SK chairman plugs ‘social values’ at forum

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SK chairman plugs ‘social values’ at forum


SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won delivers the opening speech at the Shanghai Forum in China on Saturday. [SK GROUP]

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won in an opening speech at an economic forum in Shanghai on Saturday stressed the importance of social values in driving business growth.

“In the past, companies’ foremost interest was on financial issues,” Chey said at the 2017 Shanghai Forum, which runs through today. “However, our focus must shift toward social issues going forward. Now is the time for companies to give answers to problems that have been ignored over the years in the pursuit of faster economic growth.”

Chey said SK Group has been experimenting with ways to create more value beyond simply increasing employment and expanding partnerships with smaller businesses.

One recent experiment is the company’s Social Progress Credit program, which began last year to reward social enterprises with cash. Social enterprises apply commercial strategies to achieve non-monetary values like improving the environment. Through the program, SK Group converts that value into cash and rewards enterprises accordingly.

“We will assess company performance based on both the financial and social bottom line,” Chey said.

SK Group operates 13 social enterprises and supports other ventures through the Social Progress Credit program. DongbuCare, which provides long-term recuperation services for the elderly, benefitted from the program and more than doubled the number of its employees from 160 in 2015 to 350 last year.

The Shanghai Forum, now in its 12th year, is hosted by the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies, a scholarship foundation set up by SK Group, in conjunction with Fudan University in Shanghai.

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