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The KCCI/SFoC 'Era of Carbon Neutrality' seminar speakers on stage

Korean business leaders, policymakers, and SteelZero members convene in Seoul ahead of the Climate Group Asia Action Summit

28 March 2024, 15:26 UTC 4 min read

Korean business leaders, policymakers, and SteelZero members convened in Seoul ahead of the Climate Group Asia Action Summit.

  • On 19 March, SteelZero presented at “The Era of Carbon Neutrality – Challenges and Strategies for South Korea’s Industries” forum with over 80 in-person attendees and 100 more joining online, co-hosted by the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC). 
  • Speakers including SteelZero members Polestar and Ørsted, the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and others presented their progress and the opportunities to achieve a net zero steel industry in South Korea. 

  • The event mobilised discussions on practical next steps for decarbonising steelmaking in Korea, ahead of the Climate Group Asia Action Summit in Seoul on 21 May 2024.

On Tuesday 19 March, Mike Peirce, Director of Systems Change at Climate Group and Board Director at ResponsibleSteel, and Eleanor Gibbon, Impact Manager for SteelZero, provided keynote speeches at the multi-stakeholder industry seminar, “The Era of Carbon Neutrality – Challenges and Strategies for South Korea’s Industries”, co-hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC). 

South Korea’s steel industry is a major driver of domestic growth and international exports, producing around 70 million tonnes of crude steel per year, and acting as an important material supplier for South Korea’s top exports including machinery, cars, ships, and electronics, among other products.   

Korean steel production is quickly moving into the carbon neutrality era

Both POSCO and Hyundai Steel are members of ResponsibleSteel, and in 2022, POSCO’s Pohang and Gwangyang Steelworks were certified against the ResponsibleSteel Standard – one of the biggest steel sites in the world to achieve this. 

But there is more to achieve. The event provided an important forum to analyse the challenges that remain in decarbonising Korean steelmaking, and various strategies for stakeholders to help accelerate the transition. 

The President of KCCI, the German Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, and the CEO of SFOC opened the event. They discussed the direction of Korea’s industry and the need to mobilise policy and regulation levers to accelerate industrial decarbonisation and respond to the climate crisis, to tackle both environmental problems and maintain business competitiveness.

The importance of corporate climate leadership

In the event attended by Korean business leaders, policymakers and media, we stressed the importance of corporate climate leadership and international and business-to-business collaboration in achieving the net zero steel transition. We highlighted the success of RE100 in Korea and the potential to replicate this with SteelZero, as the leading global demand-side initiative for net zero steel. 

Reflecting on the seminar, Mike Peirce, Director of Systems Change at Climate Group, said: 

“Just like with RE100, we’re looking to support the creation and acceleration of the market conditions, investment landscape and policies to enable corporate climate leadership in South Korea. But this time on steel. The pace of companies entering this space globally is only growing. We want to work with everyone across the value chain in Korea to create a thriving, globally competitive net zero steel industry. This seminar was a timely and vital moment to drive the necessary collaboration to do so.”

Opportunities are there for the taking

This event also included talks from prestigious speakers from academia, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, business and media. Addressing the challenges of the incoming landscape of global carbon border trade policies and the necessity and opportunity of transitioning to green steel to maintain Korean industry’s global competitiveness were in sharp focus.

Two SteelZero members, Polestar and Ørsted, participated in the seminar to share their views on the importance of lower emission steel procurement in the automotive and offshore wind sectors and the collaboration taking place with steelmakers and policymakers to make the net zero steelmaking transition happen.

This seminar served as a valuable next step for further discussion on how stakeholders can come together to drive change at speed, and signals an important exchange of ideas between key global and Korean industry players across the steel value chain, including buyers of steel.  

The Climate Group Asia Action Summit will be an important moment to drive action

We’re gearing up for a return to Seoul to host our flagship event on 21 May. We’ll bring together steel buyers, producers, policy makers and government officials from across Asia and beyond. We’ll be discussing how investment in green steel can drive green growth across Asian economies, the importance of innovation in the future of steelmaking, and the crucial role of finance in reducing costs of going green. 

As the fastest growing economic region in the world, there’s a huge opportunity for Asian governments and businesses to collaborate to drive green growth. 

For enquiries please contact: Alexandra Brandt Cortius: [email protected].

Learn more about SteelZero here.