I’m Not Pine, Thank You, How About You?

For context, please visit this article: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/04/10/12/felling-trees-sm-baguio-sparks-online-wrath

At what lengths should profit maximization be pursued?  Is our current model of capitalism so distorted that one must indulge into great ruthless lengths just to succeed?  Do we need to murder trees, against the will of the community, to transform it to a measly parking lot?

Many Philippine celebrities and non-profit organizations are raising awareness via Twitter – aiming to spread a viral message against SM’s activities by trending #SaveBaguioPineTrees.  Kudos to Filipinos attempting to instigate a mini-people power through digital means.  But this time, the enemy is not a crooked president but a business activity with very questionable ethics.

I do not consider myself as the number one protector of the environment, unlike passionate environmentalists, but I know when something is just not right.  As a business student, the actions of SM bugs me.  If I were to become a rich businessman, should I really achieve profit at all costs?  Should profit generation be the only measurement of success?  Should I murder trees, judge what happens to nature’s children at my whim?

This is sickening.  What about pledges of conducting corporate social responsibility?  What about the essence of being sincere and authentic in pursuit of  the common good?

To people who would be reading this, please do reflect on the questions I ask and act according to what your morals dictate.  Let’s help in this revolution. It’s not just about this incident of saving the pine trees in Baguio, but showing the business world that we, the consumers, are powerful.  This is to show that we do not measure success just by profits, but we also place significant value on their “social profits”.

Spread the message via your Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media you utilize. Keep #SaveBaguioPineTrees trending.  Let us be driven by our Filipino values and make Mother Nature proud.

Let’s put social responsibility into our own hands and freaking facepalm greedy business leaders with our values-driven message.

I’m not pine, thank you, how about you?


4 replies
  1. MC
    MC says:

    SM has been involved in a lot of tree-planting activities in Baguio — thousands more than what they cut off. I think that the action they took because very unpopular because hardcore environmentalists want to preserve every single tree. SM cuts trees in Baguio, and now it’s experiencing a huge backlash… how about the relatively smaller businesses cutting trees everyday?If you think about it… a lot of things we use today are made of materials coming from trees. I guess this is the price of *rapid* economic and industrial development, ‘no? The third bottom line has always been outweighed.Councilors and local government will give in at the right price. Contrary to Jessie J’s song “Price Tag”, it’s ALL about the money.

  2. Patch Aure
    Patch Aure says:

    Hi MC!Thanks for the thought-provoking comment. You do raise very valid points, and the one that struck me the most is that the local government will tolerate such unbecoming behavior given the right price.This means that the problem extends beyond the ruthless greed of capitalism – even touching the tendencies of government to be corrupted by money.I’m still young and inexperienced in these kinds of things; I only know of glimpses and the tip of the iceberg when it comes to “necessary evil” business practices. But it’s time for government and big corporations to work together and be true to the social responsibility aspect. The system has become so distorted that being unethical has become a norm. And this is not an excuse to be unrighteous. We know that it MUST not be ALL ABOUT the money. Baguio residents know this, and my guess on the reason why the hardcore environmentalists are reacting big time is even though SM has been planting trees much more than they cut, it is still not enough to preserve the pine trees due to the time needed to let them grow back.And there’s the danger of climate change and the impending destruction to be brought by typhoons.If SM does have reason to justify their cutting of the pine trees, then by all means let them speak and enlighten us. The lack of transparency and our distrust for their intentions amplify the gravity of this issue.If their ultimate intention is for the common good, by all means let them prove it to us. But if it’s all about the money, it’s a different story.

  3. MC
    MC says:

    Amen. The hardest thing about digesting this issue is that SM seems to pave a way for the industry. This action, if tolerated, will make future endeavours of the same gravity slip by. SMDC will be a popular point of reference: “Ginawa na ng SM ito dati eh, bakit kami bawal?”Conspiracy Keanu: What if this issue is fueled not by hardcore environmentalists, but SM’s rival companies? :OAnyway, SM will most likely keep mum about the issue. They’ll wait for the issue to die down on its own. Also, can you imagine yourself boycotting SM? I simply cannot. :))

  4. Patch Aure
    Patch Aure says:

    Haha Conspiracy Keanu! Perhaps SM’s rival companies could have played a part in this. But there are active campaigns for the Baguio pine trees (such as Dakila’s One For Tree). However, I won’t be surprised if rival companies would facilitate the publicizing of this controversial issue. :))Regarding your last paragraph, that’s the easiest way to get out of the issue because Philippine politics has proven that Filipinos have short attention spans when it comes to issues. Keep quiet until another big issue comes up, then things will be forgotten.As to boycotting SM… Yes it is hard, but I think the only way wherein SM will feel the effects of a boycott is when an influential group or sect (for example, INC) decides to patronize the boycotting. In NCR, perhaps people could boycott SM because of the Ayala Malls and the Robinson’s, but in other regions or in Baguio (I’m not familiar with Baguio malls), people will have a hard time.Personally, my emphasis on the issue revolves around being socially responsible and having consumers serve as powerful stakeholders that can control the ruthlessness of purely profit-maximizing capitalism. 🙂


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