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Korea to expand use of digital documents

The government pledged to boost the use of digital documents to around 50 percent by 2015 to help reduce carbon emissions while cutting costs.

“Korea emits more than 12 million tons of greenhouse gas and uses 4 million trees annually due to its prevalent use of printed documents. We came up with a pan-governmental plan to counter such a phenomenon,” the Presidential Committee on Green Growth said Sunday, prior to its meeting led by Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik on Monday.

The committee projected that such a move would cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tons in the next five years while saving over 10 trillion won ($8.7 billion).

Going “paperless” has widely been pursued in nations seeking sustainable growth.

Korea, which has been promoting green growth as a new development model, is no exception.

Seoul’s latest plan was devised in line with the green growth initiatives of the current Lee Myung-bak administration which has voluntarily pledged to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

The green growth committee said it particularly plans to increase the use of electronic documents at government branches, firms, hospitals and schools.

By nurturing the digital document market to be worth up to 7.2 trillion won in the next five years, the committee also speculated it will be able to create around 16,000 jobs.

The use of digital documents currently accounts for just 30 percent of the total due to their unfamiliarity and not having the same legal recognition, officials said.

To tackle such obstacles, the government said it will develop affordable devices and technologies to make electronic documents more easily readable for users.

It will also forge an improved legal system so digital documents are considered as valid as their printed versions, while developing more reliable security methods.

Possible security measures include bio-cognitive identification, time stamps, which verify when a document was created and modified, and extended use of electronic signatures on digital documents.

By Koh Young-aah (
Korea Herald Youtube