Forging a Sustainable Future: South Korea’s Bold Strides towards Carbon Neutrality through Wood Construction

By: Tai Jeong

Country Director, Canada Wood Korea

South Korea’s National Assembly served as the crucible for debate on April 27th, when the Wooden Architecture Policy Forum Committee of the Architectural Policy Association of Korea convened a forum. This esteemed gathering, orchestrated in part by National Assembly members Jung-jae Kim, Suk-jun Song, and Sung-gon Wi, along with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and the Korea Forest Service, tackled the multifaceted dynamics of wood construction. A constellation of firms and organisations, including the Architectural Institute of Korea, the Korea Wood Construction Association and Canada Wood Korea, sponsored the event.

The agenda aimed to carve a path for a policy-driven progression of the wood construction industry, with an eye on the year 2050. Legislation encouraging the use of wood in public buildings was a focal point, a strategic push driven by wood’s remarkable carbon sequestration abilities over the course of a structure’s life. It is an effort in harmony with South Korea’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, an endeavour that seeks to stand tall against the mounting global climate crisis.

Chairman Sang-Jeong Lee of the Forum Committee did not shy away from the scale of the task at hand. He acknowledged the manifold challenges besetting wood construction but declared that “it is time to contribute to the promotion and revitalization of wood construction and developing new technological advancements in engineered wood.”

The forum hosted enlightening presentations from Professor Dong-Hyuk Lee, Manager Kwang-Mo Kim from the National Institute of Forest Science, and Professor Jung-Kwon Oh. They traversed topics like the crucial role of wood construction in attaining carbon neutrality, the constraints within the domestic legal framework, and notable international policies regarding the incorporation of wood in public edifices.

Eminent academics from local universities, representatives from the Korea Forest Service and the LH Public Housing Corporation, and the director from the Korean Institute of Architects joined the discourse, contributing their unique perspectives.

In sum, the forum brought clarity and offered vital discourse on progressing wood construction, reinvigorating the industry, and steering it towards sustainable development in response to the pressing global climate crisis.

Established in 2019 under the Architectural Policy Association of Korea, the Wooden Architectural Policy Forum has benefited from the continuous involvement of Canada Wood Korea.