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Central bank to expand purchase of ESG stocks and bonds

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Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol / Korea Times file
Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol / Korea Times file

The Bank of Korea (BOK) said Tuesday it will expand its purchase of stocks and bonds related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns, in a move to help transform South Korea to a greener economy.

As of June, the BOK had purchased $7.12 billion worth of ESG stocks and bonds with its foreign-currency assets, compared with $5.45 billion six months earlier, the central bank said in a statement.

While expanding its purchase of ESG stocks and bonds, the BOK will not buy stocks and bonds related to ESG risks, it said.

The BOK's investment strategy comes as a growing number of Korean firms embrace ESG principles and investment, which aim to make companies more sustainable by encouraging them to act on a range of environmental, social and governance issues.

This year, non-financial firms across the board were warming to the corporate doctrine as they prepare for a post-pandemic world.

According to a recent survey by the Federation of Korean Industries, the nation's largest business lobby, 66.3 percent of 500 CEOs at big firms paid "higher attention" to ESG principles.

Another survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry showed that 63 percent of 300 respondents said their purchases were affected by a company's ESG performance.

With investors also putting pressure on companies to improve their ESG performances, big companies have already sharpened their focus on the environment and society. (Yonhap)




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