National Geographic
Menu

China’s Alibaba Group to “mobilize hundreds of millions” for environment

Alibaba Group, a global e-commerce company, will begin this year to earmark 0.3 percent of annual revenues “to fund efforts designed to spur environmental awareness and conservation in China and around the world,” the company announced.

The group’s conservation strategy will focus on clean water and better air.

“This financial commitment is part of a comprehensive plan to drive greater understanding of environmental issues and to mobilize Alibaba Group’s customers, partners and employees toward actions that will lead to a cleaner environment for generations to come,” the company said in a news statement.

“It’s clear that we have serious environmental issues in China and China has become an important constituent in the global environmental dialogue,” explained Jack Ma, founder, chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group.

“As a company that believes that corporate social responsibility should be part of our business model, we have decided that water pollution and waste along with CO2 emission are two of the direst issues that plague our planet.

“While China cannot slow down its development economically, we must act to offset the impact on the environment as a result of that development.

“If we don’t take action now, it would be unthinkable to imagine the world in which our children and grandchildren will live.

“A sustainable environment requires sustainable commitment. That’s why we are allocating a percentage of our revenues every year as part of our contribution towards awareness, conservation and remedial actions.”

The announcement is “the first step toward mobilizing hundreds of millions of people to get involved by spreading the word through Alibaba Group’s user bases and platforms,” the company added.

“In addition to being able to provide funds to support clean water and better air, we also hope to motivate our young and energetic workforce of 18,000 employees to be more aware and to take actions to help the environment. We hope that our collective and individual efforts can set an example for our hundreds of millions of consumers and small business customers, increase their own awareness and also spur them to action.”

Ma, who recently joined the global board of The Nature Conservancy, announced the group-wide initiative during the annual general meeting of shareholders for Alibaba.com.

Member companies of Alibaba Group, including Taobao, Alipay, China Yahoo! and Alibaba Cloud Computing, will all take up their pro rata share of this commitment, according to Ma. The revenue contributions will be paid into a dedicated environmental fund annually and the fund will be administered internally by a team of dedicated employees of Alibaba Group.

In addition to creating a fund to finance environmental projects, the Group said it was also devoting significant human resources, focus and attention to this effort. “Our senior management has committed to meet on a regular basis to discuss and plan implementation of projects and initiatives that will support the goals of clean air and water,” Ma said.

“The vast majority of small business entrepreneurs want to do right by the environment but don’t have access to advice and best practices as to how they can do that without compromising the viability of their businesses,” said David Wei, CEO of Alibaba.com. “At Alibaba.com, we can help small businesses develop and implement better practices that will protect the environment without impeding their growth. The key to sustainability is finding a way to make environmental protection part of your business model.”

“With more than 5 million packages being shipped a day from transactions made on Taobao, we can help educate our consumers and merchants on ways to reduce waste from excessive packaging,” said Jonathan Lu, president and CEO of Taobao.

“We believe that among the key unifying values for the consumers and small businesses we serve will be a strong sense of responsibility to each other as well as to the planet,” Ma said. “I also believe that the multiplier effect of motivating these hundreds of millions of people and having them do their best to influence others could have an extraordinarily positive impact.”

Founded in Hangzhou, China, Alibaba.com has offices in more than 60 cities across Greater China, Japan, Korea, Europe and the United States. Taobao (www.taobao.com) is the largest Internet retail website in China. It provides the most comprehensive product offering and serves more than 190 million registered users, according to the company. Transaction volume on Taobao exceeded RMB200 billion (U.S.$29 billion) in 2009.

Comments

  1. Kerry
    May 11, 2012, 10:07 am

    “While China cannot slow down its development economically, we must act to offset the impact on the environment as a result of that development.”

    I always prefer to read a statement like this, a statement saying “Yes, our development is causing harm but we’re trying to offset it”, as opposed to “Yes our development is causing harm, tough luck” or “We will stop doing this”. Often, it simply isn’t practical to just stop and a promise to do so will have to be broken.

    0.3 percent doesn’t sound like very much, but when you consider how many people are using the wholesaleplatform alone, it’s going to be a substantial amount of money. I’m also impressed that they’re looking to help other businesses minimise their impact on the environment too, that makes you think that they really are taking this seriously, it’s not just a PR stunt.