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Evolving ESG management strategy in public institutions and small-sized companies Updated: 2022-07-04 08:25:45 KST

In our FEATURE STORY for this week we share with you growing awareness and related activities within public institutions and private businesses aimed at ensuring sustainability on many frontsincluding of course the environment.
My colleague KIM Bo-kyoung has this extended coverage.

Broadcasting equipment can get too old as time passes by, and news networks that need to stay up-to-date have to replace their equipment with newer models.
Arirang TV recently upgraded its cameras, lights and mixing desks.
But given that the older equipment can still be used not for broadcasting but perhaps for educational purposes, the international broadcaster decided that instead of throwing them away, it would donate the equipment as part of its ESG management.

"ESG management means looking at the sustainability or ethical impact of an investment or firm, based on environmental, social and governance factors.
E for Environmental sustainability.
A company should do its activities to the extent which it can safeguard the environment.
S for Social sustainability or responsibility.
Supporting social issues in local communities and having good relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and local communities.
G for Governance.
Strengthening transparency and pursuing diversity in leadership while being accountable to shareholders.
ESG management has become a new paradigm for sustainability, and one expert says every organization and economic unit needs to apply this."

Local governments, public institutions, nations, households and even individuals should do ESG management. Of course large companies need to do it as soon as possible since if they dont, they won't be able to get overseas investment or export their products. Yet, public institutions also need to follow this trend. As large companies are hard to regulate, the government should first encourage public institutions to do ESG management.

Arirang TV put more than two-hundred items of broadcasting equipment up for donation.
Three public institutions wanted the items, and one of them is Seongbuk-gu District Youth Center.

"Using broadcasting equipment donated by Arirang TV, a small studio has been set up in Seongbuk-gu District's Youth Center.
It enables students dreaming of working in the media to experience what it feels like to work at a news network."

"We had equipment that was outdated but could still be used. In terms of recycling, we looked for institutions or organizations that would use these. Seongbuk-gu office was trying to have its own broadcasting network for kids in a youth center so we donated the items. As they weren't capable of setting up a studio, professionals from our news network helped them for two months."

With 99 items at the center, students can experience being in a newsroom and find out whether it's the career for them.

"I am working at the school's broadcasting system and I want to learn how to adjust the cameras and audio."

"The youth center is working on lots of programs for kids and young people, and I am happy that teens are able to learn more about a variety of jobs and careers through media-related programs held in this studio."

Not just students, but teachers at the center also become trainees paired with the team from Arirang TV.

"When we are measuring skin tone, we need to have the face filling the frame, right?"

"In order to accurately see where the skin's color is through the measuring equipment, we need to have the face take up almost all the space on the camera."

In the future, the broadcaster plans to keep up the training sessions so the studio can help not just the students but the center's faculty too.

This youth center is not the only venue benefiting from the second-hand gear.
The National Library of Korea and National Archives of Korea also received some equipment to play old tapes and videos.
It aims to use it so people can watch and listen to the roughly 70-thousand visual and auditory materials at the library.

"Those materials need equipment that can read them so it is also important to have the reading systems as well. Such devices are hard to get. At this point, getting those tools is a big help."

Any equipment that does not work properly will be displayed in a museum that will be built in Pyeongchang.
The National Archives of Korea is where all the document, visual and auditory materials from public institutions goes to.
It will also use the gear provided to play old video tapes and digitalize them for further preservation.

"Most of the gear that was offered is for analogue videos which are not produced anymore and hard to get. We need the equipment to play recordings from the 1950s to 70s so it will be very helpful for us."

Public institutions and conglomerates are at the forefront of ESG management, as they have the budget and capabilities that small and medium-sized companies lack.

"Relatively, large companies try to do ESG management, making committees for that. Public firms are now taking baby steps while small and medium sized ones are just crawling. They do not have the budget or personnel."

Yet, some small firms are also looking at ESG.
Such as this athleisure clothing brand, which focuses on pursuing zero-waste.
Fabric that originally would have been disposed of is used to make small products like masks and hair bands.
The brand also uses eco-friendly materials that are bio-degradable.

"These products seem like those that are made with regular fabric. But I hear it is made with a special material?"

"Yes, we have been researching materials to replace fabric used to make leggings. We found out this thread that comes from corn extract has the flexibility and durability we need. So we developed it into a fabric."

Unlike nylon which takes centuries to degrade, this bio-degradable material takes only ten years.
At the same time corn's viscosity offers flexibility that can match spandex.
When it comes to cotton, they use a bio-based modal fabric made from spinning beech tree cellulose.
Such efforts led them to win the biggest prize at the 2022 K-ESG Management Innovation Awards.
When asked how the staff came up with using such eco-friendly materials, the CEO said they started by making small decisions.

"We thought we would have to take a big deep breath to do it, but when I shared the issues, slowly ideas piled up. Small decisions naturally led us to use the title of doing "ESG Management." We were not too serious from the start, but rather tried to do what we can."

To other medium and small-sized companies, she says there is nothing to be scared of.

"It is okay to let the fear go away. Starting ESG management is not too difficult. Many reasons why CEOs are scared about it is because they think there needs to be a lot of investment and without high sales it would be hard to bear the cost. We thought that way too but with many other partners, industries that have already paved the way, it was possible for us without using too much money."

Well begun is half done.
Though the road might seem bumpy, all firms need to start thinking about community, society and the environment.
Once that leads to the first small decisions, it can grow into something that helps make our future more sustainable.
Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang News.
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