Alimentary selected for CleanTech Delegation to South Korea

In May 2024, eleven business leaders from New Zealand's ESG and clean technology sectors travelled to South Korea, renowned for its advanced economy and cutting-edge sustainable solutions.

This delegation, organised by the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, aimed to explore South Korea's thriving market for sustainable innovations and forge meaningful connections that could advance both nations' commitments to a greener future.

South Korea: A Powerhouse of Innovation and Sustainability

South Korea, known for its remarkable economic growth and technological advancements, is now making significant strides in sustainability. South Korea invests heavily in sustainability initiatives and industrial decarbonisation as one of the world's largest manufacturers. This focus on sustainability is a testament to the country's commitment to addressing climate change and recognising the economic opportunities that green technologies present.

Jeong Yob Park, Acting Trade Commissioner at NZTE Seoul, emphasised the potential benefits of this collaboration: "With stringent sustainability mandates and regulations, New Zealand's cleantech solutions can support South Korea's commitment to achieving climate neutrality by 2050."

Learning from South Korea: Key Insights

The New Zealand delegation gained valuable insights into South Korea's approach to sustainability. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Government Support and Regulations: South Korea's government has implemented robust policies to support sustainability and innovation. These include stringent emissions regulations and substantial investments in research and development. The delegation learned that understanding and aligning with these regulations is crucial for entering the Korean market.

Innovation Trends: South Korea is a leader in technological innovation, particularly in renewable energy, waste management, and electric vehicles. The country's commitment to research and development has fostered an environment where cutting-edge technologies can thrive. This presents an opportunity for New Zealand companies to collaborate on pioneering projects.

Market Dynamics: The Korean market is highly competitive, emphasising quality and efficiency. The delegation noted the importance of demonstrating the effectiveness and reliability of their technologies. Building solid relationships with local partners and understanding the cultural nuances were also highlighted as essential for success.

A photo of the New Zealand clean technology delegation that visited Seoul on the 28th. [Photo = New Zealand Trade and Industry Promotion Agency]

Entrepreneurial Insights: Challenges and Opportunities

The entrepreneurs from New Zealand shared their experiences and reflections on the Korean market. Here are some of their insights:

As co-founder of Alimentary Systems, I reflected on the importance of a circular economy model: "South Korea's focus on waste-to-value solutions aligns perfectly with our mission. The challenge is to adapt our model to meet the specific needs and regulatory requirements of the Korean market." and somebody quoted me the local media - Korea and New Zealand establish 'clean technology company network'... "Expected synergy between Korean manufacturing and New Zealand technology"

Fiona Bycroft, CEO and co-founder of Naut, noted the potential for electric propulsion systems in Korea's marine sector: "The Korean market is ripe for innovation in electric boating. However, we need to ensure that our systems are technically superior and meet local standards and consumer expectations."

Mark Chadderton, CEO of Aspiring Materials, emphasised the need for collaboration: "Partnering with Korean companies can accelerate our efforts to offset CO2 emissions. The key is to find the right partners who share our vision and can help us navigate the regulatory landscape."

Dr Olivia Ogilvie, CEO and co-founder of Opo Bio highlighted the cultural aspects of business: "Understanding Korean business etiquette and building trust is fundamental. The connections we make here can provide invaluable support as we introduce our cultivated meat technology to this market."

Matt Kennedy-Good, President of Neocrete, discussed the pivotal role of innovative concrete solutions in achieving carbon neutrality: "Korea's commitment to reducing carbon emissions has accelerated the search for low-carbon alternatives in the concrete industry. At Neocrete, we are developing resilient, regenerative, and carbon-zero concrete solutions that can significantly reduce the environmental impact of construction."

The Road Ahead: Opportunities for Collaboration

The delegation's visit underscored the immense potential for collaboration between New Zealand and South Korea. Here are some of the areas where partnerships could flourish:

Renewable Energy: South Korea's ambitious renewable energy goals present opportunities for New Zealand companies specialising in wind and waste to value. Joint ventures and knowledge exchange can help both countries achieve their sustainability targets.

Waste Management: Innovations in waste management, such as Alimentary Systems' circular waste-to-value model converting sewerage into carbon credits, can address South Korea's need for efficient and sustainable waste solutions and a $34M gap in gross emissions reduction required from offshore projects. Collaborative projects can lead to the development of advanced waste management systems that benefit both nations.

Electric Mobility: With a strong push towards electric vehicles, South Korea offers a lucrative market for companies like Naut Ltd. Developing infrastructure and promoting electric mobility can reduce emissions and enhance energy efficiency and the need for

Agricultural Technology: Solutions like Opo Bio's cultivated meat technology can contribute to food security and sustainability in South Korea. Partnerships in agrarian technology can lead to the development of sustainable food production systems.

Offshore Wind Energy: Offshore wind energy is a burgeoning field with immense potential. Collaboration between New Zealand and South Korea can significantly advance this area, particularly with innovative storage solutions from companies like EnergyBank, led by Tim Hawkey.


Conclusion: A Shared Vision for a Sustainable Future

The New Zealand CleanTech delegation's visit to South Korea highlighted the synergies between the two countries in pursuing sustainable development. By leveraging each other's strengths and fostering collaboration, New Zealand and South Korea can drive innovation, reduce emissions, and build a greener future.

Nick Siu, Director of Business at the Asia New Zealand Foundation, aptly summarised the mission's impact: "The connections they make can provide ongoing support and knowledge sharing, ultimately helping New Zealand businesses succeed in Asia."

Thank you to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Dawn Bennet, Jeong Yob Park, Yun Ju Jung, and Hayden Mackenzie for the hard work behind the scenes to create unique access for us to meet senior-level stakeholders.


I cannot express my gratitude for Ethan Jones (李沛东), who led these business leaders on this mission, backing New Zealand cleantech to make a difference in Asia; the insights gained and the relationships forged will undoubtedly pave the way for transformative projects and partnerships. We are now preparing presentation documents for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Callaghan Innovation about IMTO's Article 6, CBAM, and their impact on global trade, and how collaboration between the nations will contribute to a more sustainable and prosperous future for both countries.

Engaging with Te Ao Māori: A Journey of Understanding and Collaboration
Navigating Cultural Tax