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“A growing number of companies are recognizing the opportunity for long-term success that results from an effective environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy (Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance).” This article will uncover Samsung Display’s various ESG practices explained by the Head of Sustainable Management Committee.

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance: ESG Management

Global warming, air pollution, and water shortages are some of the environmental issues we face on a daily basis – forcing many companies around the world to accept corporate social responsibility. 

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) management refers to business approaches protecting the environment, supporting the socially disadvantaged, and highlighting compliances with laws. Eco-friendly, socially responsible, and transparent management is the key essence of ESG initiatives. It is a clear measure of non-financial performance that showcases potential growth of an enterprise – emerging as a business trend beyond enterprise-level that will make or break industries and nation-wide efforts.

ESG Management of Global Companies

Many global companies have embraced ESG as a new opportunity and showcased further boost of environmental, social and governance (ESG) involvement. 

Since 2015, Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, has been investigating benefits and difficulties in deploying subsea datacenters powered by 100% eco-friendly energy. Tesla, a U.S. electric car manufacturer, has successfully introduced electric cars with the aim of reducing carbon emissions. Unilever, a multinational household goods company, has been aiming to halve plastic usage by 2025, collecting and recycling 600,000 tons of plastic annually. The world’s largest e-commerce company, Amazon has co-founded The Climate Pledge – a commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040 with efforts like Shipment Zero and purchase of electric delivery vehicles.

Last year, CEO of BlackRock – the world’s largest investment firm – Larry Fink announced that it will put sustainability at the center of its investment strategy going forward. Competitive advantage in technology no longer guarantees companies’ strength within the industry as global standards pressures firms to lead the market with high ethics and transparency.

Launch of Sustainable Management Committee

Samsung Display has begun to strengthen its management activities in an effort to bolster social responsibilities upholding global ESG standards. Last September, Samsung Display established Sustainable Management Committee and formed a consultative body involving all business units.

▲ Min-soo Park, Head of Sustainable Management Committee at Samsung Display

“ESG management is a commitment to lay the foundation for the company’s continued growth and development by satisfying environmental, social and governance requirements and eliminating risks of various stakeholders surrounding the company,” said Min-soo Park, a senior member of the Sustainable Management Committee. Maintaining sustainable management requires sensitivity to demands not only on the environmental level but also on human rights and corruption issues. Companies have to respond quickly to government regulations and policy issues.” 

“Samsung Display’s Sustainable Management Committee reorganizes existing activities into five key areas: Climate change, Resource Circulation, Sustainable products, Cooperation, and Local communities. The Committee has integrated each area with stages involving strategy building and activity validation – allowing each effort to be implemented more effectively.”

Systemization of ESG Management

Aiming to become a global standard in ESG management, Samsung Display joined the RBA in February. The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) is the world’s largest industry coalition dedicated to corporate social responsibility in global, and has established and operated “RBA Standards of Conduct” based on various international norms to raise the level of corporate ethics. Currently, more than 160 global companies – including Samsung Display, Samsung Electronics, Apple, and Intel – are members of the RBA.

“Samsung Display has been pushing for various ESG activities in the past, but since last year, it has been reorganizing existing activities more systematically, organizing role and responsibility (R&R) for each sector, drawing up and managing tasks. With the company joining the RBA this year, we are not only complying with domestic laws but accepting more stringent global standards of conduct to corporate management, including labor, health and safety, the environment, corporate ethics and management systems.”

Min-soo Park says that Samsung Display will further strengthen ESG initiatives in the future. Samsung Display joined the RBA Association in February and conducted a Validated Assessment Program (VAP) in March to verify the establishment of a working environment that meets global standards. “In the future, we will continue to make efforts to extend two-way communications with external stakeholders and establish a sustainable management-infused culture within the company that permeates on all levels of participation.” 

As a representative company that has been leading the global display industry, Samsung Display aims to prioritize environmental and social values and contribute to the development and happiness of customers and society.

Commitment towards ESG Initiatives

Samsung Display is aware of the impact of production on the environment and social environment.

Through its efforts to minimize waste and resources at its Asan facility, Samsung Display obtained the Zero Platinum certification for waste landfill last year.

In addition, the company has been actively reducing power and gas consumption in accordance with the government’s renewable energy conversion policy such as the use of KEV-100, which converts business vehicles such as buses, trucks and passenger cars into electric vehicles.

Samsung Display has also actively engaged in various social activities. In order to spread the reading culture among youth, the company has collaborated with eight educational institutions since 2014. So far, the company has donated a total of 1.14 million books and remodeled 82 reading areas.

Other social initiatives include supporting the operation of the VOLED Choir, a youth choir with developmental disabilities since 2017 and supporting a total of 130 severely disabled children at Samsung Medical Center since 2016. 

South Korea recently received a top rating in the ESG assessment conducted by US credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service, which studied 144 countries for its final analysis. However, in the environment category, Korea still shows room for improvement as it was given “neutral-to-low,” which is the second-highest rating. Efforts for carbon conversion, climate change, and water resource management will require meticulous and practical action points for future sustainable development.

According to Min-soo Park, “Samsung Display will continue to implement ESG management efforts by strengthening its on-site inspections, management systems and working environments so that all businesses encompassing the company – whether it be domestic, overseas, or partnerships –  can truly operate according to the RBA standards. As a member of the global community striving to fulfill social responsibilities beyond individual levels of interest, Samsung Display will assume our commitment to the full extent.”