Students at Korea National University of Welfare take part in the online education of Merck Korea about advanced technologies. Photo courtesy of Merck Korea

Merck, IKEA try to become responsible corporate citizen

Foreign companies in South Korea are sometimes regarded as entities seeking only higher bottom lines. But many are trying to become responsible corporate citizens here, as amply demonstrated by Merck and IKEA.

Their efforts are in line with the country’s push for ESG programs, which refer to Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance as three central factors in improving the sustainability of a company or business.

Merck Korea announced on June 17 that it started offering technology education about semiconductor and display solutions to high school and college students in Gyeonggi Province.

The project is a part of the company’s long-term cooperation with Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds the country’s capital Seoul.

While announcing its investments in Gyeonggi Province this April, Merck’s Executive Board member Kai Beckmann discussed with Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung about collaboration in various fields.

The first program took place online with 50 students at Korea National University of Welfare on June 16. In the second half of this year, Anjung High School students will have opportunities to learn knowledge on the advanced technologies of Merck.

“Merck’s electronics business will continue to support our Korean customers based in Gyeonggi Province, which is an R&D hub for display and semiconductor technologies,” Merck Korea Managing Director Kim WooKyu said.

“We will grow together to help our customers succeed and ensure reliable and sustainable product development and delivery.”

The chief executive also noted, “We will make sure to fulfill our corporate social responsibility by fostering talent through this multi-faceted cooperation, just as we have offered digital education for children coming from multi-cultural families in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, to underline our values of diversity & inclusion at Merck Group.”

Indeed, Merck Korea has supported children from multi-cultural families in various fashions.

IKEA Korea aims to become climate-positive

Earlier this February, home furnishing retailer IKEA Korea said that it accomplished eco-friendly building certification and expanding the introduction of electric vehicles in its furniture delivery service system.

In specific, it received the BREEAM “very good” certification, recognized by the global eco-friendly building certification system as sustainable buildings.

BREEAM is designed to assess, rate, and certify the sustainability of buildings by coming up with scores in 10 categories like management, energy, and waste.

BREEAM certified a total of four buildings in Korea, and three of them are IKEA stores, according to the company.

The outfit also said that it introduced additional electric trucks in its furniture delivery system to achieve 20 percent electric vehicle-based delivery this year.

It rolled out its first electric truck in Korea midway through last year with the aim of responding to climate change by achieving zero carbon emissions for all customer deliveries by mid-decade.

“We are committed to showing everyone that sustainable business is good business, and the only way we can prosper on this planet in the long term,” IKEA Korea’s retail manager Fredrik Johansson said. He is also Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA Korea.

“IKEA Korea will continue to accelerate our steps to become a climate positive business, contributing to a healthier planet, inclusive society, and a happier life at home for more of the many Koreans.”

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.