‘Korea lacks systemic ESG education for younger generation’

Dr. Cho Jin-hyung, research fellow at Kakao  / Courtesy of Cho Jin-hyung

Cho Jin-hyung, research fellow at Kakao, has recently published an introductory book on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues, aiming to raise the public’s understanding and awareness on the topic of sustainability. What differentiates Cho’s book from other books on ESG is that the author has a clear target audience: the general public as well as aspiring students .”The main reason for writing the book is to raise future generations’ awareness about crucial ESG topics, such as climate change, climate risks and corporate carbon emissions, because they are the ones who will be directly facing these critical issues. They need to be familiarized with the issues,” Cho told The Korea Times during a recent phone interview. He explained that previous books published in the country on ESG topics have mostly focused on providing business guidance to ESG practitioners at corporations or public institutions. He hopes his book can help a wider scope of readers approach ESG issues with more ease and engagement.

“ESG is associated with a wide range of topics, including climate change, finance and data modeling while encompassing diverse professional fields, ranging from consulting, management research, data analysis, evaluation, legal advisory and more. The vast scope of its related fields and topics might give a daunting impression to students or to the public that ESG is a concept predominantly focused on practical business matters,” he said, adding that students and the public need to realize that it is important for them to clearly understand how ESG principles and concept influence their daily lives as well as corporate management decisions. In detail, the book’s chapters cover important aspects regarding ESG themes, including key background information on how the concept of ESG was formulated, how the concept is different from corporate social responsibility and ESG’s relationship with corporate valuations, inflation and stock prices. Each chapter includes case analyses, bullet point summaries and discussion topics, enhancing its utility as a textbook at colleges.

The book also includes interviews with ESG experts from various fields, such as Dennis van Berkel, the lawyer who won the first-ever climate change lawsuit against a government, Romain Ducret, a Swiss academic researching Korea’s unique conglomerate governance practices, as well as interviews with a famous Korean carbon tax expert, consultants and economists with ESG expertise. Regarding the most urgent ESG issue in Korea, Cho pointed to the need for systemized education on ESG topics. While environmental education at elementary and secondary schools has become mandatory in Korea, he still sees a lack of general awareness regarding the decision-making of companies, which hugely impacts the course of climate change through massive carbon emissions created by corporations. “ESG regulations, such as the carbon emissions trading system and carbon taxes, can directly impact not only companies but also the lives of citizens through various pathways like inflation,” he added. “As these changes are felt more acutely by younger generations, 카지노사이트킹 including students, it is crucial to implement systematic ESG education for them.”

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