On December 30th, 2022, The Catholic University of Korea (President Fr. Luke Jongchul Won) won a Commendation from the Ministry of Environment in recognition of its effort and achievements in implementing carbon Neutrality for years. The Catholic University of Korea is the very first university in Korea to receive commendation from the Ministry of Environment for its carbon-neutral practice.
The Ministry of Environment acknowledged that the Catholic University of Korea has been at the forefront of laying the foundation for carbon neutralization implementation since 2017. All these years, the Catholic University of Korea has proactively established and implemented carbon-neutral policies and was able to cut back electricity and gas energy by up to 18% compared to 2016 by installing solar power generating facilities, replacing original facilities with LED smart lights and high-efficiency air conditioners and heaters, and establishing on-campus comprehensive energy management system.
The forest-tree species management project that began in 2005 was highly regarded in awarding this commendation. For 17 years, the Catholic University of Korea planted about 14,000 trees, including pine trees, fir trees, and maple tree seedlings, creating a forested mountain located behind the campus that was once desolate in the past. The university has also been working hard to restore campus woods by replanting ginkgo trees that were raised at the university seedling nursery. The Catholic University of Korea will continue to change forest tree species to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus and contribute to national-level greenhouse gas reduction goals.
More efforts are also underway to embark on the 2050 Carbon Neutral Strategy of the Republic of Korea and meet 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, The University’s Carbon-Neutral Implementation Committee plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 2018. To do so, the committee established and is carrying out four major strategies:
- Enhancing energy management efficiency
- Optimizing ecology and absorption management
- Building carbon-neutral education and evaluation system
- Establishing and enforcing green conversion governance
COz, a student group for carbon-neutralization, will lead carbon-neutral implementation and culture while expanding educational programs to improve students’ awareness. In the next 5 years, the Catholic University of Korea will aggressively build a zero-waste campus and an energy-independent university by increasing solar power generation facilities.
President Fr. Luke Jongchul Won stated, “The commendation was the result of all university members, including students and faculties, who were able to come together to make carbon-neutral implementation happen. The Catholic University of Korea should continue to act as a leading carbon-neutral university to realize 2030 carbon reduction goals.”