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

By Daniel Zhang

The sky is not the limit. As businesses throughout the world chart the very best course for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the largest amid us have not only the option but also the duty to make a far more substantial impact than we have to assistance restrict the climate crisis. We cannot simply meet up with established guidelines. We will have to go over and further than.

As a worldwide electronic infrastructure service provider and system organization, Alibaba signifies millions of models and billions of customers. That puts us in a special position to establish a sturdy sustainability framework proper to our sizing and current market presence that can tutorial us to meaningfully tackle the local weather worries and support develop a sustainable future.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is the world’s most greatly utilized greenhouse gas accounting typical for organizations. In this accounting program, which guides countless numbers of companies’ carbon neutrality actions, the independent World Means Institute (WRI) and World Business enterprise Council for Sustainable Growth (WBCSD) have delineated three scopes that advocate operational boundaries for companies to account for and lower their GHG emissions:

  • Scope 1 targets immediate GHG emissions from these enterprise-owned resources as autos, boilers and furnaces, and output machinery.
  • Scope 2 accounts for emissions from electric power a corporation buys from external resources and consumes.
  • Scope 3 accounts for other oblique emissions up and down through a company’s value chain ensuing from these kinds of things to do as source extraction, transportation of fuels, and the use of its products and solutions and solutions.

Whilst these three scopes deliver a potent framework for corporations to fulfill GHG emission goals, the biggest world businesses can—indeed, we must—push further than this blueprint for carbon neutrality to enable attain important improve.

Alibaba has fully commited to be part of the Science-Centered Targets initiative (SBTi) to help limit the world temperature improve to
1.5°C (2.7°F)
. In forming our aims, Alibaba initiated a comprehensive assessment of the GHG emission degree for the first time.

Offered the variety and variance of our business enterprise ecosystem—encompassing digital commerce, area solutions, logistics, cloud computing, leisure, and more—the investigation has been unusually intricate. Nevertheless we are self-confident that the enhanced penetration of digitization and platform innovation sets up Alibaba Group to help achieve a strong transition into a reduced-carbon circular financial state that will support decarbonize not only our have procedure but the whole benefit chain.

We manufactured an ambitious concentrate on to accomplish Scope 1 and 2 carbon neutrality and halve Scope 3 emission depth by 2030. We count on to fulfill Scopes 1, 2, and 3 targets by 2030 by means of electronic transformation, having these types of actions as lowering our emissions by way of more efficient procedures and power-preserving technological know-how shifting our vitality intake to renewable means and prioritizing carbon reduction about removal, and elimination over offsetting.

The Scope 3+ Plans

But Alibaba’s designs go over and above Scope 3.

We have expanded our ambitions to exceed all those targets via Scope 3+, our dedication to lessen GHG emissions throughout our electronic system ecosystem by 1.5 gigatons from 2021 to 2035. Scope 3+ priorities include sustainable use, clever transportation, digitalizing the recommerce current market, lower-carbon functions and administration, and inexperienced logistics and recycling.

As we endeavor to further define, evaluate, and cut down the emissions throughout our ecosystem, Alibaba invitations our worldwide corporate and general public-sector peers to join us, our companions, and our community in conference the ambitious carbon-neutrality ambitions of Scope 3+.

We entirely realize that adopting steps as audacious as Scope 3+ needs much more than using a nearer look at environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policy. It indicates a whole transformation—changing full organizational missions, cultures, and the way we operate.

“This goes further than the typical scope of accountability that companies take for emissions reduction—indeed, it seeks to evaluate emissions that are adjacent to their price chain, not immediately in it,” says Peter Lacy, World-wide Sustainability Services Lead and Chief Duty Officer at Accenture. “No a person business has nevertheless completely shipped on the prospective of reducing ecosystem emissions and transforming an full conclude-to-conclusion worth chain at the scale Alibaba aspires to.”

When it may well appear to be complicated at initially, the sweeping adjust of Scope 3+ carbon reduction is obviously achievable when we perspective it as the mixture consequence of incremental digitization endeavours that involve the collaboration of all stakeholders—our employees, companions, and clients. These attempts can start little and continue to encourage us to imagine greater by:

  • performing with brand names on our platform to make a focused channel that encourages green usage and advocates for a sustainable eco-forward way of living
  • supporting the circular economic system to motivate the reuse of preowned merchandise on Idle Fish, Alibaba’s secondhand-market digital platform
  • encouraging more recycling and the use of recycled packaging via Cainiao, Alibaba’s clever-logistics system
  • supporting workplaces go extra completely digital—reducing electrical power intake in workplaces and selling green transportation—through Alibaba’s sturdy cloud-computing infrastructure and DingTalk, its sensible collaborative-do the job platform
  • using Alibaba Cloud’s product or service and know-how improvements to enable our prospects find greater power performance, these kinds of as with our tested vitality-efficient, liquid-cooling datacenter technological know-how and other proprietary solutions that produce substantial performance with decreased ability use.

Collectively, although these programs contribute to the Scope 3+ mission, each individual is however an early exploration, even an experiment. None can fix the local weather disaster on its personal. In our have concentrate on of cutting down carbon emissions by 1.5 gigatons by 2035, we provide Scope 3+ not as the respond to but as a question.

For that motive, we inspire each major organization on Earth to take a stand with us in a unified combat to preserve our global ecosystem together.

Just about every large modify begins at home. For Alibaba, growing Scope 3+ to its fullest ambitions implies teaming up with all our partners—merchants, establishments, personnel, and consumers—to lower our carbon footprint and build daring enterprise improvements and initiatives.

We’re not in this alone—we just can’t be. But we want to help encourage actions of adjust that herald a greener future for the earth.

Learn far more about preventing the weather crisis in the most recent Alibaba Team Carbon Neutrality Motion Report.

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