As environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) investment and projects gain momentum worldwide, the two largest in-house counsel associations in Korea – the Korean In-house Counsel Association (KICA) and the In-house Counsel Forum (IHCF) – have joined forces to organise four webinars in September, which deal with ESG-related regulations and legal disputes, as well as countermeasures for companies.
“While CSR focuses on ethical and compliant corporate behaviour, ESG initiatives more robustly focus on finding business opportunities to proactively enhance corporate value, social contributions and making sustainable governance structure,” Chae Jooyup, vice president of the KICA, told Asia Business Law Journal.
“Korean companies are well aware that they cannot survive under rapid environmental changes such as climate changes and pandemics if they don’t change proactively,” said Chae. “That’s why they are investing in ESG robustly in recent years.”
The webinar was opened on 2 September by Kim Min-seok, director of the Sustainability Research Institute, who presented an overview of the cause of significant trends in ESG-related projects. Yoon Yong-hee, a partner at Korean law firm Yulchon, followed with a presentation analysing ESG-related government policy and some standards that companies should follow.
In the second webinar on 9 September, head of the National Pension Service, Lee Dong-seop, introduced the tasks of the country’s public pension fund in ESG-related projects. Choi Min-yeon, CEO of asset management company BlackRock Korea, talked about sustainable investment from an investor’s perspective, while Choi Soo-bin, a lawyer from the Korea Exchange, discussed ESG-related disclosure.
On 16 September, Seol Tong-keun, a partner at Korean firm Lee & Ko, spoke about environmental risk management in ESG. Lee Yoon-jeong, a partner at Kim & Chang, discussed legal issues and dispute cases surrounding carbon neutrality, while his colleague, Oh Min-young, presented the topic of energy transformation related to ESG.
The final webinar on 23 September began with Lee Jun-hee, the head of the ESG centre strategic group at Korean law firm Jipyong, who explored ESG management and compliance, while law professor of Kookmin University in Seoul, Nam Yu-sun, discussed the current status of ESG in Korean financial companies. Finally, Kim Won-jin, a lawyer at Yulchon, analysed ESG-related dispute cases.