SMEC recently participated in the Sustainability & Renewable Energy Forum (SAREF) 2023 in Sarawak, Malaysia, alongside Surbana Jurong Group. Hosted by Sarawak Energy, this event brought together professionals from the energy and sustainability sectors to explore sustainable energy solutions in Southeast Asia.

Representing SMEC and SJ were: Rajan Doraisamy, SMEC Regional Manager Malaysia; Kobus Venter, GM Hydropower & Dams ASEAN; Tiew Whong Ting, SMEC Associate Hydro and Sarawak Branch Office Manager; Lim Beng Seng, SJ Senior Business Development Manager Renewables; Dennis Tan Kok Meng, SJ Senior Director Energy & Industrial; and Song Eng Liaw, SJ Director Sarawak. They actively contributed to the discussions and engagements at the event, showcasing the dedication of SMEC and Surbana Jurong towards sustainable energy initiatives.


Collaborative vision for a sustainable energy future


Reflecting on the first day of SAREF 2023, Rajan underscored the importance of collaboration in achieving sustainable energy goals. He shared, “Looking back, it is clear that collaboration is the cornerstone of a sustainable energy future. SMEC and Surbana Jurong are firmly committed to nurturing partnerships that drive renewable energy and regional connectivity.”


Kobus Venter, meanwhile, highlighted the significance of partnerships in expediting the energy transition, saying, “SAREF reaffirmed the necessity for integrated renewable energy policies in ASEAN. In hindsight, it is evident that collaboration is pivotal in progressing toward a net-zero future.”


In discussions about climate action and businesses’ role in fostering a low-carbon ecosystem, SMEC and Surbana Jurong supported insights aimed at shaping a position paper for COP 28. Rajan reflected, “Our experience at SAREF has illuminated the need to align corporate objectives with global climate targets. We have learned that this alignment calls for innovative solutions, resilient partnerships and a resolute commitment to actionable change.”


Navigating sustainable energy solutions


The second day centered on clean energy strategies in Southeast Asia. Reflecting on the discussions, Kobus emphasised the urgency, stating, “In retrospect, Southeast Asia’s pursuit of net-zero commitments by 2050 necessitates substantial measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”


Regarding the integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles into businesses and investments, Rajan shared his thoughts, saying, “SAREF 2023 has brought to light that ESG principles offer a path to sustainable business growth, harmonising ecological benefits with financial returns.”


They also highlighted the critical role of public policy, talent strategies and individual purpose in preparing a workforce for an equitable energy transition, underlining their commitment to skill development.


Diversity, equity and inclusion within the renewable energy sector were also discussed. Kobus remarked, “Inclusivity has been a key takeaway for us. It is not just a checkbox; it is a driver of innovation and progress. We now understand our responsibility in creating an environment where everyone, regardless of their background, can contribute.”


SMEC and Surbana Jurong’s participation in SAREF 2023 reaffirmed their dedication to sustainable energy practices, collaboration and their commitment to a more sustainable energy future in Southeast Asia. As global leaders in engineering and consulting, they continue to pioneer solutions aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And as Southeast Asia works toward a more sustainable energy future, SMEC and Surbana Jurong lead with expertise, innovation and dedication.