Beximco Health: Beximco Adopts Cutting Edge Technology In The Fast Changing Textile And Garment Industry

Global textile and apparel makers are accelerating their digital transformation amid intensifying competition from online fashion brands and booming demand for e-commerce in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that has kept consumers at home as cities around the world went into lockdowns to curb the coronavirus from spreading.

With the pandemic upending the fashion industry, Beximco—Bangladesh’s leading textile and apparel maker—is leveraging innovative technologies to gain global market share and deepen relationships with customers in the fashion and retail industries.

“Global competition is increasing with the rise of fast fashion and digital only players,” says Syed Naved Husain, Group Director and CEO of Beximco. “Traditional retailers are under financial pressure and players such as Amazon and Primark—are fast moving and at the forefront of the digital economy and are gaining market share. Retailers that can adapt and change quickly, such as Zara and Target, are doing well, but they want to work with suppliers who can also change and adapt quickly.”

Beximco has been quick to adapt technological innovation, one of its hallmarks since it began operations over 26 years ago. The company employs advanced design, manufacturing and distribution solutions to add value to its customers’ businesses across the entire value chain. It’s a one-stop shop that gives clients best in class service with flexibility, agility and speed.

“We’ve taken a very proactive approach to the implementation of production technologies and processes that have the greatest impact on efficiency and product quality,” says Group Chairman of Beximco, A. S. F. Rahman. “We collaborate closely with our customers across the entire value chain. Beximco also invests in the education, training and skills development of all its employees, enabling them to support the production of differentiated value-added garments.”

Smart Fabrics

One area Beximco has excelled in is its use of “smart fabrics,” or textiles that leverage technology for fashion or design purposes. About 45 percent of apparel companies surveyed by McKinsey in February 2020 are looking to integrate more innovative materials into their products, a trend McKinsey describes as “materials revolution.”

Beximco makes use of performance fabrics that can be engineered to integrate features such as thermal management, quick drying, extra durability, antimicrobial, odor free, or UV protection. In partnership with brands such as Zara, U.S. Polo Assn, Land’s End and Marks & Spencer, the company makes garments that look stylish for work, but wearable for outdoor and sports activities because of features such as all-way stretch, temperature regulation and reinforced seams.

3D Design Solutions

Beximco also utilizes 3D design technology to efficiently showcase samples to clients. The digital solution—developed by fashion design software firms CLO and Browzwear—enables realistic garment simulations.

Using the software, designers can make virtual samples, see how the designs fit on models and show them to buyers at different locations, without cutting any fabric. This speeds up the design process and enables the designers to save time and resources, while identifying potential issues with the fit and pattern.

“3D processes will result in reduced approval timelines and less fabric wastage, enabling Beximco’s designers to be more creative and have closer collaboration with their counterparts at the brands,” says Husain.

SmartLab New York

Beximco customers in the U.S. can even access the company’s cutting edge technology at its SmartLab in New York. Designers and product developers who visit the SmartLab are able to develop garment washes that fit their requirement on the spot, and digitally transfer their chosen wash recipe to Beximco in Dhaka for bulk production.

The company is also building a network of “urban factories” that will help designers develop and produce a small batch of orders for trials or test marketing. These facilities can make up to 1,000 pieces of garments for quick-to-market and pre-bulk-buying runs.

“This will save customers travel and shipping time and provide them with many of the same capabilities in New York as would be available in Dhaka,” says Husain. “The SmartLab New York also allows fashion design students in the U.S. to practice creating washes and looks using the SmartLab software and immediately see their designs in actual fabrics.”

Beximco’s technology initiatives help to slash manufacturing lead times and retailers’ time to market, allowing the company to cater to fast evolving fashion trends. Recognizing the firm’s capabilities, Zara Women exponentially boosted its orders with Beximco.

Fighting Covid-19

The company’s agility and flexibility was put to the test as Covid-19 spread rapidly last year. At the height of pandemic, Beximco quickly pivoted to make fabrics for the manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The company leveraged its existing strengths in technical fabric, sewing and large scale manufacturing to launch Beximco Health—a new division dedicated to making PPE materials for the production of surgical and isolation gowns, coveralls, as well as N95 masks. The new division built a new facility, with clean room and PPE testing lab, on the group’s 20-acre (80,900-square meter) campus in a very short period of time.

Since advanced PPE testing facilities were limited in Bangladesh, Beximco formed a strategic partnership with Intertek UK to create an on-site laboratory. The 12,000-square feet (1,100-square meter) Centre of Excellence PPE Lab conducts physical, chemical and microbiological testing, enabling Beximco to obtain PPE certifications fast. Following its launch, one of the first shipments was the delivery of 6.5 million PPE gowns to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the U.S.

“The new Beximco facility marks an important step in the diversification of the global supply chain, especially for healthcare equipment,” says Earl R. Miller, the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, who personally witnessed the shipment of the PPE gowns to the U.S. from the airport. “Beximco instantly saw the dangers of this dependence and invested to meet the challenge, and it’s not the first time Beximco has risen to the challenge posed by a disrupted supply chain.”

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Petronas: An Aspiration For A Sustainable Future

India’s largest single location open access solar farm of 175 MWp at Gadag, Karnataka.

There is no doubt that climate change is one of humanity’s greatest challenges. Its effects are detrimental and range from sweeping ecological damage and community impact to potentially trillions of dollars of losses in economic cost.

Cognizant of this, PETRONAS, as a global energy solutions provider, is guided by its Net Zero Carbon Emissions (NZCE) aspiration. The goals of NZCE are driven by a clear path to combat climate change and generate near-term macroeconomic payback for the Malaysian economy while delivering a sustainable future for the world, its people and the business.

To achieve NZCE, PETRONAS has identified four building blocks to balance the energy trilemma, defined as energy security (supply), energy equity (affordability) and environmental sustainability. These are building operational excellence, making cleaner energy more accessible, accelerating technology and innovation stewardship, and investing in nature-based solutions.

Driving Forward

With this clear vision articulated, PETRONAS has already begun to pursue more climate friendly solutions and opportunities in the broader energy space, while creating new sustainable values for the organization.

These new values include boosting energy efficiencies through the increased use of natural gas and renewable energy supply capacity such as solar power and hydrogen. Complementing these efforts is PETRONAS’ commitment to lower emissions from its operations through the reduction of hydrocarbon flaring, venting and fuel gas usage.

A testament to how the company is utilizing solar power in its own facilities can be seen in PETRONAS’ Rooftops and Assets Nationwide (also known as Project SINARAN), an initiative to generate clean energy from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. To date, more than 100 sites have had their installations completed or are in various stages of planning and execution.

Besides addressing internal needs, PETRONAS leads the way with approximately 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity in operations and under-development projects across India, Dubai and Malaysia. PETRONAS’ notable projects include the 175-megawatt power solarization project, India’s largest commercial and industrial (C&I) open access solar farm in a single location. Meanwhile in Malaysia, PETRONAS has signed the largest solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) through its deal with Lotuss Stores (formerly known as Tesco), and has a wide variety of customers, from fabrication yards and research complexes to universities and utility companies.

PETRONAS has also made headway in the production of low-carbon hydrogen by looking into carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies and renewable based hydrogen production pathways. In the near future, it plans to collaborate with key customers and hydropower suppliers to produce zero emission (green) hydrogen.

In addition, PETRONAS is currently looking into solutions for nature-based carbon offsets in order to preserve and restore these natural carbon sinks.

Addressing Climate Concerns

To further complement these efforts, PETRONAS continuously seeks to collaborate with innovators who share a similar vision to combat climate change and meet energy needs while maintaining business sustainability. This is why PETRONAS is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which works with other corporations to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and ensure societies move toward a sustainable future.

With its Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 pledge, PETRONAS is progressively looking for solutions and will continue to do what is necessary to achieve its long-term sustainable energy targets.

Malaysia Prepares For Post-Pandemic Resurgence In Medical Tourism

Before the pandemic struck in 2020, Malaysia’s medical tourism industry had been growing year over year, contributing US$400 million to the national economy in 2019. In that year alone, the country welcomed 1.2 million visitors seeking medical services and treatments ranging from fertility, cardiology and oncology to orthopedics, neurology and health screenings.

World-class Healthcare

“Our strength as a key player in the medical tourism industry lies in our easily accessible world-class healthcare services offered at a comparatively affordable price thanks to government-regulated ceiling rates,” says Mohd Daud Mohd Arif, the CEO of MHTC.

MHTC CEO, Mohd Daud Mohd Arif

“Once known as the ‘Hidden Jewel of Asia’ for medical tourism, we have since been recognized as the Destination of the Year for healthcare travel from 2015 to 2017, and most recently in 2020, awarded by the International Medical Travel Journal,” continues Mohd Daud.

“With over 200 private hospitals and many highly qualified physicians and specialists, waiting time for consultations and treatments is minimal. There is no barrier to communication as English is widely spoken and translators can easily be arranged for non-English speakers. For post-treatment options, Malaysia has a myriad of world-class spas and resorts, wellness centers and health-centric tourist attractions on offer, although this may be limited at the present time due to the pandemic,” he adds.

MHTC is an agency under the Ministry of Health tasked with promoting Malaysia as an international healthcare destination. The agency also serves as a one-stop center for all matters related to healthcare travel—ranging from handling of inquiries and business development to safeguarding regulations and facilitating applications.

Forging Resilience

The insigHT virtual conference held in Kuala Lumpur last year.

Malaysia, like most countries around the world, is emerging from the pandemic with a slew of initiatives to kickstart the economy, and “forging industry resilience” is one of the key strategies. In line with this, an upcoming virtual conference by MHTC with a similar theme, named insigHT2021, will be held from November 16 to 18. 

Held annually, the event is a medical travel market intelligence conference that gathers thought leaders and partners from within the country and abroad to collaborate and advance the healthcare travel industry in Malaysia and the region.

The conference will gather some of the top minds from around the world to discuss topics ranging from the future of healthcare and implementation of travel passports to the convergence of hospitality and wellness, and how the industry can work together to achieve common goals.

Besides hospital and healthcare administrators, the conference is expected to attract industry players, professionals and officials from travel, tourism, pharmaceutical, real estate, government and many other sectors.

“New global tourism trends will emerge in 2022, and the future of travel will be impacted by socio-economic shifts, digital innovations and new travel experiences. As professionals in the industry, we must be prepared for what lies ahead and forge resilience,” says Michel Julian, United Nations World Tourism Organization’s program officer and one of the key speakers at the upcoming conference.

Conference participants from around 40 countries will get the chance to exchange ideas and knowledge with peers through private online meetings and roundtable discussions. Participants will also get the opportunity to build their company’s visibility among industry players while brushing up on upcoming trends and post-pandemic recovery strategies. An e-business card download facility will be available to make it easy for participants to expand their networks and connect with their peers.

Redefining Purpose Beyond Profit

Corporates in Asia and the rest of the world are devoting more and more resources toward achieving socially responsible and sustainable outcomes as they seek to make a positive impact globally.

This trend has been accelerated by the pandemic, as remote work, changing consumer behavior and rising inequality have forced companies to rethink their priorities and adjust their strategies to adapt and thrive. Meanwhile, the challenges posed by the climate emergency continue to loom large on boardroom agendas.

According to a report by Deloitte, there is also growing evidence to suggest that companies with superior Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) performance will also do well financially over the long term.

This drive to demonstrate ESG performance has led to an upsurge in companies looking to establish sustainability targets, from measurably reducing carbon emissions and single-use plastics, to ensuring that new building projects meet globally recognized certification standards.

Leading the Way

In the wealth management space, more of Asia’s leading business families are seeking out advisors who can help them invest with purpose and social impact. This comes as they are poised to pass an unprecedented amount of wealth on to a new generation of more socially aware family members.

To address their needs, financial institutions such as HSBC Global Private Banking are incorporating sustainability considerations into their investment and advisory processes. With an extensive network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the bank has also been supporting progressive clients in realizing their philanthropic ambitions, preserving their legacy and making long-lasting impact in the wider community.

Sustainability has also come to the fore in the real estate sector. For instance, Hong Kong-based Sino Group has been committed to making a positive impact through its vision of Creating Better Lifescapes, which aims to help communities thrive by embracing green living and wellness, pursuing meaningful designs, and seeking innovation while respecting heritage and culture.

Reflecting its commitment to this journey, Sino Group last year introduced its Sustainability Vision 2030, a blueprint charting the company’s path toward 2030 and beyond. This ambitious plan establishes goals that are in line with Sino Group’s three pillars of Green Living, Innovative Design and Community Spirit, and also aims to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Thanks to forward-thinking companies such as these, Asia is moving purposefully toward a more sustainable and socially responsible future.

Beximco LPG: Fueling An Energy Revolution

Beximco’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business has been leveraging technology to accelerate the country’s transition into more sustainable energy systems. The company’s innovative LPG solutions provide a safe, reliable and environment-friendly energy source to meet the everyday needs of the country’s population of more than 160 million. More recently, the company became the first LPG operator in Bangladesh to start exporting LPG to India.

“We are proud that the combination of our downstream value chain and customer insights, together with our unparalleled strength and the expertise of our team, positions us to potentially become the largest downstream oil and gas company in Bangladesh,” says Shayan F. Rahman, Chairman of Beximco LPG. “We’re not just focused on the development of the critical infrastructure related to storage, bottling and distribution. We also have strong emphasis on establishing a differentiated position with our smart LPG solutions to make us the consumers’ preferred provider.”

Safer Fuel For Households

The company was the first to introduce and is the exclusive provider of fiber glass composite LPG cylinders in Bangladesh. These innovative cylinders are explosion proof, light weight, translucent and has a longer lifespan compared to traditional steel cylinders.

Such innovations help developing nations like Bangladesh to switch from using dangerous fuels such as coal and kerosene to LPG for household activities such as cooking. In such markets, individuals often have to physically carry heavy steel LPG cylinders across difficult terrain over long distances, making the task extremely challenging.

Beximco’s next-generation cylinders are very popular among consumers in Bangladesh. The company distributed a record of more than 1 million composite cylinders in the past 12 months. To date, the company has distributed more than 2 million composite cylinders, providing a safe environment to thousands of households and industries including hotels, restaurants and cafes across the country.

The company has also worked to ensure that this safe product is readily available to consumers through a robust distribution network that features home delivery and emphasizes rapid digital evolution through the establishment of an integrated e-commerce platform for convenient and timely purchases.

“Our key competitive advantage has always been to be on the leading edge of the innovation curve, and be able to deliver the greatest possible value and experience to our customers,” says Mrinal Roy, CEO of Beximco LPG. “The Beximco Smart Cylinder™ technology is far more cutting-edge as compared to the traditional steel cylinders.”

As a testament to its success in innovating, Beximco LPG was named “Master of Reinvention” by Bangladesh Brand Forum in 2019 for introducing composite cylinders and making homes safer.

“We are proud that the combination of our downstream value chain and customer insights, together with our unparalleled strength and the expertise of our team, positions us to potentially become the largest downstream oil and gas company in Bangladesh.”


Cleaner Fuel For Automobiles

Beximco also provides greener energy solutions for automobiles through autogas, a cleaner LPG alternative to petrol. Many developed countries such as Italy, South Korea and Japan have programs for conversion of private cars, taxis and other light duty vehicles to autogas as it is more economical, safer and eco-friendly.

In the long run, LPG is a more cost-effective solution that will allow users to travel a far greater distance compared to conventional compressed natural gas. Vehicles using LPG also produce much lower carbon dioxide emissions compared to traditional fuels. Today, Beximco LPG is licensed to operate over 500 autogas filling stations throughout the country. It also runs facilities that convert petrol cars into autogas-fed vehicles.

Driving Bangladesh’s Development

Home to more than 35 million households, Bangladesh is one of Asia’s fastest growing frontier markets. As the country diversifies its energy sources with development of cleaner fuels such as LPG and liquefied natural gas, Beximco is on a mission to establish a downstream network that ensures the nationwide availability of LPG and encourages more households to use LPG to improve their standard of living and well-being.

In support of its mission, Beximco continues to rapidly expand its LPG storage and bottling plant capacity, while scaling its distribution network and other associated infrastructure. The company also continues to develop effective strategies to accelerate the adoption of the Beximco Smart Cylinder™ by making it more accessible and affordable to all Bangladeshis.

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Beximco: Leading The Way To Sustainable Fashion

With climate change seen as the most pressing global challenge over the next decade, more consumers are rewarding businesses that place sustainability at the top of their corporate agenda.

This scrutiny has been especially heavy in the textiles industry, which is traditionally seen as a major contributor to global warming. The sector emits an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, surpassing emissions from airlines and maritime industries combined.

Against this backdrop, Bangladesh’s Beximco has emerged as a global leader in sustainable fashion manufacturing. Founded 26 years ago, the company counts Amazon, Bershka, Marks & Spencer, Michael Kors, Pull & Bear, Target and Zara among its customers.

Amid rising demand for ethically-produced clothes, the company has put sustainability at the heart of its operations by employing a range of advanced manufacturing and supply chain management solutions—from using recycled materials to adopting an on demand manufacturing model—to meet the changing needs of its customers.

With its investments in sustainable and financially viable projects, Beximco is at the forefront of the eco fashion trend. At the same time, it also supports the production of garments that are affordable, durable, comfortable and aesthetically appealing to the customer.

“Every single brand and retailer that we work with has told us that sustainable manufacturing is an absolute necessity going forward,” says Syed Naved Husain, Group Director and CEO of Beximco. “They’ve made it clear that vendors who cannot supply ethical and sustainable clothing will eventually have a very limited role in this industry.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards sustainable products. A survey conducted by McKinsey in April 2020 showed that some 67% of consumers consider the use of sustainable materials to be an important factor when making purchases.

“We have some really exciting and revolutionary plans that will reduce the time, energy and effort to bring products to market and at the same time ensure the welfare of our communities and value chain partners.”


Integrated Value Chain

Beximco’s achievement in sustainable production is also helping Bangladesh shed its image as a low cost manufacturing hub, and leading the country’s progress to integrate into more important global value chains.

“Beximco recognizes that the traditional approach to textile and garment production is no longer tenable,” says A. S. F. Rahman, Group Chairman of Beximco. “Integrating new technologies, embracing workplace innovations, adopting sustainable efficiencies are but a few of the critical changes that must be made to meet the changing demands of customers and markets.”

Today, the Dhaka-based company is considered one of the most prominent eco-friendly fashion manufacturers in the region. “We are proud to have made significant advances and progress in the area of sustainability,” says Rahman, “We have some really exciting and revolutionary plans that will reduce the time, energy and effort to bring products to market and at the same time ensure the welfare of our communities and value chain partners.”

Recycling With Recover

Recycling waste materials to manufacture high quality yarns is at the core of Beximco’s sustainability initiatives. Beximco has partnered with Recover Textile Systems—a Spanish recycling technology company that specialises in turning textile waste into premium fibers—to become the world’s largest collector and recycler of textile waste and a specialized spinner of high quality recycled yarn.

Recover collects and sorts textile waste from around the world to produce new fibers that contain recycled cotton, blended with other recycled materials such as polyester from plastic water bottles. The high percentage of cotton means that such yarn can be used in the production of high-end textiles.

The results are impressive. Recover’s process score is 1 on the Higg Index—the best possible score on the industry standard for measuring environmental sustainability. In comparison, garments made from conventional cotton have a Higg score of around 70, while organic cotton has a score of around 45.

“All products made out of Recover textiles can be recycled at the end of their lives, returning into the system for a new production loop,” says Husain.

Sustainable Washing

Beximco is also pioneering the use of sustainable washing processes that are not only more friendly to the environment, but able to achieve a look and feel that matches consumers’ preferences, while remaining cost competitive.

The conventional washing process for denim fabrics uses large amounts of fresh water, chemicals and energy, as well as produces waste and downstream effluents. To address these issues, Beximco collaborated with leading sustainability tech players such as Jeanologia and Tonello to modify the washing process.

Beximco adopted Jeanologia’s 5.0 laundry technologies such as ozone to replace bleach, lasers to replace chemicals and smart foam to replace water to produce jeans. As a result, the company’s fresh water usage declined to a mere 1 liter per garment from 70 liters using conventional washing methods. That results to savings of as much as 900 million gallons of water per year.

On Demand Manufacturing

In another effort to eliminate waste, Beximco is working with e-commerce giant Amazon to implement an on demand model of manufacturing that’s more economical and sustainable.

While traditional clothing manufacturing is done months in advance of sales, an on demand product is only made after the sale is booked. The product is then shipped in just a few days. As a result, fashion brands will no longer have costly inventories to dispose of at the end of each season.

“In an on demand model, Beximco’s customers do not need to order thousands of something that they may never sell,” says Husain. “There’s no inventory, no fabric wastage and no warehousing.”

With on demand manufacturing raising the pressure to deliver products under a constrained timeline, Beximco has worked to optimize every process to speed up production without sacrificing quality.

Higher Efficiency Cuts Waste

Other sustainability projects Beximco has undertaken are aimed at increasing the company’s productivity and reducing waste by updating its technology and equipment.

For instance, the company upgraded its effluent treatment plant with new technology from the U.S. That’s necessary to protect the environment as effluent treatment prevents the discharge of hazardous substances that can contaminate ground water and cause illnesses and other issues.

Beximco’s commitment to sustainability is also evident at its headquarters in Beximco Industrial Park—a green campus spread across 400 acres (1,600 square kilometers) in Gazipur, an industrial district north of Dhaka. Local residents call the campus the “Lungs of Gazipur” since it’s home to over 100,000 trees and an organic farm. The entire park has been awarded LEED Green certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The company’s numerous sustainability efforts are one of the key measures of success that are considered by the company. “The role of sustainability is a fundamental KPI we have defined linked to long term success,” says Rahman. “It should not only be measured from an economic dimension but from a social and environmental one in terms of the well-being of people and the health of our planet.”


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Petronas: Onwards To A Sustainable Future

As a global energy and solutions partner, sustainability has always been at the forefront of PETRONAS’ agenda. It deeply understands the need to spearhead efforts towards a sustainable future.

PETRONAS’ sustainability journey began more than two decades ago with the integration of environmental, social and governance practices into its business and decision-making.

Driven by a clear agenda, PETRONAS strives to explore new opportunities and drive growth for the business, guided by the four sustainability lenses (see box). PETRONAS declared its aspiration to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in November 2020.

Cleaner, Renewable and New Energy

PETRONAS’ sustainability journey sees more solutions being introduced as part of the strategies including its foray into the cleaner, renewable and new energy sector. In 2016, PETRONAS introduced its first Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (PFLNG SATU), a game changer which can process gas from offshore fields with depths of up to 200 meters. Their second PFLNG (PFLNG DUA), is the world’s first deep-water floating LNG which is currently operating at water depths up to 1,500 meters. The PFLNG can transport offshore LNG without the need for pipelines, making this a more sustainable way of extracting and processing gas.

Amplus solar farm in Karnataka, India.

The journey continues through the acquisition of Amplus Energy Solutions in 2019, which has now successfully grown its total solar capacity in India and Malaysia to almost 1GW under operation and development.

While in the cleaner energy space, PETRONAS has recently set its focus on producing hydrogen fuel—an efficient energy output that is sustainable, leveraging on technology for the production and transportation of hydrogen.

Behind The Scenes

PETRONAS’ sustainable efforts are also aimed at protecting the environment. For example, it sponsors the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area in Sabah, which advocates research, reforestation, public education and the training of future stewards. Its gravity-based water systems—dubbed “Water for Life”— in Malaysia, Iraq and the Republic of South Sudan supply clean water to over 100,000 residents since 2013.

In the area of education for local communities, more than 31,000 students have benefited from various academic programs and training courses offered by Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Institut Teknologi Petroleum PETRONAS, and Akedemi Laut Malaysia.

PFLNG SATU processing gas from the Kebabangan Cluster field in Sabah, Malaysia.

End Goal

PETRONAS recognizes that the key to its sustainability agenda is to continue looking for new ways to strengthen regional cooperation and create the right ecosystem to promote a broader usage of energy from clean and sustainable sources. This is also why PETRONAS joined over 200 forward thinking companies as the newest member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in 2020.

As PETRONAS moves towards a sustainable future, it will continue to align its business strategies toward global sustainable energy trends. This will enable PETRONAS to meet the demands of the energy trilemma—defined as security, sustainability and affordability—in ways that will create positive social impact while safeguarding the environment.


Redefining Logistics: How FedEx Navigated The Pandemic Challenge

Kawal Preet, president of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region at FedEx Express

For global logistics leader FedEx, the pandemic created a key challenge: How to build a future-proof supply chain network. While Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the global economy and disrupted transportation networks around the world, FedEx moved swiftly to ensure shipments continued to flow around the world.

“Thanks to our network and capabilities, FedEx never stopped and kept critical shipments moving,” says Kawal Preet, president of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region at FedEx Express. “As demand surged with the severe shortage of air cargo capacity stemming from the grounding of passenger flights, we’ve flexed our network and increased our flights. That helped keep packages and relief supplies moving.”

As the pandemic upended industries, companies had to make their businesses more agile and resilient to deliver value to customers and shareholders at the same time. To do this, businesses are building decentralized supply chains to move away from reliance on a single production location which can shut down overnight in times of crisis, Preet says.

A strategic shift in supply chain management mindset from “just in time” deliveries to “just in case” inventories is necessary, says Preet. “This model favors the increased use of multi-modal and more economical delivery solutions.”

E-Commerce Pivot

Aside from reinventing the supply chain, businesses will also have to increasingly embrace the digital economy. While e-commerce was already booming before the pandemic, the crisis accelerated its growth momentum.

To tap into the digital economy’s rapid growth, companies—especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups—are stepping up their digitalization, allowing businesses to expand into new markets.

Transitioning these traditional businesses to online platforms can be simplified by partnering with the right logistics providers. FedEx, for example, offers solutions that help integrate logistics services into e-tailers’ web platforms in addition to day-definite business-to-consumer solutions.

Supporting SMEs

SMEs—the hardest hit by the pandemic—are looking for support to return to profitability. “Nurturing SMEs and entrepreneurs remains a top priority at FedEx,” says Preet.

SMEs can capture global opportunities by leaning on logistics providers that provide convenience and cost savings while expanding their reach. Digital tools such as Electronic Trade Documents for faster customs clearance, and FedEx Delivery Manager which enables customized delivery services at no extra cost help customers achieve those savings.

Apart from providing small businesses efficient logistics services, FedEx recognizes that entrepreneurs often require financial support to fast track their growth. This is the aim of the company’s annual FedEx Small Business Grant Contest (SBGC). First launched in the U.S. in 2012, the programme expanded to other international markets, including AMEA, in 2016. To date, SBGC has awarded over 200 businesses with grants and prizes totaling more than US$2 million.

Small But Significant

Supporting SMEs is vital for the recovery of the global economy as these businesses comprise close to 90% of enterprises and employ more than half the world’s workers, according to the World Bank.

To help drive the recovery, FedEx is committed to providing SMEs with the services and support to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities and expand their businesses globally. To cater to the rising exports from the Asia Pacific region, FedEx had in June added new flights, particularly on the trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe routes.

“This is just the beginning,” says Preet. “We have ambitious goals ahead to continue playing a critical part on the path to recovery.”

Beximco Pharmaceuticals: Setting The Bar High For Generic Medicines

As the pandemic upended the healthcare supply chain over the past year, one company in Bangladesh did not only strive to ensure the continued distribution of medicines across the country, but also introduced its own antidote against Covid-19.

In the midst of the unprecedented health crisis, Dhaka, Bangladesh-based Beximco Pharmaceuticals introduced remdesivir, the world’s first antiviral drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat those infected by the Covid-19 virus. Originally developed by U.S.-based Gilead Sciences, Beximco sells the generic drug under the brand name Bemsivir.

The company, which is a leading manufacturer and exporter of generic drugs, provided Bemsivir shots free to all government-designated Covid-19 hospitals in Bangladesh and donated large quantities of the medicine to several countries, including India, on humanitarian grounds.

“From the very beginning of this pandemic, Beximco Pharma has made an all-out effort to improve access to all repurposed drugs by ramping up their production in the quickest possible time,” says Nazmul Has-san MP, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Beximco Pharma. “Despite tremendous challenges, Beximco has worked to ensure the uninterrupted supply of medicines throughout Bangladesh.”

The company is also playing a vital role in supplying vaccines to Bangladeshis, having secured 30 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.

The drug maker is now lending its expertise to a global initiative to ensure sufficient supply of drugs to fight the virus. In November 2020, it joined Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed public healthcare organization working to ensure the availability of life-saving medicines to low- and middle-income countries.

“As we grow, we continually strive to meet the needs and expectations of our stakeholders and society as a whole.”


A Leading Healthcare Player

Beximco Pharma’s proactive and humanitarian approach to combating the Covid-19 pandemic is part of its larger commitment to putting corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the core of its values.

“As a socially responsible corporation, Beximco Group constantly strives to make a positive impact in the communities we operate in,” says Shayan F. Rahman, Principal and Advisor to the Board of Beximco Group. “To this end, we have in place numerous programmes that make a truly unique contribution to development in Bangladesh. At Beximco, we believe we have a central role to play in creating positive social change.”

Beximco Pharma started operations in 1976 by importing products from leading drug makers Bayer from Germany and Upjohn from the U.S., before acquiring the license to manufacture these products domestically.

The firm has grown by leaps and bounds since then and has played a key role in the transformation of Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical industry from an import-dependent nation to an exporter. With a 4,500-strong workforce and a diverse portfolio of 500 products, the company is also emerging as a major global generic drug producer.

Beximco Pharma’s manufacturing facilities are accredited by leading regulatory authorities worldwide, and its products are now being exported to more than 50 countries, including the highly regulated markets of the U.S., Europe and Australia.

The company has also differentiated itself with its capabilities in hi-tech dosage delivery systems, such as metered dose inhalers. Today, the firm is the largest producer and exporter of inhalers in Bangladesh.

Enhancing Health and Well-Being

Beximco Pharma’s vision is to enhance human health and well-being by providing effective medicines at affordable prices and manufactured in full compliance with world-class quality standards. It also aims to be one of the most trusted, admired and successful pharmaceutical companies in the region, with a focus on strengthening research and development capabilities as well as creating partnerships and building presence across the globe.

“Beximco Pharma strives to provide access to life-saving therapies and make them affordable—at a fraction of the cost when compared to other developed and developing countries,” says Hassan. “The price of medicine in Bangladesh is probably the lowest in the world. Being a leading manufacturer, we have played an important role in introducing generic versions of many breakthroughs drugs and making them affordable to the patients.”

To realize these ambitions, the company has adopted a set of core values that encompass a commitment to quality by leveraging best industry practices. It also prioritizes talent development and strictly adheres to the highest ethical standards. At the same time, Beximco Pharma actively takes part in initiatives that benefits society and contributes to the welfare of its people.

Breaking New Ground

Beximco Pharma has been a trailblazer in the industry over the past four decades. It was the first Bangladeshi company approved by the USFDA and first to export medicines to the U.S. The firm also has the highest number of global accreditations in the industry among all local manufacturers and is the only Bangladeshi firm listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.

Despite its achievements, the company isn’t resting on its laurels. It continues to make significant investments in R&D—equivalent to 1.5% of its annual revenues—particularly in areas such as biosimilars and vaccines, as it seeks to become a key player in the global market.

“We are the only Bangladeshi company to export medicine to the U.S. and within a short span of time the U.S. has become the largest export market for us,” says Hassan. “This was possible largely due to our stringent quality standards and commitment to excellence.”

Unsurprisingly, the company has won numerous accolades for its achievements. It is a five-time winner of the National Export (Gold) trophy, and remains the only company in Bangladesh to win highly prestigious global awards, including the SCRIP Awards, and the Global Generics and Biosimilars Awards, among others.

Looking a head, Beximco Pharma aims to ramp up contributions from its export business, expand its presence in regulated global markets and increase its focus on vaccines, biosimilars and oncology drugs. It also aims to foster more international collaborations and partnerships, and is also looking to make strategic acquisitions.

Giving Back to Society

As a responsible corporate citizen, Beximco Pharma focuses its CSR activities on healthcare, education for the underprivileged, and research in the areas of medical devices.

The company helped to fund biomedical research in developing a number of low-cost medical devices, including the country’s first negative pressure isolation canopy to protect doctors working in Covid-19 hospitals. It also fully sponsored the country’s lone clinical trial on a potential Covid-19 treatment.

Furthermore, the company collaborates with non-profit organizations that work to improve people’s lives through research, information and advocacy. For instance, it supports the JAAGO Foundation, the country’s largest youth-based volunteer organization. In a separate initiative, the company has sponsored several computer learning schools in remote districts across Bangladesh in partnership with U.S.-based Computer Literacy Program.

“As we grow, we continually strive to meet the needs and expectations of our stakeholders and society as a whole,” says Rahman. “We strongly believe we can only be successful if we create value not just for the company but also for the society, we live in.”

To find out more

Petronas: Gearing Up For The Future With Cleaner And Renewable Energy

Adnan Zainal Abidin, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of PETRONAS G+NE

PETRONAS shares this vision for a greener future, guided by its Net Zero Carbon Emission 2050 goals. To drive this vision, PETRONAS established the Gas + New Energy (G+NE) business division, a one-stop center for cleaner energy solutions. G+NE will chart the course to ensure that PETRONAS continues to evolve as a cleaner and renewable energy provider, while supporting the energy transition.

“With PETRONAS’ diversified energy portfolio under G+NE, we have introduced forward thinking technologies and have tailor made our solutions to ensure our customers benefit from cleaner and sustainable energy covering natural gas, renewables and hydrogen,” says Adnan Zainal Abidin, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of G+NE.

Integrated Value Chain

Over the years, PETRONAS has developed its capabilities and an integrated value chain to provide reliable and accessible cleaner energy in order to meet the growing global energy demand.

As a leading Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) supplier, PETRONAS operates one of the world’s largest LNG facilities in a single location in Bintulu, Sarawak. It also has presence across Egypt, Australia, and soon Canada, enabling the company to deliver LNG to more than 25 countries worldwide.

PETRONAS is also the world’s first owner and operator of two floating LNG (FLNG) facilities, which can produce almost three million tons of LNG per annum for its customers. PETRONAS’ leadership in FLNG technologies has redefined the LNG industry, allowing energy companies to monetize and unlock previously uneconomical and stranded gas fields, while safeguarding the environment.

The company’s public listed subsidiary, PETRONAS Gas Berhad, has been the backbone of Malaysia’s gas market, supplying customers with solutions that include gas processing, gas transportation, LNG regasification and utilities, as well as the provision of cross border pipelines.

PETRONAS also provides its customers innovative solutions such as LNG Bunkering to promote the use of cleaner fuel in the marine industry. To reach remote industries with no access to direct LNG infrastructure, PETRONAS offers solutions such as virtual pipeline systems that deliver LNG in ISO tanks onboard trucks.

In pursuit of renewable energy sources, PETRONAS continues to build its presence and capacity as a world-class solar energy provider with its fully-owned subsidiary, Amplus Energy Solutions based in India. Today, PETRONAS has over 1GW of solar capacity in operation and under development in India and Malaysia.

As for hydrogen-based solutions, PETRONAS has through the years been producing blue hydrogen—a byproduct of its LNG production process—and is now exploring the commercial production of green hydrogen. These solutions assure customers that PETRONAS is able to produce efficient clean energy output that’s reliable and sustainable.

PETRONAS’ floating LNG facility and solar farms reflect the firm’s commitment to cleaner energy.

Sustainable Business

In addition to providing cleaner and renewable energy solutions, PETRONAS is also embedding sustainability into its businesses by growing the use of solar energy to power its operations and production.

Along with this is PETRONAS’ commitment to Malaysia’s own Green House Gas emission reduction agenda and the nation’s aspirations to increase renewable energy mix by advocating greater usage of solar and hydrogen as a clean energy carrier.

“Behind our shared purpose is our incredible employees, customers and stakeholders who will continue to heed the call and work towards building a greener and sustainable future,” says Adnan.