A key strength of SK is ESG management, one-third of people say

Jan 14, 2021, 08:46 am

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AsiaToday reporter Lee Sun-young

A perception survey found a third of South Koreans believe that a key strength of SK Group is its pursuit of social values, including the ESG management, which manages risks in each area of environment, society, and governance. This reflects the business philosophy of SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who has been calling for businesses to general social values. As Chey has emphasized ESG management as a way for “Deep Change,” it seems such management is now spreading throughout the company and its subsidiaries.

Despite such a move, many people believe that SK Group needs to focus more on creating social values through job creation. Besides, they demanded the firm to focus on win-win cooperation with its business partners as well as SMEs that have been struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In celebration of the New Year, AsiaToday requested pollster R&Search to conduct a perception survey on SK Group. The poll was conducted for three days from Jan. 4 to 6 on 1,011 adults nationwide. The survey had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points and a 95 percent confidence level.

In the survey, 30.9 percent of respondents chose “pursuit of social values such as ESG management” as a key strength of the company. This indicates that one in three people have such perception, and SK Group is standing out as a social corporation. In fact, the group established a hydrogen business promotion group, comprised of experts from related companies such as SK E&S, SK E&C and SK Innovation, to strengthen ESG management. Recently, SK Holdings and SK E&S invested in U.S.-based power company Plug Power, which possess key hydrogen technology. As a result, SK Group’s equity value in Plug Power increased by 2 trillion won just five days after the investment. 

“Eco-friendly business” was chosen by 35.9 percent of respondents as the sector that SK Group was good at creating social values, followed by “social contribution activities” and “job creation” with 28.8 percent, respectively. Other sectors chosen by respondents include “strengthening transparency in governance structure” with 13.9 percent and “fostering social enterprises” with 9.2 percent.

When asked about the sector that SK Group should focus to create social values, 30.4 percent of respondents chose “job creation,” followed by “eco-friendly business” with 22.3 percent and “social contribution activities” with 18.1 percent. By age groups, “job creation” was mostly chosen among those aged 60 and over with 33.8 percent while those in their 30s chose “eco-friendly business” with 33.8 percent and those in their 20s picked “social contribution activities” with 28.3 percent. 

According to Statistics Korea, the number of employed people came to 26.9 million last year, down 218,000 from a year earlier. It is the first time in 11 years that the number of employed people has decreased. As the job market is frozen due to the pandemic, many believe that conglomerates such as SK should take the lead in creating jobs.

In addition, 30.9 percent of respondents chose “win-win growth with partners, SMEs, and local community” as the part that SK should focus on this year. This is because the number of cases facing livelihood threats due to the prolonged pandemic. The survey result also indicates that there is a strong perception that Chey, who has been stressing the need of social values, should take the lead in solving social problems.

#SK Group #Chey Tae-won #social values #ESG management #R&Search; 
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