To Reduce, Recycle, and Replace Single-Use Plastic Bags, Students Are Empowered by NaSIC ’23
In July 2021, Lotuss Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Lotus’s Malaysia) began phasing out single-use plastic bags at checkout lines, saving 26 million pieces from ending up in landfills and the ocean. Today the retailer teams up with the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Kuala Lumpur to organise the first National Sustainability Innovation Challenge 2023 (NaSIC’23) in order to further address the issue of circularity within the retail landscape. The fact that Lotus’s Malaysia is the first retailer of its sort to launch such a challenge through a public-private cooperation demonstrates the company’s dedication to sustainability.
The launch of NaSIC’23 was officiated virtually today by Yang Berhormat Puan Yeo Bee Yin, member of Parliament (Puchong), Yang Berhormat Puan Jamaliah Jamluddin, member of Selangor State Legislative Assembly (Bandar Utama) accompanied by Professor Ts. Dr Ali Bin Selamat, Dean for MJIIT, UTM Kuala Lumpur, Professor Ts. Dr Abd Latif Bin Saleh, Pro-Vice Chancellor UTM Kuala Lumpur and Azliza Azmel, Executive Director, Corporate Services of Lotus’s Malaysia.
NaSIC’23 is a platform to give students aged 16 to 19 from schools across Malaysia the opportunity to learn to develop and share impactful sustainable solutions to reduce, recycle and replace single-use plastics within the retailer’s stores. 130 teams from 77 schools enrolled when the challenge was first announced on 12 April 2023. At today’s launch, 50 teams were shortlisted for the semi-final round and will be competing for the five top spots in the finals that will be held at Lotus’s Selayang on 22 July 2023.
“We are thrilled that MJIIT-UTM has chosen Lotus’s Malaysia as their partner for NaSIC’23. I am looking forward to the proposals submitted from the students to bring in fresh perspectives and sustainable solutions that we can adopt within our business operations. This is one of the many ways to make sustainability integrated into all aspects of education and make Malaysian youth feel empowered in creating a sustainable future,” said Azliza Azmel, Executive Director, Corporate Services of Lotus’s Malaysia.
Throughout the month of May and June, 150 students from the 50 teams will undergo a series of follow up workshops guided and facilitated by experts from MJIIT-UTM. The participants are expected to pitch their innovative ideas virtually via the Webex meeting platform on Saturday, 17th June 2023 for a place in the finals.
Prof. Ts. Dr. Ali Selamat, Dean of MJIIT-UTM elaborated, “Overall, this competition was carefully crafted to include in the problem-solving process to generate innovative ideas to help them gain valuable soft skills. Our facilitations in the workshops were developed based on the design thinking framework and the Need, Approach, Benefits and Competition (NABC) pitching model. This helps the students to identify solutions and to communicate effectively. As an institution of higher learning, UTM plays an important role to raise awareness, teach and prepare the next generation to address real-world challenges experienced by retailers like Lotus’s Malaysia.”
The promising solutions to reduce, recycle and replace single-use plastics will receive prizes worth more than RM2,500. MJIIT-UTM will further develop the winning idea into a feasible operational solution that will benefit Lotus’s Malaysia and potentially the retail industry.
For more information on NaSIC’23, visit its official website: https://mjiit.utm.my/chee/nasic23/