Legal complaint filed against Korean industry giants for greenwashing by double-counting emissions cuts

(Eco Business, 11 Mar 2024) A legal complaint has been made by an NGO against SK and Posco over their use of a “green premium” to claim their emissions reductions. The government has outlawed use of the premium towards corporate net zero targets.

Two of South Korea’s largest corporate emitters, manufacturing and services conglomerate SK and steelmaker Posco, have been hit with a legal complaint for using a premium on clean electricity to falsely claim emissions reductions.

The complaint was filed with Korea’s Fair Trade Commission and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute on Friday by Seoul-based climate advocacy group Solutions For Our Climate (SFOC).

SFOC said the industry giants have been greenwashing their decarbonisation efforts by double-counting the emissions reductions they have made through the “green premium” system, which is an additional fee companies pay state-owned utility Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) to procure renewable energy.

Clean electricity bought through the green premium comes from large power companies which are obliged under Korean law to generate or purchase a certain share of renewable energy. Korea Energy Agency, the country’s energy board, certifies the amount of emissions reduced from renewables for the power producers, which is then excluded from their emissions portfolio. Companies that claim emissions cuts based on the green premium are therefore double-counting the amount of avoided climate pollution, argued SFOC.

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Eco Business, 11 Mar 2024: Legal complaint filed against Korean industry giants for greenwashing by double-counting emissions cuts