SM founder Lee Soo-man to join tree-planting project in LA

September 25, 2023

The founder and former chief producer of SM Entertainment, Lee Soo-man, is stepping up his environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities with a tree-planting project in Los Angeles.

Lee will participate in the tree-planting event at Seoul International Park on Thursday (local time), according to music industry sources.

He will plant street trees together with the Koreatown Youth & Community Center (KYCC), a nonprofit organization composed of Korean residents in the local community, during the event to promote the beginning of a project to plant 1,000 street trees a year in the American city.

The founder and former chief producer of SM Entertainment Lee Soo-man is seen in this file photo. (Yonhap)
The founder and former chief producer of SM Entertainment Lee Soo-man is seen in this file photo. (Yonhap)

Lee will raise US$1 million in funding for the project through a matching fund system, in which he will donate the same amount as the funds collected quarterly. He will donate up to $500,000.

He is also expected to hold a press conference on the same day and emphasize that K-pop stars and other celebrities should contribute to carbon neutrality activities that can prevent global warming and return the love they have received from fans to society.

After selling most of his stocks in the K-pop powerhouse this year to the company’s rival Hybe, Lee founded his own company, Blooming Grace, and has since been active in running it.

Blooming Grace engages in business related to the ESG campaign and “cultural technology,” which he has emphasized since he was with SM.

The tree-planting event is also part of Blooming Grace’s “Dancing Tree for Carbon Zero,” one of its ESG social contribution projects.

Lee has shown great interest in the realization of carbon neutrality, such as planting trees, since his time at SM. Most recently, he donated 100 million won ($74,962) to a project to plant trees in areas that suffered severe damage from floods in Mongolia in July in a related move.