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GS Engineering & Construction one step ahead of ESG trends

GS E&C operates a wind turbine localization and commercialization complex in Yeongheung, Incheon. (GS E&C)
GS E&C operates a wind turbine localization and commercialization complex in Yeongheung, Incheon. (GS E&C)
ESG -- short for environmental, social and corporate governance -- is the buzzword in the corporate world now. At GS Engineering & Construction, EGS efforts had already begun long before industries began paying attention to the trends.

GS E&C, which received an “A” rating for its ESG efforts from the Korea Corporate Governance Service last year, has been listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia/Pacific Index for 10 consecutive years.

In 2014, GS E&C joined the Korea Environment Corp.’s greenhouse gas and energy target management program. Since then, the company has reported to the institution how much greenhouse gas emissions it cuts as part of the program. Also, GS E&C is registered with the Korean Voluntary Emission Reduction Program and shares the Kyoto Protocol’s six greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

Today, GS E&C is making its ESG ambitions official. Earlier this year, the company decided to expand its sustainability committee and transform it into an ESG committee. At its shareholders meeting next year, GS E&C will elevate its ESG committee to a board-level committee.

Under the committee’s guidance, the company will aim to cut 31.86 percent of its carbons emissions by 2050.

For instance, in 2015 GS E&C found out that inefficient illumination was one source of greenhouse gas emissions. To tackle the issue, the company developed LED lighting that consumes 50 percent less energy. By installing the LED lighting at its construction sites, GS E&C eliminated 502 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

While seeking a green transition for its main construction business, GS E&C is also searching for new business opportunities that align with global ESG trends.

In January, GS E&C announced that it would launch a rechargeable battery recycling business on a 120,000-square-meter site in Pohang. By next year, GS E&C will inject 100 billion won ($89.4 million) into the business and retrieve 4,500 tons of heavy metals such as nickel, cobalt, lithium and manganese.

At the same time, GS E&C is making a foray into the global solar power industry as an independent power producer. In June last year, GS E&C started a 24-megawatt solar farm project in Ukraine, becoming the first South Korean construction company to launch a solar power project there. In December, GS E&C participated in a 300-megawatt solar farm project in India.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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