The following is a list of representative organizations that are in charge of environmental regulations in South Korea.
- Ministry of Environment
- National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER)
- National Institute of Chemical Safety (NICR)
- Korea Environment Corporation (KECO)
- Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI)
- Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
- Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS)
- Korea Energy Agency
- Ministry of Employment and Labor
- Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency
Ministry of Environment
The Ministry of Environment is a central administrative body that aims to prevent environmental pollution and damages, and to properly manage and conserve the environment. In 1967, a department responsible for environmental issues was first established under the Environmental Health Division of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Since then, as pollutants had become a social concern, the need for an administrative agency specialized in environmental matters increased, and the department was reorganized into the Ministry of Environment on December 23, 1994. The Ministry of Environment started the centralized management of chemical substances since around 2010, when a number of accidents were caused by chemical substances. The Ministry of Environment formulates and promotes basic plans for natural environment, ambient environment, water environment, and waste management, while promoting policies related to the prevention of pollution caused by automobiles, the use of low-emission fuels, responses to climate change, and the conversion of waste into energy. The development of environmental technologies and soil and groundwater management are also under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment.
National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER)
The National Academy of Environmental Sciences (NIER) is responsible for surveys and research for preventing environmental pollution. The NIER is also in charge of evaluation of the toxicity and hazardousness of chemical substances under the Act on Registration and Evaluation, etc. of Chemical Substances (K-REACH).
National Institute of Chemical Safety (NICR)
The National Institute of Chemical Safety (NICR) is responsible for operation related to the prevention of, response to, and recovery from accidents caused by chemical substances. It also operates the Comprehensive Information System for Chemical Substances, which discloses safety information on chemical substances and the history of chemical accidents.
Korea Environment Corporation (KECO)
The Korea Environment Corporation (KECO) was established pursuant to the Korea Environment Corporation Act, and is responsible for projects related to environmental pollution prevention, environmental improvement, promotion of recycling, and responses to climate change.
Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI)
The Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) was established pursuant to the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute Act and is mainly in responsible for promotion of the purchase of environmentally friendly products, technological development and strategy formulation and support for export.
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is a central government that aims to improve the competitiveness of enterprises through industrial development and increased trade, and to promote the continuous growth of the national economy through stable supply of energy and resources. The Ministry formulates and promotes policies in four areas: Industry and Technology, Trade and Investment, Trade and FTAs, and Energy and Resources. Since fiscal year 2019, the Ministry has expanded its support for the hydrogen economy industry, which uses hydrogen as its main energy source, fostering a system for the entire cycle of hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and utilization. Regarding energy, the Ministry is responsible for implementation of the Energy Use Rationalization Act, which stipulates energy conservation regulations.
Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS)
The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards is a subordinate organization under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, of which main duties include establishing policies and conducting necessary investigation for industrial standards, formulating product safety and quality standards and conducting technical evaluations.
Korea Energy Agency
The Korea Energy Agency, a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, was established pursuant to Article 45 of the Energy Use Rationalization Act. It promotes policies and projects to rationalize energy use and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is mainly responsible for managing the efficiency of energy-using equipment and the safety management of heat-using equipment.
Ministry of Employment and Labor
The Ministry of Employment and Labor is the central government agency responsible for employment, welfare of workers, insurance against occupational accidents, and other labor-related matters. It was established in July 2010 by reorganizing the Ministry of Labor. The Ministry is responsible for implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which sets various regulations for places of business.
Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency
The Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Employment and Labor, is responsible for inspecting and checking the safety of business and construction sites, evaluating the hazards of business sites, and evaluating and certifying hazardous and dangerous equipment.