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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Ousted SM founder initiates tree-planting project in LA as comeback effort

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Lee Soo-man, former business executive and record producer of SM Entertainment. [News1]

The latest updates of former executive producer Lee Soo-man, who parted ways with SM Entertainment in March, have been revealed.

As per the music industry sources on September 25, Lee Soo-man is set to attend a tree planting ceremony at Seoul International Park in Los Angeles on September 28.

This event signifies the initiation of a project aimed at planting and nurturing 1,000 street trees annually in the Los Angeles region. Lee will be planting a tree in collaboration with the Koreatown Youth & Community Center (KYCC), a renowned Korean American nonprofit.

Lee pledges to generate a total of $1 million through matching funds. He will match donations collected quarterly, contributing up to $500,000.

Additionally, Lee will conduct a press conference on the same day. Here, he will underscore the importance for K-pop artists and celebrities to reciprocate the affection they garner from their admirers. He will urge them to support carbon-neutral initiatives that can combat global warming.

Earlier this year, Lee divested a significant portion of his SM shares to HYBE and founded his own venture, Blooming Grace, where he now dedicates his expertise. Blooming Grace focuses on ESG projects intertwined with culture, inclusive of those pertaining to Culture Technology (CT)—an ethos Lee was passionate about during his tenure at SM.

The Los Angeles tree-planting initiative falls under Blooming Grace’s ESG (Environmental, social, and corporate governance) social contribution project, named Dancing Tree for Carbon Zero.

Lee’s ardor for achieving carbon neutrality via tree planting dates back to his SM days. He persists with his ESG-centered endeavors, as evidenced by his recent donation of 100 million won (approximately $74,700) for tree planting in Mongolia, a nation grievously afflicted by flood-related calamities in July.

BY YESEUL HYEON    [hyeon.yeseul@joongang.co.kr]