|KB Financial Group Chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo Korea Times file|
Mirae Asset and KB Financial Group have joined "RE100," the global initiative led by the international non-profit Climate Group in partnership with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), to help influential businesses commit to 100 percent renewable energy seeking zero-carbon grids on a global scale.
This is a first for financial service providers to join the drive taken by large manufacturers thus far.
According to Climate Group, the two banking groups were among four Korean firms announcing their commitment to the eco drive, alongside Korea Zinc and SK IE Technology (SKIET), raising the total number of Korean firms to 13.
Currently, 324 global companies are participating in RE100, including Google, Microsoft and Apple. In Korea, SK Group was the first to join the initiative last December.
|Mirae Asset Executive Vice Chairman Choi Hyun Man Courtesy of Mirae Asset|
Korea Zinc has declared that it will only use renewable power overseas by 2050. SK IET said up to 60 percent of its energy sources will be renewables by 2025 before it fully goes 100 percent renewable by 2030.
According to a recent study cited by the group, the failure of Korea's leading manufacturers to convert fully to renewable energy will lead to about a combined 40 percent reduction in output, due to anticipated rising fossil fuel prices and stricter regulations. This means the export-oriented country's GDP could shrink 3.8 percent.
The group said RE100 is increasingly emerging as a matter of survival for the country to remain a long-term, strong exporter in the global market.
Korean firms will be able to procure renewable energy more easily by weaning off of the current fossil fuel-heavy energy production system gradually, the group added.
KB Financial Group officially renounced its carbon-heavy investment plans last September in a group-wide directive to tackle climate change. The group's ESG committee said it will no longer invest in coal-powered business models.
The move is also part of the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) drive, as defined by the three central factors being used to measure the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business.
The financial group said it will factor in green drives in identifying new business investment plans, a step taken while rearranging its investment portfolio to put greater emphasis on firms with eco-friendly business models. These efforts will lead to the issuance of a greater volume of ESG bonds.