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Korea Leaders Summit 2019

2020-03-09 11:38

Korea Leaders Summit 2019

The UN Global Compact Network Korea (GCNK) hosted the Korea Leaders Summit 2019 in the Grand Ballroom of the Federation of Korean Industries building on October 24, 2019, to share global trends and insight on corporate sustainability. With over 350 representatives and officials from GCNK member companies, the government, international organizations, civil society and academia in attendance, the event served as an effective venue for constructive discussion and in-depth knowledge sharing.

The Summit commenced with the warm welcoming remarks of Mr. Dong-Kurn Lee, President of the GCNK, greeting the guests and stressing how “corporate sustainability is a timely demand and an undeniable reality, as well as a global trend, for business” and how “this Summit will be a valuable opportunity to discuss the vision, challenges and countermeasures for sustainability and discover potential business opportunities.”

Mr. Tae-shin Kwon, Vice Chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries, subsequently shared his congratulatory remarks, acknowledging how “the top 500 domestic companies had spent over 2.6 trillion KRW on social philanthropy last year, an amount that is 1.5 times larger than Sejong City’s annual budget.” Furthermore, Mr. Tae-shin Kwon celebrated the progress made by “Korean companies voluntarily taking the initiative to resolve social issues, such as climate change and unemployment, and create fundamental changes in the social and environmental realms.”

H.E. Ban Ki-moon, the 8th United Nations Secretary-General and Honorary Chairman of the GCNK, Mr. Gun-ri Lee, Vice Chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, and Mr. Hyun-Mo Koo, Former President and the Head of Customer & Media Division of the KT Corporation, also attended the event as keynote speakers.

H.E. Ban Ki-moon’s keynote speech underscored the significant role companies play today in advancing the SDGs and combating climate change. Pointing to the fact that “even the most resourceful countries or companies cannot achieve anything alone”, the former UN Secretary-General warned against the weakening tide of multilateralism, especially against the “countries that have led the world through multilateralism but have come to undermine multilateralism themselves”. In response, H.E. Ban Ki-moon called on the private sector to” lead the fight against the world’s most pressing challenges, including poverty, climate change, violent conflict and corruption, and promote sustainable economic development”. In doing so, “companies should continue to pursue and develop corporate sustainability; and to that end, companies can actively recognize their social, environmental and economic influence and internalize SDG business management with determination.”

Mr. Gun-ri Lee’s, Vice Chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, keynote speech on “Joint public-private efforts to establish an uncorrupt society based on trust” shed light on the positive correlation between the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and GDP per capita. “A study led by Seoul National University researchers found that a 10-point increase in CPI boosted economic growth by 0.52 percent and created more than 50,000 jobs annually. Similarly, studies conducted by Harvard University showed that a 10-point increase in CPI led to an average tax cut rate of 7.5 percent for companies. These findings show that raising the level of national integrity is not a matter of moral authority, but the biggest task for sustainable development in our society." The second part of Mr. Gun-ri Lee’s speech shared the Commission’s own private sector integrity diagnostic model, which provides self-diagnosis tools that individual companies can use to measure their integrity levels, and also emphasized the importance of cooperation in creating a fair society, stressing that “because corruption exists in every part of our society, the role of anti-corruption activities, with close cooperation and participation between both public and private sectors, is very important.”

What was special about the 2019 summit was that it also celebrated the launching of the GCNK’s first local LEAD Group, which is made up of 10 model Korean companies leading the effort to not only advance the SDGs within their organizations, but also encourage others to do the same. The 10 selected organizations are: △Amore Pacific, △DGB Financial Group, △Doosan Corporation, △Korea Telecom Corporation (KT), △SK Telecom, △Yuhan Kimberly, Ltd., △Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water), △National Pension Service, and △Transparency International Korea.

Following the LEAD Group launching ceremony, the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) was introduced and a ceremony was held together with 16 companies and institutions that pledged support for the new initiative. WEPs participants include: △Yuhan Kimberly, △Korea Midland Power Co., Ltd., △Women’s News Inc. △KB Financial Group, △BPW Korea Federation of Business & Professional Women, △Bucheon Woman & Youth Foundation, △Korea Gas Safety Corporation (KGS), △Anyang Urban Corporation, △Korea Forestry Promotion Institute (KOFPI), △CJ Cheil Jedang, △Kyobo Life, △DGB Financial Group, △Seongnam Development Corporation, △Korea Fire Institute, Doosan Corporation and Lotte Corporation.

For the last keynote speech, Mr. Hyun-Mo Koo shared KT’s sustainable management strategy and best practices under the theme “KT’s SDGs & Warm Businesses.” He stated that “the growth engine that enables KT’s sustainable growth is creating people-oriented technology for everyone” and shared the company’s vision for “KT and society to grow hand in hand in a way that enables everyone to enjoy access to transparent information, fair opportunities and convenience through its platform.” Mr. Hyun-Mo Koo concluded with the statement that “KT will continue to create social value and advance the SDGs with its warm technology created for the people.”

The Business Integrity Society (BIS) launching ceremony was held during the last morning session. BIS is a 3-year global joint anti-corruption project sponsored by the Siemens Integrity Initiative. The launching ceremony was attended by representatives from the sponsor and partner organizations, which includes Siemens Korea, the partner organization; Korea Sustainability Investing Forum and cooperating institutions; and The Korea Academy of Business Ethics.

The afternoon sessions were held after the luncheon, featuring a variety sub-sessions, such as “Social Responsibility Investment for Corporate Sustainability”, “Corporation and Human Rights”, “SDGs and Business Opportunities”, ”Empowering Women’s Competencies in Business”, “The Unification of Korea and SDGs”, and many others.

■ Special Session - <Socially Responsible Investment for Corporate Sustainability>

Mr. Dae-Woong Lim, Korean Representative of the UNEP/Fi, acted as the moderator for the <Socially Responsible Investment for Corporate Sustainability> session, and Mr. Sung-je Choi, Director of the Trustees’ Office of the National Pension Service Investment Management, and Mr. Shin-bo Wn, Head of the BlackRock Investment Stewardship Team, represented the panel. Focusing on responsible investment activities such as Sustainable Investing (SI) and ESG Investing, the special session facilitated productive discussions around the topic of socially responsible investment, helped learn about socially responsible investment and its influence through examples based on domestic and international trends and findings, and encouraged companies to respond and participate in a more active manner.

■ Concurrent Session – <Business and Human Rights>

The <Business and Human Rights> concurrent session was co-hosted by GCNK and the Ministry of Justice in Grand Ballroom Hall 1. The session aimed at not only raising awareness of human rights responsibilities among domestic public institutions and private companies, but also coming up with an effective measurement system for quantifying progress on human rights management, for which officials in charge of human rights management and social values shared their opinions.

Moreover, GCNK introduced the recently published “Business and Human Rights: Due Diligence Guideline” and shared human rights management trends, drawing examples from domestic and international cases. Ms. Soo-Ah Kim, Chief of the Ministry of Justice Human Rights Policy Division, Ms. Eunkyung Lee, Chief Researcher at GCNK, Mr. Kwang-bok Yang, Director of the National Pension Service Investment Management, Mr. Jae-yup Jeong, Director of Changshin Inc., Mr. Jung-soo Kwak, Editorial Writer for Economic Affairs Division at Hankyoreh, Mr. Byung-hwa Lee, an attorney at Lee & Ko, Ms. Jung-min Han, Research Fellow at BSI Group Korea, and many others attended the session. The session played an important role in that it brought together various stakeholders, including the government, public institutions, businesses, media, and human rights experts, to identify limitations in internalizing human rights management, find solutions through trial and error, and discuss practical ways for establishing a culture of respect for human rights.

■ Concurrent Session – <SDGs and Business Opportunities>

A second concurrent session, <SDGs and Business Opportunities>, took place in Grand Ballroom 3. Co-hosted by GCNK and the Ministry of Environment, the <SDGs and Business Opportunities> session explored business opportunities surrounding the SDGs, introduced the Ministry of Environment’s plan and strategies for the K-SDGs, and showcased studies and methods for implementation. Mr. Hak Kyun Maeng, Director of the Sustainable Strategy Division at the Ministry of Environment, Ms. Suran Lee, Associate Researcher at GCNK, Ms. Sujin Oh, Manager at K-Water, Ms. Yoonjung Kim, Chief of Sustainable Business Unit at KT Corporation, and Mr. Seung Sung Kang, CSR Team Manager at AmorePacific Corporation, were among the representatives who attended the concurrent session. Government officials and business representatives came together to share their views and approach toward advancing the SDGs, exchange unique ideas and example cases within their organizations, and provide a comprehensive evaluation of the business challenges and opportunities they face moving forward. In addition, GCNK introduced its publications – the “SDGs Awareness Survey for Top 100 KOSPI Companies,” “Blueprint for Business Leadership on the SDGs,” and “In Focus: Addressing Investor Needs in Business Reporting on the SDGs” – and elaborated on the theoretical framework for more effective and systematic communication and implementation of the SDGs.

■ Concurrent Session – <Empowering Women in Business>

In Sapphire Hall, the <Women Empowerment in Businesses> session was held in partnership between GCNK and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. Ms. Yoon-ah Lee, Director of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Ms. Min-jung Kang, Chief Researcher at the Korea Women's Development Institute, Ms. Geul Kwak, Senior Researcher at GCNK, and business representatives actively engaged in open discussions, examining ways to enhance competitiveness through greater diversity in the workplace, promote and internalize a culture of gender equality, and come up with policies and measures to build female talent and capacity in the private and public sectors. The session played an important role providing business representatives, government officials, and academic and civil society groups with a platform for discussing implementation strategies for increasing capacity and opportunities for women in the workplace as well as the need to expand a culture of gender equality and female leadership in the private sector. Acknowledging how gender diversity serves as the foundation for building business competitiveness and creating new opportunities, participants shared their collective vision for inclusive and cooperative development involving both the public and private sectors.


■ Concurrent Session – <SDGs and Reunification>

The final session, <Reunification of the Korean Peninsula and the SDGs>, was held in Emerald Hall with the help of Leadership Korea INC. and sponsorship from the UniKorea Foundation. Participants – including Mr. Byeong-Gil Jeon, Director of the UniKorea Foundation, Ms. Jin-hee Cho, Director of Samjung KPMG, Mr. Jin-sol Hwang, CEO of Bridge International, Ms. Ae-hwa Lim, Senior Researcher at UNGC Network Korea, and Mr. Woo-jin Chung, a Seoul National University student – examined North Korea’s sustainable development and the United Nations Strategic Plan 2017-2021, international cooperation for the SDGs, and future prospects and methods for the younger generation to participate and contribute to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. The session stimulated discussion among students and working-level representatives about the ways in which the private sector can contribute to the reunification and sustainable development of the two Koreas.

The Korea Leaders Summit 2019 steered valuable conversations for cooperation between the public and private sectors working tirelessly for sustainable development and the Global Goals. GCNK would like to express our greatest appreciation and gratitude to all the participants for their continued support, leadership, and efforts. And by strengthening cooperation and close partnership among our members, GCNK will also continue to support Korean companies to integrate sustainable management into their businesses and contribute toward the overall achievement of the SDGs.

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