49% of Korean companies have only started emissions initiatives
Korean companies have barely started implementing carbon emissions strategies despite the country’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, according to a survey conducted by the Korea Industrial Technology Association (Koita).
Out of 744 companies registered with Koita, 87.8 percent said they are making efforts to reduce carbon emissions, but 48.3 percent said they are still in the beginning stages of reaching carbon neutrality.
High costs and a lack of technology were mentioned by the companies as hindering them from implementing carbon-emissions strategies.
"The county’s level of technology does not reach even half of the highest global standard,” one respondent said.
“There are many uncertainties in reaching carbon neutrality, so we need to consider the long-term and continuous changes,” said Yoo Ji-young, vice president, LG Chem during the Carbon Neutrality K-tech Forum held on July 5 at the National Assembly at Yeouido, western Seoul.
“Until 2050, six different governments will be in charge of the matter, so consistency and predictability are important, especially for corporations.”
The Carbon Neutrality K-tech Forum was hosted by Koita to support companies achieving carbon neutrality through the development of the country’s technology.
Along with Posco Research Institute, Korea Institute of Energy Research and Korea Institute of Science and Technology, experts from private companies and energy-related institutions participated in the forum.
“Carbon neutral policies should contain mid to long-term visions and be implemented with patience,” said Kim Young-geun, CTO at LS Electric, referring to the recent successful launch of the Nuri rocket after 20 years of research and development.
The need to expand collaborative work between industries, academia and research institutions was also stressed.
“There are many regulations in regards to the environment, and it is difficult to achieve economic feasibility without any incentives in the beginning,” said Lee Seong-jun, head of the institute at SK Innovation.
“There is a need to explicitly state the role of research institutes and private company research and development, for efficient cooperation and communication.”
Academics said research and development in related future industries are essential.
“We need to focus on scaling up the technology for carbon neutrality,” said Im Choon-taek, the director of the Energy Economics Research Institute.
Co-representatives of the forum stressed the importance of reaching carbon neutrality through economic conversion and technology.
“Carbon neutrality requires an institutional conversion of the economy,” said Kim Sang-hyup, a co-representative of the forum and a professor at KAIST.
“In order to achieve economic growth through carbon neutrality, smooth conversion and actual implementation of policies are crucial. It is also important to form a partnership with countries that share the same goal.
“And through this partnership, we need to become a country that possesses irreplaceable scientific technology and capability,” he said.
“Carbon neutrality is an unavoidable mission and a factor that will affect the future competitiveness of corporations,” Koita Chairman Koo Ja-kyun said.
“We will need to overcome the current situation with the country’s technology. The forum will help suggest measures for sustainability and support the industries.”
BY KO SUK-HYUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]