and we have to re-engineer everything. We had to learn to quickly adapt to working remotely and operating solely within the digital pace. Fortunately, our learning curve was fast, and we were able to adapt and recover without a significant impact to our business.” he added.

Other members of the planery session were Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Business Federation, Pieter Nuboer, Asia Pacific President, DSM Nutritional Products, Shahamin Zaman, Asia Pacific Regional Network Council Chair of the Global Compact with Bartlet Edes of the North American Representative Office, Asian Development Bank serving as moderator of the panel.

The lively session discussed innovative and collaborative action between entities to make sustainable efforts more feasible, discussing different approaches for corporations while assessing the room for improvement within their businesses to drive sustainability efforts within their supply chains.

The QI Group is commited to make a positive impact in the lives of its people, the communities in which it operates and the environment. Guided by its sustainability pillars; Empowering People, Transforming Communities and Safeguarding the Environment, the QI Group aspires to help build a better and sustainable tomorrow.