Feature Story Clean Energy & Ocean Solutions

Hanwha and the WEF: Looking Back at a Decade of Sustainable Partnership to Tackle Climate Change

May 18, 2022
Hanwha and the WEF: Looking Back at a Decade of Sustainable Partnership to Tackle Climate Change Key visual image

In February this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on climate change, updating the details of its impact, causes, and how we can slow it down. The results make it clearer than ever that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require something that has long been lacking from the climate change discussion: commitment. This month’s Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland will offer private and public entities a chance to underline their commitment not just to fighting climate change, but to creating the sustainable future that the world so desperately needs.

Established in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, the World Economic Forum (also known as the Davos Forum) engages the foremost political, business and cultural leaders to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Hanwha has been a fixture at the forum for more than a decade, and has a history of promoting environmental, social and economic sustainability both in partnership with the WEF and through its own wide-ranging initiatives.

Today, Hanwha remains committed to tackling climate change and to creating brighter futures, and is prioritizing sustainability across various businesses.

More Than
10 Years of

Partnerships are helping us rethink sustainability.

This year’s event, themed “Working Together, Restoring Trust,” takes place from May 22-26 and will address key economic, environmental and societal fractures that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hanwha will be there in person, bringing more than a decade of real-world insight from its sustainable financial, energy, and climate solutions to the table to discuss a wide range of issues with key business and political leaders. The company has actively participated in each Davos Forum since 2010, having followed the lead of its Chairman, Seung Youn Kim. Kim has long been supportive of the World Economic Forum’s role as a platform for cross-sector collaboration, having described it as “an opportunity to learn and observe as much as possible” from members when Hanwha first joined the forum in 2010.

In 2011, Dong Kwan Kim, CEO of Hanwha Solutions, spoke to the WEF about why the company places so much focus on sustainability and on technologies like solar panels. “We view sustainability as a basis for how we conduct business and an opportunity to expand our business horizons,” said Kim. “This difference in how we understand the situation and our commitment to act upon this understanding is where we find our competitive advantage.”

Looking back at 12 years of partnership between Hanwha and the WEF.

Making a Difference in
Davos and Abroad

Over the last 12 years, Hanwha has attended the Annual Meeting in Davos as a strategic partner of the WEF, maintaining its commitment to infuse sustainability into every branch of its business while standing side by side with the WEF to take actions and set policies that shape global industry. Here are some notable contributions Hanwha has made to the forum:

  • 2020

    Hanwha’s message for the WEF has been “Nothing affects climate change more than the status quo,” calling attention to the importance of changing the conversation around climate change and the necessity to take action against pressing environmental issues. Hanwha promoted this message throughout the Hotel Concordia, its base of operations during the forum. It received attention and coverage from global leaders and media that attended the forum, helping to raise awareness of Hanwha and its sustainability-focused messaging. Additionally, Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim penned an editorial for the WEF about the need for cross-sector cooperation and how global partnerships are essential to combat climate change.

  • 2019

    Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim met with world leaders, including King Philippe of Belgium, to discuss the necessity of adopting and developing sustainable energy. Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and Vice President of Hanwha Life Dong Won Kim met with executives from BlackRock, B Capital and the Singapore Economic Development Board to discuss transformative digital technologies as well as economic growth throughout the world.

  • 2018

    Executives from Hanwha TotalEnergies Petrochemical, Hanwha Qcells, Hanwha Asset Management and Hanwha Corporation/Machinery joined world leaders in discussions about issues surrounding climate change and how global cooperation and unity are necessary to progress. Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim met with Nguyen Manh Hung of Viettel Group and Jeffrey McDermott of Greentech Capital Advisors to discuss cooperation in the defense industry and photovoltaic (PV) industry trends respectively. Additionally, the solar modules donated by Hanwha to the city of Davos in 2014 helped the WEF receive an ISO 20121:2012 certification, certifying that the Annual Meeting had been conducted in a sustainable manner.

  • 2017

    Hanwha Qcells, together with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), organized a roundtable session to discuss the importance of transitioning towards renewable energy in order to achieve a sustainable future.

  • 2016

    Under the conference’s theme of “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Hanwha Group participated in over one hundred conference sessions and meetings, including Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim’s participation in the “Decarbonizing Economics” panel hosted by former Vice President of the United States Al Gore. Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim and CDO and VP of Hanwha Life Dong Won Kim also met with the Vice Mayor of Tianjin, Zhao Haishan, to discuss the latest trends in investment and development in the Chinese city.

  • 2015

    Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim discussed new business models for energy distribution and carbon removal with other energy industry leaders. CDO and VP of Hanwha Life Dong Won Kim was nominated to join the Global Shapers Community, a network of young global leaders under the age of 30 making a difference in their communities.

  • 2014

    The high-efficiency Q.PEAK 275 Wp solar modules were installed across the Davos Congress Centre’s 1,000-square-meter rooftop and adjoining swimming pool. The solar modules, which have a total capacity of 340 kW, helped to power the forum by creating enough energy to offset up to 20 tons of carbon emissions a year, demonstrating Hanwha’s commitment to spreading awareness about the value and viability of sustainable energy.

  • 2013

    Hanwha Qcells donated 640 Q.PEAK 275 Wp solar modules to the municipality of Davos to offset carbon emissions and support the “Greener Davos” initiative. Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim was selected as a Young Global Leader (YGL), where he joined a promising group of other leaders under the age of 40 who are active in areas of business, civil society, and entrepreneurship.

The facility in snowy Davos seen from above.

Hanwha Qcells-donated solar panels are installed on the rooftop of the Davos Congress Centre and the adjoining swimming pool.

Hanwha is deeply committed to advancing solar energy as the most promising energy source to lead the future of sustainable energy – a commitment it has demonstrated across its business activities. This includes a recent move to become a majority shareholder in “clean polysilicon” manufacturer REC Silicon – a move that will raise its capacity to produce solar cells using clean energy.

Hanwha has also paved the way for solar progress with highly visible campaigns like the Hanwha Solar Forest program, the Clean Up Mekong campaign, and a daring overhaul of its own Seoul-based headquarters, where it outfitted the building with a striking façade embedded with 275 square meters of Q.PEAK solar panels.

Hanwha’s renovation of its headquarters, acquisition of REC Silicon, the Hanwha Solar Forest program, and Clean Up Mekong have all been featured on the World Economic Forum’s website, the latter two in editorials that included important climate change and energy-related insights from Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim. Kim also expounded upon the importance of tangible action in a powerful keynote at the 2021 P4G Seoul Summit.

Two young people plant trees at a Hanwha Solar Forest site.

Since 2011, Hanwha has planted over half a million trees using saplings grown in solar-powered nurseries. Recently, the campaign expanded to enable participants to help plant real, carbon-neutral forests using a mobile app.

A boat powered by solar energy cleans up the Mekong River

The solar-powered boats that were donated to Vinh Long, Vietnam through Hanwha’s Clean Up Mekong campaign remove waste from the Mekong River without emitting any greenhouse gases.

The façade of Hanwha’s HQ in Seoul was outfitted with solar panels to reduce emissions.

Hanwha incorporated its leading solar panel technology into its headquarters’ exterior and outfitted the building with various socially and economically sustainable features.

Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim speaks at the 2021 P4G summit in Seoul.

Hanwha Solutions CEO Dong Kwan Kim promotes “measurable progress against climate change” in 2021 P4G Seoul Summit keynote.

Guiding the Future of Energy and Finance

While the results of programs like Hanwha Solar Forest and Clean Up Mekong are easy to see, Hanwha has been leading conversations around sustainability in a sector where the outcomes are often less visible, but sometimes even more impactful: finance.

Innovative ideas in finance will be especially important at this year’s Annual Meeting, as leaders look to put the world on track toward realizing an environmentally and economically sustainable future.

Since 2016, Hanwha has been engaging in conversations with leaders at the World Economic Forum that have helped shape the future of finance. Dong Won Kim, CDO and VP of Hanwha Life, has been a fixture at these discussions.

In 2016, in recognition for his efforts to drive innovation in the financial services industry, Kim was asked to serve as a panelist on the Young Leaders Roundtable at the Boao Forum for Asia. Commonly referred to as the “Asian Davos,” the forum brings together government, business and political leaders to discuss pressing global issues. During a memorable appearance at the World Economic Forum in 2016, Kim offered insights on fintech’s potential impact on the financial services industry. He has also spoken at length with entrepreneurs at the forum about future Asian growth engines, and about supporting Korean startups’ expansion into overseas markets.

For years, Kim has been a consistent advocate for innovation in areas like digital transformation, and his enthusiasm has been reflected in Hanwha’s recent finance-related activities.

Hanwha Life and the company’s other financial divisions have been leading innovation in their respective industries, perhaps most notably with their landmark commitment to supporting carbon-free power and through initiatives like DREAMPLUS. The six financial divisions’ coal-free commitment – a pledge to not participate in, underwrite bonds for or finance coal-powered plants – represents the first step in their plan to advance environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts that will ultimately have tremendous socioeconomic value while speeding up the financial sector’s transition to low-carbon portfolios.

Innovative ideas in sustainable finance will play an especially important role at the 2022 Annual Meeting.

Building a Brighter
Tomorrow Together

Setting the stage for a sustainable global recovery from the pandemic will be no small task for the business, government and civil society leaders attending the Annual Meeting 2022. Making progress on tackling climate change, building a more inclusive future, and empowering the world to harness the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will require a great deal of collaboration and an equal amount of commitment.

Hanwha is committed to being part of the solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. As such, the company will be attending the Annual Meeting just as it has been for the last 12 years, actively engaging in discussions that will help create a future that’s more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

Creating a better tomorrow means planting the seeds of sustainability in everything we do.