Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) is pushing its next-generation eco-innovation technology development project as a means to jack up the nation's environmental technology level, a top executive of the institute said.
"Under the 10-year project, we are assembling and funding top tier experts to develop and export original environmental technology, systems, and plants in a package to foreign countries," said Yoon Seung-joon, president of KEITI. "To effectively cope with the rapidly changing policy standards and environmental regulations, we also plan to expand our R&D investment to include consumer-tailored innovations, and emphasize win-win partnerships between large and smaller companies to develop new technology," he said.
"To accomplish this, KEITI will map out mid and long -term roadmaps in December 2011 to anticipate future environmental demands. To actively foster the domestic environmental industry, we will be continuously expanding R&D investment to as much as 6 percent of the Ministry of Environment's budget by 2014," said Yoon. Thanks to the next-generation core environmental technology development project started in 2001, Korea aims to expand the domestic environmental technology level.
Exploration of overseas environmental markets
"KEITI plans to explore the overseas market though the establishment of collaborative environmental and industrial design centers in China, Vietnam and Indonesia," the top executive said."In Indonesia, for instance, we are moving to explore new promising projects, including the Jakarta river restoration project, by establishing a joint development system between governments and the private sector," he said. Meanwhile, KEITI is planning to offer necessary environmental technology to three provinces in China: Shanxi, Sichuan, and Shandong through the Chinese environmental industrial center."Moreover, we are making preparations to explore new environmental markets outside of Asia. “We are expanding our target to include green business partnerships in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa," he explained."In the future, we will also open overseas environment industrial collaborative centers to help Korean environmental companies advance in these regions as well," he said. Up until now, KEITI has been building cooperation with China and other Asian countries in the environmental sector through mutual personnel exchanges and the sharing of knowledge.
Master plan to improve the environment of developing countries
To support Korean companies advance into overseas environmental markets, KEITI is also pushing ahead with three projects: an assistance project to improve the environment of developing countries, a project to support a feasibility study of Korean firms in overseas environmental projects, and a pilot project to spread green environmental technology.
"For example, KEITI is making a push for an 80 billion won project in Azerbaijan by linking Korea's extension of 30 billion won in grants with 50 billion won in credit assistance to the country," said Yoon. KEITI also helped Korean companies win the 70.5 billion won project to build a sewage disposal facility in Vietnam, financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
"In particular, we are actively pushing ahead with a pilot project to establish water supply facilities in small villages in Ghana, helping the African country solve its water shortage problem," said the top official.
Green card system
Asked about the green card system, President Yoon said, "KEITI and the Ministry of the Environment jointly launched the green card system on July 22 of this year, which provides holders of the green card with points that can be used as cash if they engage in such green life campaign as energy saving, purchase of green products, and the use of public transport."
In addition, green card holders can visit some 150 museums, nature forest lodges, and other cultural facilities in Korea, which are being operated by local governments or public institutions, free of charge or at a discounted fare."To introduce the nation's green card system to foreign countries and foster the card representing green consumption and lifestyle as a global brand, we plan to apply for a patent of the green card in Korea by the end of this year and in seven other countries including: Germany, Sweden, France, the U.S., Britain, Japan and China in 2012," he noted.
At present, the green card is being issued by Woori Bank, Han SK Card, NH Nonghyup, IBK, Daegu Bank, Busan Bank, Gyeongnam Bank and KB Kookmin Card.
"If 3 million green card holders save electricity, piped water and gas at home and achieve a 10 percent increase in green consumption, about 2.08 million tons of CO2 emission will be reduced annually. It is equivalent to the government's target of greenhouse gas reduction by 2020 in the oil, paper, lumber and shipbuilding sectors," he explained.
Win-win projects between large firms and SMEs
KEITI is exerting efforts to link large companies pushing for big environmental projects and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) possessing core environmental technology.
"Through KEITI's supports, Kolon and 18 SMEs signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a joint advancement into oversea environmental markets in February this year. In April, 32 large companies and 78 SMEs also jointly adopted a resolution to pursue win-win projects in the environmental sector and began hold technology discussions between themselves," Yoon said.
When questioned on the KEITI's suggestion for SMEs' to advance into oversea markets, the president said, "First of all, SMEs must develop advanced technology that can be recognized as valuable, as the degree of their global brand recognition is very low, making it difficult to attract funds necessary for their projects in developing countries.
"Secondly, they need to strengthen export marketing and maintain expertise in the environmental sector. To improve their global marketing activities, KEITI reached a green export agreement with 30 SMEs," he said
"Along with this, KEITI is operating an export assistance consultation center to help SMEs solve various problems in the export process, including customs clearance, tax affairs and local market information," Yoon said.