Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), through SME360 Series of the Sustainable Nation Campaign, continued their Eco Chat Series with a special talk held in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), the discussion followed the International Women’s Day theme ‘Gender Equality Today for an Sustainable Tomorrow’ and featured several notable female leaders and change-makers in their fields.
Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) at the MCYS Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari was the guest of honour.
In her opening keynote, Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari said, “Various initiatives in sustainability in Brunei Darussalam are female-led and it has been ongoing for 10 years or longer. We have women in non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government, corporations, and academia, working towards sustainability be it in the fields of technology, energy, research, community work and disaster-relief.”
She added that women in the Sultanate have equal opportunities to engage themselves in volunteerism and climate change issues.
“Most of our frontliners and community champions who advocate for climate change and sustainability in Brunei Darussalam are women,” she said.
Among the panellists were BIBD’s Acting Managing Director and CEO Hajah Noraini binti Haji Sulaiman; co-founder of Singapore Youth for Climate Action Nor Lastrina Hamid; Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) Agnete Johnsgaard-Lewis; Head of Brunei Climate Change Secretariat (BCCS) Noor Dina Zharina binti Haji Yahya; Research and Development Coordinator at CIC Environmental Services Amanina Shofry; and Student Environmentalist, Growth BN Zoe Chan.
The discussion was supported by several youth organisations as well as government agencies including the MCYS and the BCCS to further elevate education and awareness efforts and ensuring the realisation of the government’s aspirations and goals towards 2030 and Net Zero 2050.
The conversation, participated by almost 200 attendees, revolved around sustainability, while delving into the intersection between environmental issues and gender equality.
The panellists also discussed opportunities for women and girls who are already occupying, expanding and leading roles as key stakeholders and influencers in the Sultanate, and how their present and future roles can help in the sustainable transformation of the nation.
BIBD’s Acting Managing Director and CEO discussed the importance of education and awareness in the sustainability agenda, and the various CSR programmes that BIBD carries out in support of women’s empowerment.
She said, “Through our BIBD SEED programme, for example, we empower underprivileged women with entrepreneurship skills in order for them to be financially independent. To support their financial independence, we also instil an element of financial literacy. Our hope is that this will put the women in a position where they can start to support their families, as well as other women.”
Hajah Noraini also spoke on the importance of raising awareness on sustainability, but also finding ways of translating awareness into action to make a lasting impact.
The talk also featured the release of the trailer for a documentary made in conjunction with International Women’s Day by New Wave Films, and supported by BIBD and MCYS.
The full documentary will be available for viewing on the BIBD Community for Brunei website, as well as BIBD’s social media account.
The 24-minute video will feature key female figures including present and future leaders of the Sultanate and in Singapore.
The fourth eco-chat series was a key part of the Sustainable Nation Campaign initiative and hosted by ASEAN Youth Advocates Network (AYAN). It was done as a part of the Sustainable Nation Campaign initiative by BIBD and Community for Brunei, a campaign in line with #BIBDSME360 that promotes a circular economy and targets sustainable development goals for a future-ready nation.
The public can follow BIBD and Community for Brunei on their social media channels for details on how to register for future series.
Within one of BIBD’s Sustainability Framework pillars – Responsible Entrepreneurship – BIBD SME360 hopes to provide the platform for businesses to understand their business model and how they can partake towards building a business that helps create a sustainable nation.