Korean Air and Sustainability
Korean Air Forest in Mongolia
Near Baganuur, 150 km east of Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, is a forest called the “Korean Air Forest.” In collaboration with the Green Asia Network, a non-profit organization, and as a partner to the UNFCCC in the fight against climate change, Korean Air launched a forestry project to halt desertification in Mongolia and the resulting yellow sands carried by the wind throughout East Asia. In 2004, Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-Ho and 100 new Korean Air employees planted the first trees of the forest. Since then, around 200 Korean Air employees have planted trees every spring. As of 2011, we have planted some 55,000 trees in the area. The Korean Air Forest was recognized by the City of Ulan Bator as the Urban Park of the Year in 2006, establishing the forest’s reputation as a local attraction.
Over the past twenty years, Mongolia has suffered from the effects of climate change, with 76% of its land vulnerable to encroaching desertification, which has resulted in increasing damage in neighboring countries due to yellow sand transported by the wind. New deserts contribute to this phenomenon, which has affected the health of Korea’s population and damaged the country’s industrial infrastructure. In addressing this issue, Korean Air took the initiative to institute a global approach to counter the problem. This “Korean Air Forest” project is highly significant in that it is restoring a specific area on a sustainable long-term basis. It is particularly significant given the severity of the damage caused in neighboring countries and the level of engagement of the local community and Korean Air’s employees in the program. For these reasons, this project has been a model for many Korean companies seeking activities to implement as part of their global corporate social responsibilities.
Starting in 2011, the project has expanded its scope to teenagers, introducing the concept of a “Tree Bank” to the project. In the future, the project will evolve further, as it aims to move beyond the restoration of ecology to a program for assisting refugees escaping environmental degradation. Based on what Korean Air has achieved over the past eight years with the Korean Air Forest project, we hope it will serve as a model for other “protect your village, protect the planet” projects undertaken by companies as part of their activities aimed at making social contributions on a global scale.
Driving local development – excellence in community, from Me to We
Based on our founder’s belief that companies should share their profits with the society in which they operate, Korean Air engages in various social contribution activities both locally and internationally. For instance, we lend Korean Air’s business acumen to the transport of disaster relief supplies and potable water to survivors of floods, and our 20 volunteer groups run various community engagement programs in the areas of academics, culture and arts, and sports. Social contribution activities are an integral part of our sustainability management practices and play an important role in enhancing our corporate value in the long term. We will therefore continue to share and promote the significance of social contribution activities with all stakeholders. Korean Air set corporate social responsibility (CSR) as the main theme of a company-wide campaign for 2011 and implemented various activities in support of this theme. Beginning with a presentation on CSR at the opening ceremony for the year 2011, the company conducted a number of programs to direct the attention of employees to the values of CSR. Each and every employee was encouraged to make a pledge to donate time and talents and to participate in at least one volunteer activity under the four themes of “sharing talent,” “sharing love,” “sharing hope,” and “sharing happiness.” New employees were introduced to volunteer groups and encouraged to become honorary members. A campaign for the “donation of less than KRW 1,000 from each paycheck” was also promoted on a company-wide level. Korean Air will continue to promote social contribution activities in the daily lives of its employees, giving back to society monetarily and in terms of time, talents and concern.
See various our social contribution activities : http://www.koreanair.com/local/kr/gd/eng/au/en/eng_au_en_05.jsp