An advocate for sustainability


Freida Razali

Freida Razali first crossed paths with Sunway Education Group when she decided to enrol in the Canadian Matriculation Programme in Sunway College back in 1994 prior to commencing her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration through the American Degree Transfer Programme with Western Michigan University. It did not end there as she decided to later pursue her Master of Business Administration from Victoria University in Sunway.  

Freida currently holds a position as the Senior Manager of Sustainable Industry in Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC). Between 2016 to 2023, she was assigned to multiple roles from Training, Corporate Communications, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Energy Management, Youth Entrepreneurship, and now in the Sustainable Industry unit under the Climate Action Group. Her role is to help organisations adopt green and sustainable business practices by providing advisory, consultancy, assessments, and the tools needed to adopt a green and sustainable business.  

Freida said that her interest to join the green technology and climate change industry stemmed from enjoying nature due to her involvement in the Scouts and interest in reading about the latest gadgets in the market. Hence, when an opportunity came in 2016 to join the industry, it was considered a natural transition for her after 8 years of operating a petrol station.  

Throughout her time in the industry, Freida was involved in capacity-building related projects. This included bringing youths together to develop green and sustainable practices as part of a challenge organised by industry partners. On top of that, she was instrumental in organising the Education Week at the International Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan, and bringing students and academia to showcase their green technology innovations at the Expo. They were all challenging, but equally memorable and enriching.

Of course, it was not all sunshine and rainbows. There will always be challenges along the way. Among the challenges the green technology & climate change industry are currently facing, Freida points out the issues of technological readiness to scale and the cost of green technology in Malaysia. There are technologies which are widely implemented in Japan, Europe and America with medium to low cost. However, in Malaysia, it is implemented on a smaller scale due to the high cost, regulations, or lack of knowledge in understanding of the green technology. Another challenge is to change the mindset of leaders to adopt green and sustainable practices in their business operations, and in so cultivating the habits of consumers to do the same.

That said, with challenges come opportunities to grow and develop. The Circular Economy has potential growth mainly in the recycling, upcycling and repurposing of materials especially in the construction industry. On how the individual’s effort can help in making an impact on addressing climate change, Freida highlights reading and attending knowledge-sharing sessions about climate change and its effects is essential to gain and spread awareness on the said topic. Once knowledge and understanding are acquired, a person can make gradual changes to their lifestyle by eating less meat and dairy, cycle, walk or carpool more, plan your journey better to reduce carbon emission, use energy-efficient appliances and lighting, refuse plastic packaging as much as possible, bring from home your own grocery bag for shopping, do composting, support green businesses and products and join a local or global movement that works on climate issues.

If anyone wishes to follow Freida’s footsteps in the industry, she said, “A person would need to have Smart skills to work with people such as emotional maturity, validation, cognitive readiness, and followership. Also, the need to have Sharp skills to work with machines such as digital literacy, system dynamics, etc. The Smart and Sharp skills concept was coined by Professor Loredana Padurean when she was working at the Asia School of Business. I highly recommend her book “The Job is Easy, The People are Not! 10 Smart Skills to Become Better People”. The book summarises smart and sharp skills a person can develop today in any industry.”  In addition to those skills, Freida emphasised the need to be inquisitive as an essential skill one should have to stay ahead.

To start out in this area, Freida encourages you to identify a sector that you are interested in to begin your career, such as financial institutions, education, construction, media, property, or aviation, as all sectors would need knowledgeable people to help organisations tackle climate change for their businesses. If you are embarking on a career shift, do your own research for the role you are interested in pursuing or work on a project related to green and sustainability in your existing company first. For those who want to start a business in this industry, seek a good and experienced mentor and few key members who are skillful. Expanding your knowledge beyond this industry and networking with as many people as you can is essential in securing your steps in this industry.

Freida speaks from experience as studying in Sunway has provided her with an education that allowed her to experience studying locally and abroad. She gained a wider perspective to learning and interacting with people from various cultures and backgrounds which became a useful skill in her career. She made many friends in her journey at Sunway, and they remain connected via social media. Some of her friends even went on to become her business connections! As a Sunway alumna, Freida is able to guide budding potentials on their journey by contributing her time and talent as a mentor in the Sunway Mentoring Programme. She is truly grateful for the work she is able to do and also to contribute back to the institution in her own way.