Climate change is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges facing humankind. Among diverse efforts to slow down climate change, climate tech gives room for Earth to breathe, focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing impacts of global warming. Cho Sung-hoon, CEO of Hooxi Partners, is at the forefront of this newly emerging field in Korea. Hooxi Partners is a climate tech startup working towards the goal of net-zero emission by 2050. Founded in 2021, the company has joined hands with the Seoul Metro to achieve carbon neutrality and was even invited as a featured speaker at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in just six months after its foundation.
The 2050 Carbon Neutrality Commission, a presidential committee serving as the control tower of Korea’s climate targets, has previously announced its plans to achieve net-zero emission by 2050. This came as a burden to individuals along with small and medium-sized enterprises that lacked resources to immediately reduce carbon emissions. Hooxi Partners was founded to help them out, consulting companies and helping them get credit for developing technology used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also educate individuals and are currently creating a metaverse ecosystem for actual practice.
Cho naturally developed his interest in environment and climate issues while working in the public transportation field at the World Bank and as a consultant in Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). He then started a consulting business on urban development and environmental improvement for convenient public transportation. Among many ways to address climate problems, Cho specifically chose to establish a climate tech startup as he sought to help companies and individuals offset carbon by using Information Technology. Cho went through constant discussion with W-foundation, one of the 20 global partners of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conducting greenhouse gas reduction projects together with governments, corporations, and organizations worldwide. Finally, he came to a conclusion to establish a climate tech company.
“We have completed consulting the transport sector of Subway Line 9 on greenhouse gas emissions, and have moved on to other sectors, solar and light,” he said. “We are currently focusing on creating a platform to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by bus, privately owned taxi, and cargo. They are the major producers of greenhouse gases but at the same time they can lead to desired effects through active reduction efforts.”
Despite these efforts, there is a lack of support and investment for climate tech companies in Korea compared to other countries as climate change is considered less significant than other issues. Fortunately, there is a growing awareness on the necessity of developing climate tech after a continuous fall in agricultural and fisheries yields, risk in global trade and economy, along with public health problems due to the outbreak of the pandemic. There has also been some positive news that there will be an increase in investment from the government and private sectors.
Cho has continuously stressed the importance of individual participation to achieve the goal of net-zero emission by 2050. However, the reality is that the SMEs, micro-enterprises, and individuals do not know how they can take action. To raise awareness that their careless habits are related to carbon emissions, Hooxi Partners is building a platform where individuals can gain economic and environmental benefits by reducing carbon emissions.
“We are in the preparation stage of developing a metaverse-based platform, HOOXI Planet, for inducing individual participation in greenhouse gas reduction,” Cho said. “Before its official operation, we are planning to launch an app called Hooxi Partners, an environmental reward service. Using this campaign app, people can contribute to environmental protection easily through games and rewards.”
Hooxi Partners has cooperated with W-foundation, Korea Research Institute on Climate Change, Seoul Metro, and Korea Transportation Safety Authority to work towards a single goal of tackling climate change. Cho’s ultimate goal is to make Hooxi Partners a technology partner that helps Earth breathe, encouraging not only companies but also individuals to easily contribute to reducing greenhouse gas in everyday life.