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KEY at GEEF 2023

KEY participated at the Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development (GEEF) 2023 on February 3rd, held in Seoul, with its president, Philippe Li moderating a session entitled “Industrial decarbonization perspectives from Europe and Korea”. GEEF, which is co-hosted by Yonsei University, the Institute for Global Engagement & Empowerment (IGEE), Ban Ki-moon Foundation for a Better Future, and Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, is an annual international event where stakeholders from around the world gather to find ways to collaborate in accomplishing the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


This year’s edition was centered around the theme of “Turning point: from crisis into opportunity”. In line with this theme, Philippe Li led the session to allow participants to share their thoughts on how governments and corporations can adapt to new regulations with a special focus on the EU cases with its ambitious decarbonization policy of reaching net-zero by 2050. Joseph Delatte, a research fellow at the French Think Tank Institut Montaigne gave an overview of the ‘Climate Club’ established by the G7 in November 2022 with the purpose of implementing climate measures together with mutually agreed incentive and compliance mechanism. He emphasized the need for EU to establish a separate ‘Climate Club’ to promote the understanding of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) with its major trade partners such as Korea. Young-Tae Kim, the secretary general of OECD International Transport Forum (ITF), which is an intergovernmental organization with 64 member countries, noted that by 2050, passenger transport demand is expected to increase by 2.3 times and freight transport by 2.6 times compared to 2015. Based on their modeling analysis, transport emissions are expected to rise by 16% in 2050 compared to 2015 if current policies remain unchanged, however, this trend can be reversed through the implementation of ambitious policies. Insights from the corporate perspective were shared by representatives from GTT and Air Liquide. Philippe Berterottière from GTT which is a French company that provides technology for energy carriers, with 90% of the carriers coming from Korea, explained that they are currently assisting ship owners in improving the designs of their fleets and providing digital solutions for optimize routing, among others. He noted that decarbonization measures will create tension in the maritime industry, as the winners will now be those who can afford to adapt to the new standards. Mickael Nauri from Air Liquide, a French industrial gas company, commented that it is very challenging to keep up with the pace of policy changes as companies have typically already made long-terms investments, so they now need to readjust their business model. One positive change the situation has brought, he noticed, is the creation of more partnership and ventures, which were not common practice in the industry before. Jong-woo Kim from the KB Bank enriched the discussion by outlining the role banks play in assisting companies during the transition. He pointed out that 20% of their 700 billion USD in assets belong to carbon-intensive industries, highlighting the importance for banks in closely monitoring ESG initiatives and swiftly supporting their clients, particularly SMEs, in adapting to the new regulations. All participants concurred that decarbonization is no longer a choice but a necessity, and while it may present additional challenges for companies, it can also lead to new business opportunities if managed properly.


As president Philippe Li stated at the end of the session, the issue of how companies will need to balance compliance with new regulations, profitability, and adoption of new technologies will continue to be a topic of exploration. 

Find Philippe Li's intervention at the GEEF 2023 starting from 7:11:00

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