One in the Same? Unpacking Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ESG in South Korea

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Substantial growth in global ESG investments has led to calls to better understand regional trends. To this end, this paper provides three major contributions with respect to the Korean market. First, it provides a comprehensive overview of the local ESG landscape. While drivers include aggressive ESG allocation and disclosure requirements, initial growth may have been propelled by a relabeling of existing investments rather than channeling of new capital. Second, this study unpacks ESG and corporate social responsibility (CSR) as presented in the literature. While prior studies have often used ESG and CSR interchangeably, clearer distinctions between the two terms may be called for. Third, this paper investigates ESG and CSR in South Korea through unique news data analysis of 88,946 articles. Unlike the academic literature to date, we see clearer distinctions between ESG and CSR via news analysis. Specifically, related terms for ESG focus on corporate governance and investors, while CSR retains a focus on social contribution and social responsibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-80
Number of pages22
JournalKorea Observer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • ESG
  • Social Contribution
  • South Korea
  • SRI


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