Friday , July 12 2024

‘SK-backed’ green company to cover the Mekong River with mangroves

Mangrove seedlings planted by SK in the coastal area in Trà Vinh Province in 2023. — Photo courtesy of MangLub Vietnam

TRÀ VINH — Starting with the planting of mangroves in the southern province of Trà Vinh in 2018, SK Innovation has restored 226 hectares of mangrove forests in Southeast Asia.

In particular, the area of mangrove forests restored in the southern Vietnamese provinces of Trà Vinh, Sóc Trăng, and Vĩnh Long along with MangLub alone amounts to 213 hectares.

Thy Phạm, chief operating officer (COO) of MangLub Vietnam, an eco-friendly business founded under the auspices of SK Innovation, shared her ambitious vision during an interview with a Yonhap correspondent in Trà Vinh Province on December 19 (local time).

Phạm has been engaged in a mangrove restoration initiative along with MangLub founder Kim Hang-seok in the southern province of Trà Vinh since 2019.

Thy Phạm, COO of MangLub Vietnam, poses for a photo with residents in Trà Vinh Province on December 19, 2023. — YONHAP/VNA Photo

“In fact, SK’s support enabled us to not only lay a foundation for mangrove expansion, but also raise awareness of the need for restoration through active educational efforts,” said Phạm.

“Currently, more than 100 Vietnamese are involved in planting and nursery management.”

Mangroves, which live in tidal mudflats and seashores in subtropical regions, are considered to be effective in countering climate change due to their superb carbon dioxide absorption capabilities.

They can also reduce damage to coastal areas and contain coastal erosion during natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis.

However, many Southeast Asian countries, including Việt Nam, have been cutting down mangroves for coastal resort development and shrimp farms.

The restoration of mangrove forests has revitalised the surrounding ecosystem.

“After the mangrove forests were made, a variety of creatures that feed on the nutrients in the roots of the trees began to gather, including conchs, marsh snails, clams, and shrimp of various sizes,” said Lam Hoang Binh, a local resident.

MangLub expects to see a variety of living things at the top of the food chain, such as birds and bats, in the near future.

Social responsibility

SK Group has been committed to various activities to realise its corporate social responsibility in Việt Nam.

South Korean doctors are performing surgery for a Vietnamese child with facial deformity. — Photo courtesy of SK

To be concrete, the company has performed free surgeries for children with facial deformities in 17 regions across Việt Nam under the slogan of ‘Smile for Children’ in collaboration with the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital and the Korean medical services volunteer organisation Semin Facial Deformity Assistance Corporation (Seminhoe) for 27 years since 1996.

So far, the programme has given 4,273 children new faces and smiles, with SK footing the total bill of 4 billion won (US$3 million) for the surgeries.

Most children with facial deformities suffer from cleft lip and palate.

Early surgery is crucial for these children because it can cause food to back up into their noses and affect their respiratory system, eventually hindering their normal growth in physical development, as well as negatively affecting their speech, appearance, and self-confidence.

In particular, the project has been recognised for its contribution to promoting medical cooperation between the two countries by having Korean medical staff perform surgeries alongside Vietnamese medical staff, handing down medical skills and donating used surgical instruments and equipment.

SK was awarded the Friendship Medal of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam for its contributions in 2008.

Staff members of the Happiness Sharing Foundation are posing for a group photo in the ceremony to launch the Vietnam Sunny Impact Startup (VSIS) Project. — Photo courtesy of Happiness Sharing Foundation

The Happiness Sharing Foundation, SK Group’s social contribution foundation, recently launched the Vietnam Sunny Impact Startup (VSIS) Project in Việt Nam in order to nurture Vietnamese young talents.

The project selects 10 teams demonstrating excellent ideas for social change models from a startup competition, which is hosted annually by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training, and guides them to start their own businesses.

“Every government and business across the globe are required to be actively engaged in coming up with solutions for countering the climate change and biodiversity crisis,” said Kang Chung-sik, Vice President of SK Innovation.

“We plan to map out business management strategies and present concrete action plans in line with this trend.” — YONHAP/VNA

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