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Cases of social impact group in South Korea
Mr. Dong Ju Yoo, CEO/Founder of KOA
Hello, Everyone. This is Dongju Yu from K.O.A., K.O.A. designs a social premium brand that creates a sustainable business through the use of eco-friendly materials and innovative technologies. We engage in our mission through two brand lines, ‘le cashmere’ and ‘le home.’ ‘le cashmere’ is a fashion brand that integrates top-grade Mongolian cashmere with Zero-Waste technology. ‘le home’ is a living and lifestyle platform that curates and commits to a ‘sustainable lifestyle.’
Our vision of K.O.A started from a while back when I was spending many years in developing countries where I learned that, while many of these countries have excellent raw materials, they unfortunately lack the skills and experience that can turn those raw materials into actual products. For example, you have cashmere in Mongolia, leather in African countries, wood products in Indonesia. All of these raw materials are imported to companies in developed countries which uses these materials to manufacture their own products and sell them all around the world.
But the problem is that many of the companies in the developing countries do not make much money in the process and do not have its own business model and channel to sell their products independently. In other words, while these companies have excellent raw materials, they do not have the experience to value them up and take their business to the next level. And this is where we come in.
K.O.A takes these competitive raw materials from developing countries, collaborate with skilled designers to turn them into final products and also do marketing and branding to sell our products all around the world. While we make good profits from our business (which any business should), we don’t stop here. With our profits, we try to give it back to our business partners in the developing countries. For example, we provided training on how to operate a business give them an overview of the entire value chain, for example, production, branding, logistics, sales etc.
We also taught them how to design their own products digitally as opposed to paper-based which enables them to collaborate with designers all around the world. At the end of the day, we want to help them start their own business and develop their own brands in a sustainable way.
Our product lines include: cashmere products sweaters, scarfs, gloves, babies, Stationary accessories but it’s not just accessories you are made from recycled woods collected from abandoned houses in Indonesia and sustainable cashmere in Mongolia. We also recently launched an e-commerce platform where we sell products that have social purposes such as eco-friendly products.
For example, the way we market our le home products which is right here is, where you’re purchasing our product, you are actually making donations to plant a tree (your own tree) somewhere in Indonesia at the same time. As you can see right here, each product has its own number which matches the tree which you are investing in. So, in a way, by purchasing our product, you are participating in something much bigger. You are sharing our vision of promoting sustainable growth in these developing countries.
For the Mongolian locals, the only source of value creation lies in hair of goats, which is cashmere. But within this process lies a dilemma. In order to produce more cashmere, the natives started increasing the number of domestic goats without considering its environment impact on the environment.
Such increase in the number of goats has become the cause of major desertification because of their tendency to consume grassroots. In addition, due to the lack of advanced manufacturing technology and the monopoly, many cashmere SMEs are unable survive in the sector, making inclusive and sustainable development of the sector difficult,
Our KPIs include: First, Calculation of the number of goats that grassland can afford, Second, Rotational grazing for land recuperation, which is pasture management, Third, Cashmere quality control/ research, Fourth, Limiting cashmere collection to naturally-shed hair only in order to protect animal safety rights, Fifth, Application of textile technology and production of final products, Sixth, Serial numbering by product and planting a tree per number in return.
We are confident that what we call a “social impact business” will continue to grow going forward and, as a result, the local brands in these developing countries will enjoy sustainable growth and success. Thank you.

“You have cashmere in Mongolia, leather from African countries and wood products in Indonesia. But the problem is that many of the companies in developing countries do not have a business model or channel to sell their goods independently. And that’s where we come in.”

This is why Mr. Dong Ju Yoo, CEO/Founder of K.O.A(Knocking On A), has been striving to find a sustainable business solution for people in developing countries.

For more details, please see: Korean companies take on UN Sustainable Development Goals

Please analyze the KOA’s case and derive its SBM, considering one of the following key questions:

  • Social Value Proposition (Mission, Vision, Target social problems)

  • Solution: Products/Services, differentiation, core competence

  • Market Side (Target customers/beneficiaries, channel, CRM)

  • Operation Side (Key activities, Team, Collaboration)

  • Performance (Financial/social performance indicators, key achievements)

  • Future goals/agenda

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Social Innovation in South Korea

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