Fishermen know that if they want fish for the future, they need to let small fish to grow into bigger ones. For a fishing company, the CEO should also know that in order to have his business survive in the long run, the company need to make sure they are fishing within the sustainable limit.
But for Dongwon Industries, a company that has been linked to IUU fishing, multiple court cases surrounding the deaths of fishing crew members, questionable acquisition of foreign asset, and serious pollution at sea, changing the way the company catch its fish is only one of many things the company management need to fix.
As for the investors of Dongwon Industries, such environmental, social, governance (ESG) problems mean that their investments in the company are under serious risks. In order to bring these risks from outside South Korea to the investors of the mother company back home, we have decided to attend the annual general meeting of Dongwon Industries to let them know Greenpeace’s concerns on the business practices of the company.
This morning, a team of activists showed up in front of Dongwon’s headquarter in Gangnam District of Seoul, delivering the message “Your money is at risk” to the shareholders walking into the building to attend the company’s AGM. We want the company shareholders to be aware of the challenges and problems Dongwon faces in its overseas operation, understand the risks of putting their money into a company that show little concerns for the environment and the sustainability of the ocean.
It is already common view in the financial industry that ESG performance of a company can seriously affect the financial performance. And for Dongwon Industries, which has the ambition to become one of the world’s largest fishing companies, investors worldwide will tightly scrutinize its business practices. To minimize financial risks of their investments, shareholders and creditors need to pay more attention to the environmental and social performance of a company, and demand more transparency in its business operation. The long-term viability of the Dongwon is dependent on the health of our ocean, and the sustainability of the fish resource that form the base of the whole value chain of the business.
Elsa Lee is a Senior Business Advisor at Greenpeace International.