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Korea Economic Institute of America Presents:

The Rise of ESG in South Korea: Greenwashing or Generational Opportunity?

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Event Date

October 20th 9:00am - 10:15am EST

Event Location


Jinho Chung

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Kwang Kim

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Danny Leipziger

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Randall S. Jones

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Troy Stangarone

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John J. Brandon

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Event Video
Event Description

Report Launch

South Korea is transitioning to the era of living with Covid under a new South Korean administration, with moderate growth expected in 2022 led by semiconductors exports. While some larger firms are doing relatively well, there is a persistent perception that many in South Korea are being left behind, including non-export sectors, young people with less prospects for upward mobility, lower productivity of small and medium businesses, as well as inadequate safety nets for the elderly and other vulnerable groups. In the environment area, while many policy announcements have been made, Koreans continue to live with unhealthy air and greenhouse emissions per capita well above the OECD average. The recent rise of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards in South Korea could be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address social and environmental challenges, but “greenwashing” (using ESG more for marketing rather than real social impact) and lack of regulatory clarity remain as key barriers. Compounding the confusion is the proliferation of ESG standards, with more than 600 practiced in Korea. To address systemic ESG challenges and opportunities for South Korea, a group of leaders from the public, private, and academic sectors gathered for over a year to formulate ESG policy reform recommendations, including a presentation at the National Assembly earlier this year. The ESG report showcases a case study in East Asia for private investors interested in mobilization of responsible capital in the region as well as the substance and process of policy reforms.

This is a virtual event via Zoom.

You can download the full report in English here – OUR INSIGHTS > Insights on Korea | The Asia Foundation