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Posco hails its ‘corporate citizenship,’ vows to strengthen ESG drive

South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum (center left) and Posco Chairman Choi Jeong-woo (center right)pose with other officials during an opening ceremony of Change Up Ground, Posco’s startup incubator center in Pohang on Wednesday. (Posco)
South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum (center left) and Posco Chairman Choi Jeong-woo (center right)pose with other officials during an opening ceremony of Change Up Ground, Posco’s startup incubator center in Pohang on Wednesday. (Posco)

Posco, South Korea’s biggest steelmaker, celebrated its achievements in the three years since it declared “corporate citizenship” as a guiding business principle, and vowed to strengthen its commitments to environment, social, and governance issues on Wednesday.

Holding a celebratory symposium in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, where its main steel plant is located, Posco Chairman Choi Jeong-woo explained how Posco has made an achievement of contributing to establishing a greener business environment and to improving people’s safety.

Choi said Posco has set a new focus on eco-friendly materials to strengthen its businesses -- in steel products and auto parts for electric vehicles, secondary battery and hydrogen projects.

Posco declared its management philosophy “Corporate Citizenship: Building a Better Future Together” in July 2018, to identify itself as a member of a society and one that fulfills the role and responsibility of coexistence and symbiosis for the betterment of a society.

In a talk with Choi, William Barnett, a professor of business leadership, strategy, and organizations at Stanford University, noted that Posco is playing a leading role to set values and standards that conglomerates should pursue, by setting its own management principle on corporate citizenship.

According to Choi, Posco is conducting environment-friendly activities to expand usage of steel byproducts and establish a recycling system for waste resources.

Posco’s long-term plan is working to establish a support system and a global network with the government, for development of hydrogen steel production system that does not emit carbon dioxide, to help achieve the country’s 2050 net-zero goal, Choi said.

“This has been a great opportunity for us to reaffirm that, when the company promotes values of coexistence and symbiosis together with different interest groups, it leads to bigger corporate values that is sustainable,” Choi said.

In the afternoon, Posco also held an opening ceremony for its startup incubator center, Change Up Ground, in Pohang. It is the second of its kind to be established by the steelmaker, after the one in Seoul.

Under its business fostering program “Challenge With Posco,” the company has been working to provide platforms for ventures and small businesses, the company said.

Attending the opening ceremony, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum praised the establishing of the incubator facility.

“Fifty-three years ago, when a steel mill was built on the sandy ground of Pohang, not many were sure of its potential. Now, Posco has become the heart of Korea’s economy,” Kim said.

“Change Up Ground would become the biggest startup incubator facility that is located outside of the country’s Metropolitan region. I wish for this place to grow into ‘Pacific Valley’ that can compete with Silicon Valley.”

North Gyeongsang Province Gov. Lee Cheol-woo and Rep. Kim Byong-wook of the People Power Party, representing a district in Pohang, also attended the event to celebrate the launch of the center.

“Pohang Change Up Ground has opened under the vision that it will become another version of Silicon Valley located on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the biggest achievements for us to establish a venture platform to create jobs and gain new drive for growth,” Choi said.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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