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Korea-led initiative launched at UNCCD forum

Woori Financial Group announces support to combat desertification

May 15, 2022 - 15:44 By Im Eun-byel
Woori Financial Group Chairman Son Tae-seung speaks at the COP15 business forum in Cote d’Ivoire on Tuesday. (The Korea Forest Service)

The Korea Forest Service held an event commemorating the launch of Business for Land Initiative on Tuesday, during the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Cote d’Ivoire.

Woori Financial Group became the first business in Korea to announce its support for the organization.

The UNCCD is an international organization established in 1994 to protect and restore land. There are currently 197 member countries to the convention, including the European Union.

According to the Korea Forest Service, Business for Land Initiative, also called B4L Initiative, allows the UNCCD to partner with businesses to expand its activities to combat desertification and achieve land degradation neutrality across the world.

The UNCCD defines land degradation neutrality as “a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources, necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems.”

The Korea Forest Service suggested the B4L Initiative to the UNCCD in October, realizing the need to form partnership with businesses in order to build a more sustainable future.

On May 2, Woori Financial Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Korea Forest Service during the 15th World Forestry Congress held in Seoul, promising to put efforts into promoting the importance of carbon-neutrality in business management, as well as a priority on environmental, social and governance issues.

“We will participate in battling against desertification and achieving land degradation neutrality in partnership with the UNCCD,” Woori Financial Group Chairman Son Tae-seung said at the COP15 business forum.

The Korea Forest Service said it welcomes Woori Financial Group joining the initiative.

“This event means a lot as it is the starting point of businesses joining hands to combat land desertification in cooperation with the Korea Forest Service and an international organization,” Park Eun-sik, director of International Affairs Bureau at the Korea Forest Service said.

“The Korea Forest Service will function as a platform that allows businesses and civic groups interested in the environment and climate change to take action through the initiative,” Park said.

The B4L Initiative comes a decade after the Changwon Initiative drawn up in 2011. Through the UNCCD COP10 in 2011 held in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, the UNCCD set up a road map of achieving a land degradation-neutral world by 2030.

By Im Eun-byel (