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Woori Financial vows to go carbon neutral by 2050

Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn Tae-seung (Woori Financial Group)
Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn Tae-seung (Woori Financial Group)
Woori Financial Group vowed Friday to go carbon neutral by 2050 in line with South Korea’s vision of becoming a net zero carbon society, the group said Sunday.

The first steps towards the goal would be achieving and implementing “coal-free finance,” launching a special team for environmental, social and governance tasks and establishing a committee formed of subsidiaries to discuss ESG-related strategies.

The chief executives of Woori’s subsidiaries have decided to halt all financing and bond purchases related to coal power plant constructions from now on, the banking group said. The existing investments in such projects would be halted upon their maturities.

To aid the government achieve its goal of a carbon neutral society by 2050, it plans to expand its investment in renewable energy development including carbon fuel cell, wind power and solar energy. Electric vehicle charging stations will be installed in its flagship unit Woori Bank’s branches for test-runs next year as well, the firm added.

In August, Woori has vowed to funnel a total of 10 trillion won ($9.03 billion) in projects under Korea’s 5-year Green New Deal and Digital New Deal initiatives, worth more than 100 trillion won combined, that aim to digitalize and turn Asia’s fourth-largest economy into an eco-friendly society.

“We plan to add ESG as a core value to our long-term management goals next year, which would kick start our active pursuit towards ESG management,” Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn Tae-seung said in a video conference of the group’s chief executives held Friday.

President Moon Jae-in last week pledged to support carbon neutrality in all areas of industry, the economy, and society, declaring the 2050 vision that aims to shift its core energy source towards renewable energy.

Woori is among several firms across the nation, including steelmaker Posco and the country’s largest chemical firm LG Chem, to pledge active support for the 2050 net zero carbon vision.

By Jung Min-kyung (