Mentee Circle holds its first Fireside Chat with Velesto Energy


Early this week the MenteeCircle from the 30% Club Malaysia Board Mentoring Scheme held a Fireside Chat on “Board Diversity, Sustainability, and Governance”. 

About 100 participants including the mentees from the six cohorts attended the virtual event, to learn from the guest speaker, Rohaizad Darus of Velesto Energy Berhad, speaking passionately about the topic. 

The event started off with an opening address by Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, Founding Chair of 30% Club Malaysia. She said that Velesto is indeed leading by example, as women directors currently represent 44% of Velesto’s board.

The company, Velesto Energy Berhad which has been included and has scored highly in the FTSE4 Good Bursa Malaysia Index (which rates a company’s ability to manage its ESG issues) is also in the top quartile of Tier 1 for Sustainability Disclosures to Bursa Malaysia. 

On this note, one of the questions that Savita Saigal, the moderator of the Fireside Chat posed:

“It has been and, in some instances, still a challenge for corporations to convince their stakeholders to invest in Sustainability agenda as this requires a financial commitment, planning, and manhours. Stakeholders being profit-driven would rather plow back into the business. 

Therefore, do share with us how Sustainability was introduced into Velesto and what were the challenges you faced with your stakeholders?”

In reply, Rohaizad had elaborated, into three parts

Lead and Manage
– Velesto is fortunate to have Government-related funds (who are our major shareholders), so Sustainability and Governance are part of the business emphasis.

– Convincing the management (top to bottom).

– Building a robust infrastructure to implement the company’s value system and deploying standard practices such as iLEAP, QHSE focus, including implementing cost savings programmes and CSR initiatives.

These approaches have made it easier for the company and people to accept. Having said that, we still face some challenges.

– Staff were unfamiliar with the new Sustainability concept and were confused with existing practices, 

– Costs and operations issues compounded 

– Over expectations and concerns on reporting requirements 

Overcoming the Challenges
– Optimised on communication with our staffs at various stages – meetings, townhalls, formal and informal;  

– Continued to allocate budget, albeit at a smaller scale to maintain momentum; 

– Convinced the Operations team on the benefits of Sustainability and its impact on everyone 

-Prioritised on what can be achieved first and managed expectations where necessary   

– Gradually embraced reporting requirements

– Shared experiences with the rest of the world

The Fireside Chat is the second event by the Mentee Circle, a networking group that helps foster better collaboration among mentees and enhances the visibility of board-ready candidates.