A Look at Alibaba’s Sustainability Initiatives in China

Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) plans to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations by the end of the decade by adopting sustainability practices and cutting carbon emissions across the entirety of its digital ecosystem. With national and international policies pushing corporations toward increased sustainability, Alibaba is poised to meet its carbon targets through a variety of sustainability initiatives in China.

The company is now supporting efforts to increase sustainability among its employees, consumers and merchants across China. This includes an early 2024 trial that involved more than 27,000 students saving around two tons of takeaway lunchboxes daily from the dump and facilitating the recycling of a majority of the waste (70%). Alibaba senior vice president Xiao Shuixian says that the e-commerce giant will team up with more ecological institutions and partners to advance its exploration of renewables and achieve its carbon neutrality goals.

Alibaba’s Xixi Park campus in Hangzhou is the largest office community in the country to gain an LEED International Platinum certification from LEED, a globally recognized system of third-party certifications that measures building design and construction sustainability. The system is currently implemented in 285 regions and countries worldwide. LEED North Asia VP Wang Jing says he is “very happy” that the LEED standard can aid Alibaba and other internet technology companies in China achieve their carbon neutrality plans.

The Xixi Park campus saved more than 2,866 tons of C02 in 2022 by incorporating various energy-saving measures into its operations. Alibaba employees at the campus can self-adjust air conditioning temperature and lighting brightness at their workstations with a single click. Furthermore, they have control over their office equipment and can turn it on and off of their own volition.

The Alibaba Cloud Campus has also incorporated similar sustainability features and now sources nearly 70% of its water from recycled rainwater. Solar panels covering many of the buildings contribute to the cloud campus drawing 40% of its energy needs from renewables and putting Alibaba on track to achieving its carbon neutrality plans.

Alibaba subsidiary and e-commerce market Taobao has also invested in a program first conceptualized by a lone entrepreneur that has seen the marketplace plant more than 10,000 trees in the slowly expanding Tengri Desert. After a young entrepreneur took over an abandoned post office close to the desert and retrofitted it into a Taobao shop planting trees on customers’ behalf, thousands of trees have been planted in the surrounding area. With the Tengri Desert expanding year by year, the planted forest’s roots will be crucial to arrest desertification in China.

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