Shinhan Financial Group Chairman Cho Yong-byoung spearheads the group’s efforts to achieve net-zero emission by 2050. Photo courtesy of Shinhan Financial Group

Korea’s leading financial group forges ahead with a zero-carbon initiative

South Korea’s top-tier banking group Shinhan Financial Group announced on Nov. 15 that the outfit would achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 to join the global efforts of tackling climate change.

Along the same line, the Seoul-based financial group vowed to increase its investment in renewable energy and adopt environmentally friendly standards in its conventional investment portfolio.

For example, Shinhan plans to benefit corporations, which have zero-carbon projects, in extending its loans. Shinhan is the country’s largest banking group in terms of assets.

To be specific, Shinhan strives to cut down on its own carbon emission by 46 percent in 2030 and 88 percent in 2040. It also vies to decrease those of its investment portfolio by 38 percent in 2030 and 69 percent in 2040.

“Shinhan is the first financial outfit in East Asia that measures the amount of carbon emitted by its customers,” a Shinhan official said.

Shinhan Chairman Cho Yong-byoung said in a statement that the group would put forth great efforts in tandem with the worldwide zero-carbon drives.

“The development of so-called eco-friendly finance is a very significant job, which the country’s financial segment should achieve,” Cho said. “We will try our best to have a good influence on our society.”

Shinhan’s plan is in line with that of the 2016 Paris Agreement, which is designed to achieve net-zero emission by the second half of this century.

In 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump weakened the initiative by announcing to withdraw from the agreement, which was signed by almost 200 countries.

Because of the accord’s complex rules like a mandatory 12-month notice period, the U.S. formally pulled out of the agreement the day after the 2020 presidential election.

Yet, President-elect Joe Biden said that Washington would rejoin the climate agreement as soon as he inaugurates next January. He also laid out a plan of investing $2 trillion in clean energy and infrastructure to achieve net-zero emission by 2050.

South Korea’s Moon Jae-in administration also came up with a similar plan of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 _ the president recently announced the goal.

The related ministries are set to publish specific action plans to attain the target.