Thank you for joining us. The Seoul International Finance Forum hosted by Financial News
has been held annually for the past 22 years. I would like to express my gratitude to
the Korean government and finance leaders from home and abroad for making this forum possible.
Every year, the forum selected a financial agenda of the year to provide an opportunity to search
for solutions in the agendas preemptively. This year, under the theme of
“Next Wave of Finance: Why ESG?”, we have provided a platform for conversation on this issue.
As you have just seen in the video, ESG—environment, society, and governance—is no longer
a choice but a necessity. The most prestigious financial firms are joining the Equator Principles
one after another. The Equator Principles, as you all know, is considered as the ESG Code of Conduct
in international finance sector. This implies that financial firms will refuse to provide any finance or
financial support to all businesses and projects that are against this principle. As of March, 2021,
37 countries around the world including Korea and 120 financial firms have been found as the members
of the principle. It shows that ESG wave in the financial sector, surely, is more than a temporary interest.
As the world entered year two of the pandemic, there is a much higher interest in environment,
especially climate change. With the inauguration of the Biden Administration, the United States is
also paying a close attention to climate change. Many people are saying, “It is not an investment
if it is destroying the planet.” No company in the world can turn a blind eye to sustainable
economy today. I believe the same goes for finance.
Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher, said, “A good will would still shine like a jewel by itself.
” I believe that ESG management gives a finance sector a wonderful opportunity to express
the good will towards clients, employees, local communities and even humanity. I would like to
take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the chairpersons of financial holding companies,
who have been taking a special interest in social responsibilities of the sector.
Moreover, I would like to thank the 1st Vice Minister Lee Eog-weon of the Ministry of
Economy and Finance, our co-organizer and Vice Chairman John Frank of the Oaktree Capital
Management, and Director Morgan Després, the Head of the NGFS Secretariat.
I hope you find today’s forum helpful and informative, and I wish all of you good health.
Chairman of fn Media Group