Dec 20, 2021

Alibaba Group in Carbon Neutrality Pledge and Scope3+ Target

Sustainability
Alibaba
Ecommerce
Decarbonisation
Kate Birch
3 min
Tech giant Alibaba Group has announced a Carbon Neutrality Goal by 2030 and a pioneering Scope 3+ pledge to gain 1.5 gigatons of decarbonisation by 2035

Alibaba Group Holding Limited has announced a pledge to achieve carbon neutrality in its own operations by 2030. On top of that, the Chinese technology giant most well known for its ecommerce platform, has also introduced a pioneering Scope3+ initiative aimed at delivering 1.5 gigatons of decarbonisation across its business ecosystem by 2035.

This Scope3+ concept, and details of the carbon neutrality ambitions are included in the first Alibaba Carbon Neutrality Action Report. Alibaba says it aims to provide annual updates with progress verified by accredited auditors.

“We aspire to be a force for positive, innovative change in society. Our ESG strategy is predicated on our mission to be a good company that will live for 102 years and it is the vital foundation for Alibaba's future development,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group

“We will leverage our unique influence as a platform operator to mobilise actions and behavioural changes among consumers, merchants and partners in China and around the world with our newly proposed Scope 3+ target of reducing 1.5 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2035.”

Alibaba’s Carbon Neutrality Roadmap

Alibaba Group has committed to carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 21 emissions by 2030, and has set a 50% carbon intensity reduction target for Scope 3 by 2030 (using 2020 levels as baseline). 

Alibaba Cloud will take responsibility for a higher Scope 3 target and aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 in all three scopes.

Alibaba Group has committed to join the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), and has aligned its decarbonisation measures and strategy with the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” pledge, outlined by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Alibaba’s science-based approach includes leveraging energy-saving and efficiency-improving technologies to reduce emissions; actively transforming the energy structure with progressive use of renewables; and exploration of carbon removal initiatives. Alibaba says it will prioritise carbon reduction over removal, and removal over offset.

What is Alibaba Group’s Pioneering Scope 3+

Alibaba’s Scope 3+ refers to the emissions generated by a broader range of the platform's ecosystem who are currently outside of Scopes 1, 2, and 3.

“We believe the use of digital platforms can play a significant role in empowering a low carbon circular economic model that can lead to achieving the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement. The concept of ‘Scope 3+’ is based on the potential of leveraging our digital platforms to influence and advocate for low carbon products, services and behaviour among a wider group of stakeholders in our ecosystem, and share our energy-efficient technologies and innovative business tools with customers and business partners to reduce the carbon footprint together,” said Dr. Chen Long, Vice President of Alibaba Group and Chair of Alibaba’s Sustainability Steering Committee.

Alibaba launches ESG governance body

Alibaba has also introduced a three-tier ESG governance framework to oversee, enable and support the achievement of its carbon neutrality targets and broader ESG goals. 

This ESG body includes:

  1. A Sustainability Committee at the board level chaired by Jerry Yang, an independent director. Other board members include Walter Teh Ming Kwauk, Joe Tsai and Maggie Wu
  2. A Sustainability Steering Committee responsible for strategic planning, goal setting and management
  3. An ESG cross-business action group consisting of representatives from each business unit at the working level responsible for coordination and execution

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