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Swedish firms join forces to aid Korea’s green growth

Swedish companies in South Korea pledge to support Seoul's initiative to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at a ceremony held in the Swedish Embassy in Seoul, May 13, 2021. (Swedish Embassy)
Swedish companies in South Korea pledge to support Seoul's initiative to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at a ceremony held in the Swedish Embassy in Seoul, May 13, 2021. (Swedish Embassy)
Thirteen Swedish companies based in South Korea pledged to support Seoul’s initiative to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, at a ceremony at the Swedish Embassy in Seoul on Thursday.

“Our own Swedish experience shows that green growth and innovation is a winning strategy, both the climate and for our wallets. It has simply become common sense to future-proof industries across the world and first movers are amply rewarded,” said Jakob Hallgren, Swedish ambassador to Korea.

The Green Transition Alliance, which comprises Ikea, Volvo Cars, Volvo Trucks and 10 other companies, said it will reduce carbon emissions and encourage its Korean partners and the Seoul government to do the same.

Fredrik Johanssan, chief executive and sustainability officer of Ikea Korea, said electric vehicles will be used for every delivery by 2025, adding that his company will also build green infrastructure to facilitate the carbon-cutting process.

“We borrowed it from our children. We did not inherit it from our parents,” Johanssan said, referring to the Earth and echoing a statement that has been attributed to many different thinkers over the years.

Lee Yun-mo, CEO of Volvo Cars, said every vehicle sold here by the company will be fossil-free by 2030, describing the next-generation models as “rechargeable cars.” Park Gang-serk, managing director at Volvo Trucks, said half the company’s trucks sold across Europe will be electric by 2040.

The nascent alliance highlighted investment in technology as key to bringing about a green economy.

“We need the private sector to be the change agents for net-zero carbon emissions and to bring to bear all of their innovative ideas and financial prowess to invent and roll out the necessary green technologies,” Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary General, said in a video message.

Ban, who is president of the Global Green Growth Institute, a treaty-based global group that promotes green growth, said he supported expanding partnerships between Korean and Swedish firms for the green transition to include both governments and civic groups to meet more ambitious carbon-cutting targets.

Yoo Yeon-chul, Korea’s ambassador for climate change, welcomed the alliance, describing Sweden as exemplary in showing stable growth while making the transition. Businesses invest while governments make policies and community members pitch ideas, he said.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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