Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) is striving to explore environmental R&D tasks to address pending and future environmental issues as their strategic projects, ramp up international networks for accelerating Korean firms’overseas market entry and make green production & consumption a growth platform, KEITI President Yoon Seung-joon said.
The following are excerpts of a written interview between NewsWorld and KEITI President Yoon in which he spoke of his institution’s major responsibilities and R&D tasks.
Question: Will you introduce our readers to KEITI?
Answer: KEITI was established with the objective of developing environmental technologies, promoting the environmental industry, and facilitating the proliferation of green products in accordance with the Development of Environmental Technologies and Support for Environmental Industry Act. We’re dedicated to realizing the green economy ranging from green production (of products and technologies) to consumption.
We presented our green experiences and success stories such as best practices on public procurement of green products and the introduction of a green card, a kind of mileage card for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, at the Rio+20 United Nation Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this past June.
The following are our top four responsibilities.
First, we plan, evaluate, and manage environmental technology development so as to enhance technology to the levels of advanced countries.
Secondly, we nurture the environmental industry by providing support in financing and expert manpower in order to raise the competitiveness of environmental firms.
Thirdly, we provide assistance to help Korean firms with excellent environment technologies export products and explore overseas businesses.
Finally, we certify green products.
Q: Will you elaborate on KEITI’s major Korean and international tasks?
A: In the technology field, it has been 20 years since the nation launched R&D activities on environmental technologies. We have so far accumulated R&D expertise and we are now at a stage of developing large-scale convergence and multidisciplinary technologies.
In 2011, KEITI began Eco-Innovation Programs, which will continue until 2020 at a cost of 1.6 trillion won with the goal of raising core environmental technologies to the levels of advanced countries, which can lead to the improvement of the national competitive edge. They cover such representative technologies as the development of eco-smart tap water systems, advanced sewerage and wastewater treatment technologies, eco-friendly vehicle technologies, and those on the recycling of waste metals.
The Geo-Advanced Innovative Program calls for investing 160 billion won by 2017 into R&D tasks related to the integrated management of the prevention of contaminated soil and groundwater ranging from the prevention of contamination to site investigation, purification, and post-purification management.
An environment and public health program for ensuring public health and a sound ecosystem is being carried out at a cost of 163.9 billion won during a 10-year period from 2012.
KEITI is also undertaking new R&D projects related to future environmental issues, including a resources-to-energy technology development project that will cost 199.6 billion won for eight years from 2012 with the goal of recycling more than 9 million tons of wastes into energy resources annually and a project for developing technologies based on an integrated policy foundation to cope with climate change that will cost 83.5 billion won for eight years from 2012.
In the industrial field, KEITI is devoting itself to expanding growth momentum of the environment industry by nurturing environmental SMEs with growth potential and the industry’s manpower.
We are continuously expanding support for environmental firms’commercialization of businesses. A system for designating and supporting excellent environmental firms has been introduced this year to foster flagship firms in the industry. KEITI is operating an environmental venture center to offer support to start-up firms with technology and commercialization potential. We provide support for attracting foreign investments and commercialization to environmental firms suffering from difficulties. The beneficiaries of commercialization funds during 2011 landed 13.6 billion won worth of new contract orders while the recipients of investment attraction funds have successfully raised 4 billion won. KEITI has set aside 115 billion won in policy funds to extend loans as firms’facility and operation funds. We have also offered an educational program for nurturing experts as well as a job fair.
Support for the overseas environment industry is designed to contribute to solving international environment issues and raise the nation’s international standing from an aid recipient to an aid donor. In an effort to offer assistance to Korean environmental firms’overseas activities, we sign green export agreements, operate a center for counseling export assistance, and undertake projects to localize international cooperation technologies.
In the area of green production and consumption, KEITI offers assistance in making it part of daily life with the goal of posting 3.2 trillion won in green product sales and raising the number of green outlets and green card issuances to 100 and 4 million, respectively, during 2012.
We strive to facilitate the purchase and supply of green products and globalize green management. KEITI has signed MOUs with the Gangwon-do and Jeollanam-do provincial educational offices to supply water-conserving green products We have also hosted green growth fairs to make green production and consumption part of the general public’s daily life. The number of green purchase support centers will likely rise from two in 2011 to 16 in 2015.
KEITI has ramped up international collaboration to help Korean firms certified with environmental marks make a foray into foreign markets by signing a cross-recognition pact with the United States and Canada. An eco-label certification, which is now applied to daily necessities, electronics appliances, and construction materials, will be expanded to cover such service categories as hotel and automobile insurance services. Applications for registering as an international patent a ‘green credit card program,’which was patented in Korea in September 2012, have been filed in seven foreign countries.
Q: Will you introduce KEITI’s corporate support programs?
A: We have established a mechanism for providing assistance to environmental companies throughout their whole lifecycle, ranging from their establishment to commercialization, development of products, and financial support through consulting, extension of loans, and exploration of markets. There are roughly 33,000 environmental firms, each employing an average of six employees, of which 85 percent are SMEs.
Large-sized companies have teamed up with SMEs to ensure shared growth. Daewoo Engineering & Construction has promoted collaboration with SMEs in making inroads into the Middle East region since this past February. SK signed an MOU with SMEs this past May to push joint projects in China.
KEITI has stepped up its multi-faceted and efficient support for SMEs in cooperation with other Korean institutions. We jointly hosted the Global Green Hub Korea (GGHK) this past June and an environmental industry export fair this past September in cooperation with KOTRA. We have also been strengthening collaboration with such related organizations as Korea Exim Bank, KOICA, and the Small and Medium Business Administration.
We provide assistance to environmental firms as our client companies. KEITI has organized technology road shows to provide opportunities to help environmental firms find their own technology company clients without ditching their excellent technologies. KEITI hosted a tech fair introducing eight water treatment firms in Daejeon this past June in cooperation with K-water.
Q: Will you give an assessment of the 2012 first half task achievements and comment on future strategic projects?
A: We’ve just gotten down to projects for developing promising future environmental technologies and environmental health technologies. They include a 200 billion won waste-to-energy resources project, a 163.9 billion won project for developing daily life environmental health technologies, and a 83.5 billion won project for developing an integrated policy technology foundation to cope with climate change.
KEITI has beefed up its external collaboration with Korean institutions to promote the efficiency of R&D projects. We signed an agreement with the National Research Foundation this past June and with the Korea Health Industry Development Institute this past September.
We have been strengthening international cooperation with foreign environmental industries. A Korean consortium comprising Daewoo E&C and five SMEs is participating in the $500 million El Harrach River Restoration Project in Algeria.
KEITI is striving to explore environmental R&D tasks to address pending and future environmental issues as their strategic projects, ramp up international networks for accelerating Korean firms’overseas market entry, and make green production & consumption a growth platform.