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SK creates $15.7 bil. in social value during 2022 via environmental, social innovations

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Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, speaks during a business round table event at World Climate Industry Expo held at the BEXCO convention center in Busan, May 25. Yonhap
Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, speaks during a business round table event at World Climate Industry Expo held at the BEXCO convention center in Busan, May 25. Yonhap

By Baek Byung-yeul

SK Group said Sunday that the total social value created by its affiliates in 2022 by innovating business models for the environment and society reached 20.556 trillion won ($15.7 billion), up 8.6 percent from the previous year.

Korea's second-largest business group has been announcing a monetized measure of its social value creation every year since 2018. It said the total amount of social value has been steadily increasing as a result of efforts by each affiliate to generate more social value through new businesses.

"Business models are being created and innovations have been made as stakeholders look for ways to solve or mitigate the social problems they face," an SK Group spokesperson said. "Now, the social values are being internalized into the businesses of each affiliate."

The group said it generated a total of 1.93 trillion in social value from its products and services in the environmental and social sectors. Unlike its indirect contributions to the economy, such as employment and taxes, which have fluctuated depending on global economic conditions, SK Group affiliates have shown a steep average annual growth rate of 30 percent in these areas.

The group added that the rapid growth in environmental and social sectors was the result of Chairman Chey Tae-won's vision, which encourages each affiliate to redouble its efforts to create social value by establishing a system to continuously measure and manage social value and announce the results to stakeholders.

"We need to find various ways to create more social value based on our measurement of social value monetization," the chairman said. "Ultimately, we need to find ways to innovate existing business models."

SK Innovation has contributed significantly to social value creation through its subsidiaries that produce eco-friendly products such as electric vehicle (EV) batteries and EV battery separators. SK Innovation also developed eco-friendly products, such as a foaming agent that replaces Freon gas that emits greenhouse gas and generated 93.5 billion won in social value.

SK innovation is also promoting new business models such as recycling plastic waste, battery metal recycling (BMR) and upcycling waste lubricants.

SK E&S's hydrogen and renewable energy business, SK ecoplant's solar, hydrogen and waste treatment business, and SKC's semiconductor materials business such as copper foil also have been highlighted as eco-friendly businesses that create social value.

In the social sectors, SK Telecom created 76.7 billion won of social value through a voice phishing prevention service. With the service, SK Telecom blocked more than 105,000 criminal numbers in 2022. In collaboration with the Korea Meteorological Administration, the company also has established earthquake detection sensors to generate 13 billion won in social value and another 9.8 billion won with AI-based senior care service.

SK Group's social value measurement model, which quantifies social value that was previously considered difficult to measure, and the Social Progress Credit system, which links social value performance to an incentive system, are also spreading to local governments, the group added.

Baek Byung-yeul


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