The ‘UN SDG Moment’ (UN SDG Moment) was held in New York on the 19th (local time). The K-pop girl group BLACKPINK appeared at a conference where leaders from all over the world gathered. Black Pink member Rosé warned through a video message, “The climate crisis is getting more and more serious.”
More and more K-pop idol singers are raising their voices for environmental protection. As eco-friendliness and good consumption become a trend among the MZ generation, MZ generation idols who lead K-pop culture also warn about the climate crisis and the environment.
Last year, Blackpink became the first Asian artist to be appointed as an ambassador for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The global super group ‘BTS’ drew attention when they appeared in upcycling clothes at the opening session of the UN SDG Moment on September 20 last year. On the occasion of Earth Day on April 22, boy group WINNER and TREASURE conducted a campaign to “thank nature and deal with climate change” through the official YouTube channel.
Idols who show how to practice environmental protection are also appearing. For example, Loona member Chu, a member of the girl group, took on an eco-friendly challenge, such as explaining the correct way to separate collections through the YouTube channel ‘Guard Chu’ or performing a band performance with an instrument made of trash. Girl group StayC also showed fans how to consistently use eco-friendly products through the entertainment program ‘Civilization Express’ and the fan community channel Weverse.’
Some idols even warned of climate change with the title song. Girl group Dreamcatcher sang the lyrics of “It’s strangely hot, isn’t it?/The law of this planet/It’s drying up/It’s the same as your conscience” in the new song ‘Maison’ released on April 12. While removing the album, they held an event to practice environmental protection.
Idols’ active, eco-friendly campaigns lead to eco-friendly changes in the idol industry.
YG Entertainment is actively producing albums using environmental protection materials. YG is certified by the International Forestry Management Association (FSC) when making albums of its artists, such as BLACKPINK’s 2nd full album ‘BORN PINK’ and WINNER’s member Song Minho’s 3rd full album ‘TO INFINITY.’ We actively used award-winning paper, low-carbon eco-friendly paper, and soybean oil ink. SM Entertainment also produced the 2nd regular repackage album ‘Beatbox’ of boy group NCT Dream this year with eco-friendly materials.
However, some point out that there is a limit to making an album in an eco-friendly way. Even in the era of ‘not listening to music on CD,’ K-pop album sales in the first half of this year recorded about 34.94 million copies based on the Top 400 Circle Chart (formerly Gaon Chart). Behind the sales record, several K-pop fans are hidden to have photocards in the album and tickets to the fan signing event. There is a vicious cycle of throwing away the actual album after having only photocards and fan signing tickets. Along with K-pop fans, criticism of the idol industry system that encourages the mass purchase and discards of albums has increased.
Aware of the criticism, the agencies are trying to eliminate the CD and provide a streaming service. For example, the boy group Victon removed the physical CD and photo book form of the ‘Chaos’ album released in May and sold only photo cards and some goods. BTS member J-Hope also removed the CD from his solo album ‘Jack in the Box’ and recognized the QR code so that he could appreciate the album and photos.
According to K-Pop 4 Planet, a climate action platform for K-pop fans, about 90% of K-pop fans urged their agency to respond to the climate change crisis. As such, interest in the environmental protection of K-pop fans and MZ generation idols is increasing daily.
Large K-pop agencies are also stepping up here.
In fact, on March 10, Hive recommended Lee Mi-Kyung, CEO of the Environmental Foundation, as a candidate for an outside director. Furthermore, to practice sustainable management, SM Entertainment joined the ‘UN Global Compact (UNGC),’ the world’s largest corporate initiative, and JYP participated in the industry’s first Korean-type RE100 (procurement of 100% renewable energy).
The industry is watching whether the warnings from K-pop idols and fans about the future climate crisis can have a good effect on the entire planet and the idol industry.