Climate change is a hot topic around the world, a top-notch challenge that unites the world’s business leaders. In the face of adversity, international firms have a duty to act, to assume their responsibilities and to set an example.
The global economy must evolve from the linear model of “take, produce, throw away” to embrace a circular economy with low carbon emissions, according to the model of “refuse, reuse, refurbish and recycle”. Alibaba is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
The consumption of natural resources today is almost twice the rate at which the Earth regenerates them. The vast amounts of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) have become the main cause of climate change, leading to more frequent and intense natural disasters, degradation of the ecological sphere and pollution of the environment. air, soil and water.
It’s time to act
The disasters and multiple extreme weather events of the past year are signals that alert us to the seriousness of the situation. This is a reminder: we need, on the one hand, to act more quickly and, on the other hand, to achieve economic development where non-renewable resources are no longer subject to strong global dependence.
To achieve this, the global economy must evolve from the linear model of “take, produce, throw away” to embrace a circular economy with low carbon emissions, according to the model of “refuse, reuse, refurbish and recycle”. As one of the largest retail and e-commerce players in the world, the Alibaba Group plays an important role in supporting this transition.
Reducing emissions to achieve sustainable development
Unchanged for 20 years, our mission is to make life easier for entrepreneurs everywhere. Today, this mission takes on a new meaning and it is with pride that we assume our responsibilities to overcome the greatest challenges of our society.
Our whole ecosystem is concerned: we not only want to improve the quality of life of consumers with easy access to goods and services, but also to help companies – from young start-ups to large multinationals – to develop in a sustainable way by reducing their GHG emissions.
Based on this principle, the Alibaba Group has decided to join the “Science-Based Targets” initiative, to help limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. And we have set new short- and medium-term carbon neutrality goals.
Optimizing our innovative technology to meet immense challenges
Alibaba has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 in its owned businesses, i.e. those considered in Objectives 1 and 2*. We will therefore have to make changes to the premises and vehicles of our company, and revise the way in which we obtain electricity and heating.
We will also work with our partners upstream and downstream in our value chain to reduce the intensity by 50%1 emissions by 2030, considered in Objective 3*. Building on our heritage of innovation, we will increase the use of clean energy and improve energy efficiency. Additional initiatives, we will put in place supplier ecological management plans, thanks to these incentive mechanisms to generalize their use. Of course, this will not be easy. Goal 3 is arguably the most difficult to measure and requires reliable data collection. But we intend to optimize our technical expertise, mobilize all our teams and intensify our efforts to overcome these challenges.
Ultimately – and this is an Alibaba exclusive – we have identified an opportunity to expand the boundaries of our Goals 1, 2 and 3. In this way, we will be able to better promote emission reduction behaviors, through technological innovations. and new business models.
To this end, we are taking a pioneering role with the concept of “Goal 3+”, which encompasses emissions generated by a wide range of actors in our ecosystem. This is the case of Tmall, Alibaba’s Chinese B2C marketplace, for which Objective 3+ includes general emissions from suppliers, merchants and customers. By “general emissions” we mean all of their emissions: those from activities relating to Alibaba’s products and services and those from other activities.
We are convinced that this will have a significant role to play in reaching the 1.5°C target of the Paris agreements. We also launched the 1.5 Gigatons for 1.5°C project, where we will leverage our different platforms to achieve a 1.5 billion tonne reduction in carbon emissions across our entire Goal 3+ by 2035.
A collaborative three-step approach to achieve the set objectives
First, we hope to spur a new wave of technology and business model innovation within Alibaba to inspire our teams and bring innovative solutions to meet the urgent needs of society on climate.
We also want to bring together partners across our digital ecosystem, from brands to merchants and from producers to consumers, to make this transition together. This will result in the promotion of greener products to consumers and increased promotion of green and responsible behaviors to merchants and consumers. Such behavioral shifts will influence decision-making in all aspects of a brand’s value chain, including the search for greener logistics and packaging solutions.
Finally, we hope to work with partners, research organizations, academic institutions and certification agencies to develop better digital systems for tracking, recording, verifying and evaluating carbon emissions. These efforts will serve to establish a solid scientific and technological foundation for the transition.
We are convinced that Objective 3+ is a natural extension of the previous Objectives. This challenge requires us to mobilize our efforts around innovative solutions, which will make it possible to intensify the global reduction of carbon emissions.
Technology will play a vital role in achieving our goals and driving long-term behavioral change, for the good of our planet.
*Objective 1 (Scope 1): direct emissions from owned or controlled activities.
*Objective 2 (Scope 2): indirect emissions resulting from the production of the energy consumed.
*Goal 3 (Scope 3): all indirect emissions (not included in Goal 2) that occur in a company’s value chain, i.e. upstream and downstream emissions.