The Path to a Carbon-Neutral Future Through Digital Technology and Platform Innovation

By Daniel Zhang

The sky is not the restrict. As corporations around the globe chart the finest system for mitigating greenhouse gasoline (GHG) emissions, the largest amongst us have not only the chance but also the accountability to make a much even larger effect than we have to support limit the weather disaster. We can’t basically meet up with proven guidelines. We ought to go above and past.

As a world-wide digital infrastructure company and system corporation, Alibaba signifies tens of millions of brand names and billions of buyers. That places us in a special situation to create a robust sustainability framework ideal to our size and industry presence that can guide us to meaningfully address the local climate challenges and support make a sustainable foreseeable future.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is the world’s most commonly made use of greenhouse fuel accounting typical for businesses. In this accounting program, which guides thousands of companies’ carbon neutrality actions, the independent Earth Sources Institute (WRI) and Environment Company Council for Sustainable Improvement (WBCSD) have delineated three scopes that advocate operational boundaries for organizations to account for and minimize their GHG emissions:

  • Scope 1 targets immediate GHG emissions from these kinds of organization-owned resources as vehicles, boilers and furnaces, and production equipment.
  • Scope 2 accounts for emissions from electrical energy a firm purchases from exterior resources and consumes.
  • Scope 3 accounts for other oblique emissions up and down during a company’s benefit chain ensuing from this sort of functions as useful resource extraction, transportation of fuels, and the use of its merchandise and solutions.

Although these a few scopes offer a robust framework for businesses to meet up with GHG emission ambitions, the most significant world-wide companies can—indeed, we must—push beyond this blueprint for carbon neutrality to assistance accomplish important adjust.

Alibaba has fully commited to be a part of the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to assistance limit the worldwide temperature improve to
1.5°C (2.7°F)
. In forming our plans, Alibaba initiated a detailed assessment of the GHG emission level for the first time.

Given the diversity and variance of our business ecosystem—encompassing digital commerce, nearby expert services, logistics, cloud computing, enjoyment, and more—the assessment has been unusually advanced. Yet we are self-confident that the elevated penetration of digitization and system innovation sets up Alibaba Group to support reach a strong changeover into a reduced-carbon circular economy that will help decarbonize not only our very own procedure but the overall value chain.

We created an ambitious target to obtain Scope 1 and 2 carbon neutrality and halve Scope 3 emission intensity by 2030. We assume to meet up with Scopes 1, 2, and 3 targets by 2030 as a result of digital transformation, using this kind of actions as lessening our emissions by way of far more successful procedures and vitality-conserving technological innovation shifting our power intake to renewable assets and prioritizing carbon reduction more than removal, and elimination around offsetting.

The Scope 3+ Objectives

But Alibaba’s ideas go beyond Scope 3.

We have expanded our ambitions to exceed those people goals as a result of Scope 3+, our commitment to minimize GHG emissions throughout our digital platform ecosystem by 1.5 gigatons from 2021 to 2035. Scope 3+ priorities incorporate sustainable consumption, sensible transportation, digitalizing the recommerce marketplace, low-carbon operations and management, and inexperienced logistics and recycling.

As we endeavor to even more determine, measure, and lower the emissions across our ecosystem, Alibaba invitations our global corporate and community-sector friends to join us, our companions, and our local community in meeting the ambitious carbon-neutrality plans of Scope 3+.

We entirely acknowledge that adopting actions as audacious as Scope 3+ involves additional than getting a closer glimpse at environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policy. It usually means a full transformation—changing overall organizational missions, cultures, and the way we function.

“This goes beyond the regular scope of responsibility that businesses take for emissions reduction—indeed, it seeks to measure emissions that are adjacent to their value chain, not right within just it,” states Peter Lacy, International Sustainability Services Lead and Main Accountability Officer at Accenture. “No one business has however thoroughly delivered on the potential of lowering ecosystem emissions and reworking an total end-to-stop worth chain at the scale Alibaba aspires to.”

Whilst it may possibly seem to be daunting at first, the sweeping transform of Scope 3+ carbon reduction is evidently achievable when we watch it as the aggregate end result of incremental digitization efforts that include the collaboration of all stakeholders—our employees, associates, and prospects. These initiatives can start out little and nevertheless encourage us to imagine larger by:

  • performing with manufacturers on our platform to create a devoted channel that promotes environmentally friendly usage and advocates for a sustainable eco-ahead way of living
  • supporting the circular economic climate to encourage the reuse of preowned items on Idle Fish, Alibaba’s secondhand-marketplace electronic system
  • encouraging a lot more recycling and the use of recycled packaging through Cainiao, Alibaba’s wise-logistics platform
  • assisting workplaces go far more fully digital—reducing power usage in workplaces and endorsing inexperienced transportation—through Alibaba’s robust cloud-computing infrastructure and DingTalk, its smart collaborative-work platform
  • using Alibaba Cloud’s solution and technological know-how innovations to aid our prospects discover higher vitality effectiveness, this sort of as with our demonstrated vitality-effective, liquid-cooling datacenter technological innovation and other proprietary items that produce significant efficiency with decrease energy usage.

Collectively, even though these packages add to the Scope 3+ mission, each is nevertheless an early exploration, even an experiment. None can remedy the local climate crisis on its very own. In our own goal of reducing carbon emissions by 1.5 gigatons by 2035, we give Scope 3+ not as the solution but as a issue.

For that cause, we really encourage each and every leading organization on Earth to choose a stand with us in a unified struggle to protect our world wide ecosystem together.

Each and every huge change begins at home. For Alibaba, increasing Scope 3+ to its fullest ambitions usually means teaming up with all our partners—merchants, establishments, staff members, and consumers—to lessen our carbon footprint and create bold company improvements and initiatives.

We’re not in this alone—we can’t be. But we want to assistance encourage measures of improve that herald a greener potential for the world.

Master far more about preventing the climate crisis in the latest Alibaba Group Carbon Neutrality Action Report.

Daniel Zhang is Chairman and Chief Govt Officer of Alibaba Group.

Marcy Willis

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