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[Global Finance Awards] Shinhan chief makes big ESG push

IR Innovator / Shinhan Financial Group

Nov. 30, 2023 - 11:40 By Choi Ji-won
Shinhan Financial Group Chairman Jin Ok-dong speaks during the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative's Asia-Pacific Regional Roundtable meeting held in Seoul on May 24. (Shinhan Financial Group)

Shinhan Financial Group's efforts to make a sustainable financial ecosystem have gained global momentum this year under the leadership of Chairman Jin Ok-dong, who took the top post in March.

On his first overseas business trip in April, Jin headed to Japan, his country of expertise with almost 20 years of work experience there. During his stay, he met with business and government leaders there to seek digital and ESG (environment, social and governance) cooperation and other possibilities to enhance exchanges between Korea and Japan.

Stepping up its ESG initiative, Shinhan in May inked a sponsorship deal with the United Nations Environment Programme with the aim of advancing sustainable finance within the Asia-Pacific region.

The financial group has been a member of the UNEP Financial Initiative, a sub-organization of the UN's environmental arm geared toward the financial sector, since 2008. In 2021, it became the first entity from South Korea to be selected as a member of the body's Leadership Council, a board of global financial corporate CEOs.

During the first roundtable meeting of the UN initiative held in Seoul in May, participants from the Asia-Pacific region, including the Shinhan chief, gathered to share thoughts on ways to bolster the role of finance in sustainable development.

"The importance of ESG principles lies in taking them into work, not just in planning or declaring," Jin emphasized, vowing Shinhan's efforts "to raise awareness and ramp up the drive for implementation toward sustainable finance in the Asia-Pacific."

Shinhan also played a leading role in the proliferation of voluntary carbon markets worldwide. In May, it signed a partnership with the International Finance Corporation, under which the two sides agreed to cooperate on advancing the operation of voluntary carbon markets in developing countries.