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March 29, 2024 – Hyundai Motor Company has announced its withdrawal from its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to purchase aluminum from a new 1.1GW coal power plant-powered smelter in North Kalimantan, Indonesia, with Adaro Minerals, a subsidiary of Adaro, the second largest coal mining company in the country.

This statement comes a year after fan-driven climate platform Kpop4Planet’s “Hyundai, Drop Coal” campaign launched in March 2023. More than 11,000 K-pop fans signed a petition calling on Hyundai to back out of the agreement and procure materials produced from renewable energy, focusing on solar and wind, for their car production in Indonesia instead.

On March 26 2024, Hyundai Motor Company headquarters in Seoul stated by email to Kpop4Planet:

“Following the expiry of the MoU at the end of 2023, both companies have decided not to renew it and to explore other opportunities independently. Hyundai Motor Company remains steadfast in its dedication to the responsible and sustainable sourcing of materials, ensuring the utmost transparency in our manufacturing processes.”

The production of Adaro’s aluminum is powered by coal from a newly constructed coal power plant, despite the smelter being part of a so-called ‘green industrial park’ in Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The coal plant would emit an estimated 5.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, according to Market Forces, a climate activist group focused on engaging investors.

If Hyundai continues the plan to purchase 50,000 – 100,000 tonnes of aluminum a year from this smelter, as stated in the original MoU, Hyundai’s Scope 3 emissions would increase by 3-6%, according to Market Forces. Hyundai has set a public target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

K-pop fans who partook in the campaign say this is a major win, including ARMY Indonesia, who took part as BTS is the brand ambassador for Hyundai’s Ioniq EVs.

“We are profoundly grateful for the solidarity shown by ARMY in supporting the people of Indonesia, particularly supporting those in North Kalimantan,” said Shifra Lushka, Community Leader of BTS ARMY Indonesia Amino, one of the supporters of the campaign. “We hope Hyundai will continue its collaboration with BTS, advocating for truly sustainable EVs that don’t use fossil fuels harming our Earth.”.”

BTS fans have collaborated closely with Kpop4Planet to collect more than 11,000 petition signatures from K-pop fans in over 68 countries. Through an offline action in Hyundai Motorstudio in Jakarta last year, the group delivered a petition and an open letter from fans to Hyundai’s headquarters, as BTS hits “Mic Drop” and “Dynamite” played in the background.

“We welcome Hyundai Motor’s firm stance to end the MoU with Adaro, but we won’t stop here,” said Nurul Sarifah, Kpop4Planet’s campaigner in Indonesia.

“We, along with K-pop fans who care about our climate and future, will closely monitor Hyundai’s sourcing to see if the company continues on the right path towards its commitment to carbon neutrality. Dropping coal and using clean renewable energy, particularly solar and wind, is the only option to secure future customers.”

About Kpop4Planet: Launched in 2021, Kpop4Planet is a climate movement led by K-pop fans for K-pop fans who love the earth and their favourite K-pop stars.