The global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of practical solutions for protecting public health in everyday life. South Korea’s LS-Nikko Copper has partnered with the International Copper Association (ICA) to launch the “Copper Friends” campaign to bring attention to copper’s antimicrobial properties and promote its potential to the public. South Korean Olympic gold medalist Park Seung-Hi, who also holds the record for the most bronze medals at the Olympics for short-track speed skating and the most bronze medals for South Korea, has joined as an ambassador of the campaign to encourage the use of copper products in public spaces.
LS-Nikko Promotes Antimicrobial Copper
Copper’s well-established antimicrobial properties make it an ideal material for public touchpoints and part of the solution for fighting the spread of infection. LS-Nikko Copper has maintained a strong commitment to promoting copper’s antimicrobial properties and furthering its use in local communities.
Copper surfaces kill 99.9 percent of bacteria within two hours and continue to kill 99 percent of bacteria even after repeated contamination. Copper surfaces can also eliminate infectious bacteria and hospital “superbugs,” such as MRSA. Antimicrobial Copper alloys are the only solid metal touch surface materials registered as an antimicrobial substance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in copper’s antimicrobial properties intensified when the U.S. EPA announced that certain copper alloys made of at least 95.6 percent copper could also be effective against viruses, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Upon announcement, the EPA expected these copper alloy products to eliminate 99.9 percent of SARS-CoV-2 within two hours. A U.S. government-funded study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found that COVID-19 remained viable for up to two to three days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces, as opposed to only four hours on copper.
LS-Nikko Copper, along with ICA and the Poongsan Corporation, previously conducted research on copper’s antimicrobial properties in 2010 during the Asan Hospital Clinical Trials. The Asan Medical Center is Korea’s leading hospital for surgery and has a specialized clinical trial center. The trials also confirmed copper’s effectiveness in fighting bacteria with positive results.
Copper’s antimicrobial properties make it a logical choice for public touchpoints, such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, bus handles or metro poles. LS-Nikko Copper has continued to promote the use of copper for these purposes while making sure that no community is left behind. During the pandemic, LS-Nikko Copper donated 10 million won ($9,000) worth of antimicrobial copper doorknobs to the Ulsan Child Care Institution to reduce the children’s risk of infection. The doorknobs were made of more than 90 percent copper and are a part of a wider social antimicrobial copper donation program.
[The company] will continue to make social contributions using antimicrobial copper doorknobs.” —Spokesperson, LS-Nikko Copper
Copper’s potential as a public solution for health and safety has driven LS-Nikko Copper to launch the Copper Friends campaign to continue education about copper’s unique properties to enable healthier communities. In addition to the campaign, LS-Nikko has also produced a series of educational videos on copper’s properties, which were aired by the prominent national broadcaster MBC News with almost half a million views on YouTube alone.
As a result of a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, it was confirmed that the COVID-19 virus completely disappeared from the copper surface within four hours. We are concentrating on publicity and marketing to promote it.” —Official, LS-Nikko Copper
Copper Friends Campaign
The joint campaign by copper smelter LS-Nikko Copper and the International Copper Association seeks to educate South Koreans about copper’s antimicrobial properties through a series of outreach initiatives. Launched in June 2021, the purpose of the campaign is to provide education on the health benefits of copper in a fun and entertaining way to appeal to the wider public, as opposed to more formal academic or technical discussions.
The campaign will produce a series of YouTube videos featuring bright animations and the copper friends mascots to share key facts about copper’s use in fighting infection. Additional social media outreach, such as an Instagram account (@Copperfriends_2021), and fundraising events will help to spread the campaign’s message. LS-Nikko Copper’s annual summer “CU Tomorrow” science camps will champion the campaign’s message. ICA will provide support and lectures for the science camp and plans to donate antimicrobial doorknobs to local communities to promote a healthier environment.
I hope this campaign will help people to live healthy lives by promoting the antibacterial properties and value of copper in an easy and fun way.” —Yuhan-Jong, Director of the International Copper Association, Korea
The launch event at the LS-Nikko Seoul office was attended by the executive staff of LS-Nikko Copper, including CEO Stuart Doh, ICA and Olympian Park Seung-Hi. The event was covered by a major South Korean Broadcasting company, JTBC TV News Channel, as well as in national news articles, bringing awareness to the event across South Korea.
We will continue to provide full support to activities that promote the value of copper as a copper smelting company. . . I would like to express my deep gratitude to the ICA for carrying out these meaningful activities in Korea.” —Koo Bon-Kwon, Executive Vice President of LS-Nikko Copper
Teaming Up with Olympic Ambassador Park Seung-Hi
Former South Korean speed skater Park Seung-Hi, who won two gold medals at the 2014 Olympics, joined the Copper Friends campaign as its official ambassador to help promote healthy living in Korea. As the Olympic bronze medal record holder for short-track speed skating and the country of Korea, she was an appropriate choice to promote copper’s antimicrobial properties, as bronze is a well-known copper alloy. Park Seung-Hi has won a total of 18 bronze medals at various international competitions.
Park Seung-Hi will take part in the public outreach through participation in the digital campaign on YouTube and social media, as well as at fundraising and volunteer events related to the initiative. She will also attend LS-Nikko Copper’s CU Tomorrow Science camp as the campaign’s ambassador.
Park Seung-Hi joined the campaign to bring hope to South Korea as it seeks public health and safety solutions to “return to normal” following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. She wants the campaign to not only help make daily life healthier and more convenient after the pandemic, but also allow people to come together as a community, especially for sporting events like the Olympics. She understands the difficulty for younger players who have had to perform without spectators.
I know how much power cheering can provide at the right time. I believe ordinary daily life will return, as many people, including medical staff, are still working hard to find healthy ways to return to our daily lives. When the time comes, I want to hear kids cheering in the stands. To return to normal, I will work diligently to spread the message of the Copper Friends campaign, especially the ways in which copper can help to keep our friends and families healthy.” —Park Seung-Hi, Olympian and Ambassador of the Copper Friends Campaign
About LS-Nikko Copper
Headquartered in South Korea, LS-Nikko Copper Inc. is a leader in the global copper and precious metals smelting market. LS-Nikko Copper produces and supplies high-quality basic materials using innovative copper smelting know-how. The company employs the highest level of technology while maintaining its status as an environmentally friendly business.
About the Copper Alliance®
The Copper Alliance is a network of regional copper centers and their industry-leading members. It is responsible for guiding policy and strategy and for funding international initiatives and promotional activities. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the organization has offices in three primary regions: Europe, Asia and North America. The Copper Alliance has partnerships and programs in more than 100 countries.