February 24, 2022 – AFoCO organized its first forum for corporate and private sector entities on 24th February 2022 in a hybrid fashion at Westin Chosun Hotel in Seoul. The Forum welcomed some 123 participants — 60 joined in person and 60 joined virtually. The forum aimed to provide a platform to learn about (i) the outlook and possibility of forest investment in climate responses and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), (ii) trends and outlook of the forest carbon market, and (iii) global private-public partnership through international organizations. To promote and mobilize forest investments by corporations in the Republic of Korea, the Forum introduced cases of engagement by global conglomerates in forest projects and highlighted the benefits of carbon investment by companies. Reiterating the economic returns of forest rehabilitation projects, the Forum encouraged Korean companies to invest in overseas forest projects.
The forum was opened by Mr. Ricardo Calderon, Executive Director of AFoCO, and Mr. Ban Ki-Moon extended a special message to the speakers and participants before the presentations began.
- The first key speaker, Ms. Margaret Kim, CEO of Gold standard, shared current and future trends in climate response through forest investment in the private sector. (PRESENTATION LINK)
- The second presenter Mr. Jean-Charles, Guinchard, Associate partner, Dalberg, focused mainly on how businesses can create value by investing in forest conservation and restoration which will result into business profitability, business resilience and values-based leadership. (PRESENTATION LINK)
- In the third presentation, Mr. Stephen Donofrio, Director of Ecosystem Marketplace, shared the current trends and outlook in the forest carbon market by mentioning the evolution of forest carbon financing and the mechanisms driving finances towards forests and conservation initiatives. He also shared data on forest carbon and corporate engagement. (PRESENTATION LINK)
- The final presenter, Mr. Jin Sunpil, Vice Executive Director of AFoCO, presented on how corporate and private entities can participate through six different programs under the AFoCO Green Partnership — i) AFoCO Climate Link, ii) Saving Asian Vulnerable Ecosystems (SAVE), iii) Earth Garden, iv) Livelihood Improvement through Forest-based Enterprise (LIFE), v) AFoCO Landmark Program 2.0 and vi) Landscape Partnership Asia (LPA). He added that the six programs can further be customized and tailored to suit the needs of corporating entities. (PRESENTATION LINK)
A panel discussion involving four private sector representatives and the AFoCO Secretariat was moderated by Mr. Moon Kook-hyun, chairman and CEO of New Paradigm Institute.
Mr. Chung In-Bo, CEO of SK Forest, shared his thoughts on how Korean businesses can also engage in gaining carbon credits through investing in forestry projects and highlighted that Nature-based Solutions (NbS) has much potential in the future and should be included in the carbon market of Korea. He stated that there is a need for stronger support and now international organization like AFoCO and government bodies such as the Korea Forest Service (KFS) can help bridge and lower barriers for corporate sectors to invest in forestry.
Dr. Oh Deok-yo, from the Korea Corporate Governance Service (KCGS), touched on the importance of forests as carbon sinks in achieving net-zero goals and also on creating shared value (CSV). He shared that barriers for corporate entities to invest in forestry projects can be overcome by lowering the initial cost or allowing companies to invest in project implementation and increase investment based on results. He also highlighted the risk of greenwashing when high standards of assessment were not met by companies.
Mr. Lee Ok-su, Director of Deliotte Korea, highlighted the importance of CCUS (Carbon capture, Utilization, and storage) and businesses taking part in ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) and how AFoCO can be instrumental in providing a credible environment for business entities investing in forestry projects.
Prof. Kim Jaehyun from Konkuk University, shared on how businesses like SK forest, Yuhan Kimberly and projects like ‘Forest for life’ have contributed and shown good examples in investing in forestry projects. He also resonated how AFoCO can play a role in bridging companies to invest in overseas projects and how government can attract more business entities to join through evaluation and reward systems.
Dr. Park Eunsik, Director General of Global Affairs Bureau, of the KFS, shared a government perspective providing assessment and reward for those investing in green projects. He also shared on government initative of providing REDD+ guidelines and how business entities can gain carbon credits by investing in forestry projects by quoting an example of securing carbon credit from one of the projects in Cambodia.
Concluding the panel discussion, the moderator, Mr. Moon, shared his own experience working in Yuhan Kimberly where they involved people and communities to participate in plantation activities. He highlighted the importance of public engagement and how AFoCO can play an imperative role in providing confidence, faith and the option of tailored projects to promote investment in forestry-related activities.