MANILA, Philippines - Contrary to reports, the SM Group reiterated on Friday that it will not cut trees in the expansion of its mall in Baguio City.
Rather, it said it will carefully ball out trees for replanting within its property.
It said it will also plant 50 saplings for every tree it will transfer, going beyond the city requirement of planting only 20 saplings for every tree balled out.
SM's one-year redevelopment of its mall in Baguio was met with protest rallies by residents there. The residents claimed SM will cut over a hundred alnus and pine trees to build a 7-storey building.
However, the SM group said it is true in its commitment to a sustainable environment and promised that the mall expansion will be environment-friendly.
It said it partnered with the US Green Building Council (USGBC) to make sure that the building will be cost-efficient and energy saving.
Aside from this, it said the mall will feature "green" amenities such as a roof garden, which will be landscaped with native and non-invasive trees and plants intermingled with numerous water features.
"The project aims to be the first mall in the country to be certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the internationally recognized standard for green building design and construction developed by USGBC," SM said.
SM will start the expansion of the mall this month. The project will add 76,000 square meters to the existing mall's floor area of 106,000 square meters.