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Danish tech ambassador sees room for more ESG cooperation

Danish tech ambassador Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen (Denmark Embassy in Seoul)
Danish tech ambassador Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen (Denmark Embassy in Seoul)

Denmark has a lot of room for increased cooperation in strengthening public-private partnerships as well as in the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, realm with Korea, Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen, Denmark’s tech ambassador said in an email interview with the Korea Herald.

Saying that the Danish-Korean green growth alliance launched in 2011 shows Denmark and Korea are on track to strengthening public-private partnerships and ESG, Larsen said that Korea’s hosting of the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals, or P4G, summit reaffirmed mutual interest in sustainable solutions to climate change.

According to Larsen, the concept of P4G is to create public-private partnerships with purpose, with a focus on the renewable energy sector, and there are great opportunities for strong partnerships in fighting climate change.

“During the P4G Summit in Seoul this May, Korean President Moon Jae-in and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen agreed to elevate the strategic partnership to a comprehensive level based on a four-year Joint Action Plan signed in 2021,” she said.

Larsen stressed that the plan refers to the UN Sustainable Development Goals as guiding stars across four pillars of cooperation: sustainability and green transition; health and life science; science, technology and innovation; and political and economic cooperation.

“Denmark is on the halfway mark to reaching our commitment of reducing greenhouse gases up to 70 percent by 2030 and Denmark needs innovative ideas and technology to reach its final goal, and therefore look to partnerships with countries like Korea,” Larsen said.

According to Larsen, methods by democratic governments to regulate and promote technologies should contribute to larger societal goals, including ESG ambitions, and it is central for governments to ask themselves how Korea and Denmark approach technology to increase accessibility, affordability and applicability.

“However, Denmark cannot of course dictate what the Korean government should do,” she added.

“Democracy cannot be taken for granted or ‘achieved’ and then not prioritized subsequently, rather, democracy is constant process that ensures every citizen, irrespective of background or situation, has voice (in) their country’s governance,” Larsen said, highlighting the governance aspect of ESG.

Larsen said that Denmark acknowledges governments’ role to set frameworks for how technology can support democracy, a robust democratic debate and for developing and using technology that respects and protects the rights of citizens -- for example, the rights to privacy and expression.

The tech ambassador described Korea’s Digital New Deal as an interesting and ambitious initiative that encompasses many areas where Denmark has complementary political interests, strengths and operational experience where good synergy is expected.

She cited an example of health care as an area where there was a lot of similarity between Denmark and Korea’s approach to technology.

“The digital new deal includes a plan to build 18 smart hospitals throughout Korea by 2025 by upgrading existing hospitals by implementing technological solutions. The Danish government on the other side, has also been running a ‘Super Hospital’ program that integrates and upgrades hospitals throughout the nation since 2015,” she said.

Larsen underlined enhanced bilateral cooperation in sectors such as smart hospitals, big data, artificial intelligence and robotics.

She suggested notable areas with great potential for synergy related to smart energy schools and smart water management, with digitalization and educational technology being key collaboration topics.

“There is also actually some overlap with the Korean Green New Deal here, with knowledge sharing and cooperation increasingly taking place for energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage, and circular economy as well,” she said.


By Sanjay Kumar (sanjaykumar@heraldcorp.com)
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