South Korea: Government advised to be more prudent with ESG policies

The set of management criteria called environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) standards has become one of the Korean government’s top policy priorities, after President Moon Jae-in said in early February that it was very meaningful that the country has been awarded the highest rating in Moody’s Investors Service’s analysis of 114 nations’ capabilities in handling ESG issues.

Government ministries have been busy recently making various ESG policies since Moody’s and its peers ― S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings ― emphasized that the values-based criteria are considered key factors in assessing the country’s sovereign credit rating.

Moody’s said that Korea’s ESG scores positively affect the country’s sovereign credit rating. Its remarks were encouraging enough for the Korean government to speed up making ESG policies. However, at the same time, some experts raised questions about the sudden flood of policies that seem to have been hastily made to catch up with the global trend.

In line with the administration’s Green New Deal drive for eco-friendly growth, a government task force to pursue green finance, comprised of representatives from relevant ministries, public and private financial institutions and various other sectors, has also held talks since August of last year.

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