Overview of Alibaba Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts
Since our founding, Alibaba Group has been strongly committed to supporting and participating in charitable and socially responsible projects that align with our core values and mission, while establishing a charitable ecosystem that extends the benefits of our technological capabilities to the community at large. We are always looking at how we can address pressing social causes through both philanthropic contributions and the resources of our various businesses.
We have taken our social responsibility efforts one step further by establishing Alibaba’s Xin Philanthropy Conference, recognizing the value of discussion and renewed knowledge in driving even better outcomes for society. Launched in 2016 and hosted biennially by Alibaba Foundation, this initiative brings together pioneering philanthropists and thought leaders from around the world to discuss how we can make social responsibility initiatives even more impactful.
This year’s event will focus on The Power of Small, emphasizing the difference every individual can make in shaping the future for better. The theme speaks strongly to our commitment to giving back at all levels of our organization, with every Alibaba staff member urged to be active in the community by volunteering a minimum of three hours to public service each year.
This document highlights just a few of our key initiatives, offering a snapshot into our multifaceted approach to philanthropy and CSR.
In 2011, Alibaba Group established the Alibaba Foundation, a private charity fund which has earmarked 0.3% of Alibaba Group’s annual revenue to fund efforts designed to support environmental protection in China and helping the disadvantaged. In fiscal year 2018, Alibaba Group and the Alibaba Foundation made approximately RMB230 million (US$37 million) in donations.
Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund
Alibaba Group is strongly committed to alleviating poverty-stricken families and communities. Based on our belief that ending poverty is an achievable goal, we announced plans for the RMB10 billion Alibaba Poverty Relief Program in 2017. The program focuses on education, rural commerce advancement, empowering women, healthcare and environmental sustainability. It will be funded primarily by donations from both Alibaba Group and the Alibaba Partnership.
Model Mom Entrepreneurship
“Model Mom” was a term originally used by netizens in China to refer to Lihong Zhou, a teacher from Suzhou who was diagnosed with cancer yet continued to live life meaningfully. In response, in 2006, Taobao Marketplace launched the Model Care Project with Red Cross China to offer strong women like her the support they need to thrive in the face of adversity. The project helps mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds create their own businesses on Taobao Marketplace by providing them with start-up funds, hardware and training.
As a further show of support for entrepreneurship by women, the Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund established the Model Mom Entrepreneurship Competition in March 2018 to offer RMB 200,000 in interest-free entrepreneurship loans to 20 individual winners. The lucky recipients also received online training resources focused on entrepreneurship and one year of tuition-free training at Peking University.
BlueSky and Blue Map for Environmental Protection
Climate change is a growing issue in China and in the world. While governments work to impose more environmentally friendly regulations, organizations have an important role to play in advocating sustainable practices. To support the Chinese government’s battle to reduce air pollution and raise the accountability of businesses, Alibaba Group developed an app to track and receive air pollution emissions data from 12,000 Chinese enterprises. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development have since adopted this innovation to decrease water pollution in China.
Ensuring the safety of children in China is one of our most pressing concerns. In mid-2016, Alibaba Group unveiled the “Reunion” platform, which is connected to our and our partners’ mobile apps to help locate missing children across China. As of the end of March 2018, the system has helped law enforcement authorities locate 2,777 missing children, reflecting a 97.6% success rate. We hope this innovation can be implemented around the world to become a pillar in global efforts to protect children.
Mission Million Books
Mission Million Books (MMB) is a pan-Indian social initiative aimed at providing children and youth in need with access to quality educational materials for personal growth. Launched in mid-2016, the initiative supports the Indian government’s push for more universal access to quality education and seeks to donate 1 million books to schools and colleges in India. Alibaba Group, in association with Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, works with its partners to secure the books through donations from around the country, delivering them to unprivileged schools and colleges free of charge.
To date, over 750,000 books have been collected, with more than 650,000 books donated to almost 2.5 million students in more than 2000 institutes across India. The initiative has received valuable support from several prominent partners, including Ecom Express, Paytm Mall, Hindustan Times, Carnival Cinemas, Stones2Milestones, World Bank Book Project and Nawa Samaj Mandal.
Sample of CSR initiatives by select business units
Energy-Efficient Cloud Facilities
Alibaba Group has taken important steps to reduce its carbon footprint and conserve energy, making incremental changes to our infrastructure and built environment. For example, our data centers have become more environmentally friendly after switching to heat and water-efficient systems supported by intelligent management systems and the use of renewable energy. Alibaba Cloud’s Qiandao Lake Data Center, constructed in 2014, is equipped with a state-of-the-art deep-lake water cooling system. It saves 300 million kWh of electricity and reduces CO2 emissions by 300,000 tons each year. It has also seen a drop in its annual average Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) to between 1.3 and 1.17 at its lowest point. This technology also reduces the annual average Water Use Efficiency (WUE). As a further step towards energy efficiency, Alibaba Cloud has devised a Liquid Immersion Cooling Technology for servers, reducing PUE to as low a number as possible.
Cainiao Green Logistics
While working to streamline our logistics system, we recognized a need to invest in smart warehousing and logistics hubs, green energy vehicles and biodegradable tape-free packaging. Through the Cainiao Green Alliance campaign, we set goals to promote green logistics initiatives and replace 50% of all packaging materials on Alibaba-related platforms with 100% eco-friendly or biodegradable packaging materials. This would reduce carbon emissions by 3.62 million tons. Combining technology with eco-friendly efforts, Cainiao Network also launched the “green packaging” system, which optimizes a packing algorithm that will reduce the volume of packaging material used per parcel and utilizes biodegradable courier bags, tape-free boxes and package recycling bins for delivery parcels and storage.
Alibaba Group believes that the small actions of individuals can make a real difference. With a view to this, Ant Financial, our related company, introduced the Ant Forest program on the Alipay app in 2016. The program encourages eco-friendly activity among users, promoting simple steps like paying utility bills online or walking to work rather than driving. These positive behaviors are logged and converted into virtual green energy points that can be used to grow a virtual tree. Once a certain threshold is reached, users can opt for their virtual tree to be converted into a real tree to be planted by Ant Financial and its philanthropy partners. As of the end of May 2018, more than 350 million people had joined the program, planting over 55 million trees in the Gansu Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and other areas in China and reducing emission by 2.8 million tons.
Alibaba Group-related CSR initiatives
Jack Ma Foundation
The Jack Ma Foundation was founded in 2014 by Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, with the aim of promoting people development in harmony with society and the environment. Its activity works toward a world with bluer skies, cleaner water, healthier communities and more open thinking. The foundation also advocates social awareness to foster a sense of responsibility in each individual and to motivate them to take positive action for the betterment of communities.
Jack Ma Rural Teacher Initiative
The Jack Ma Rural Teacher Initiative was launched in September 2015 by the Jack Ma Foundation to provide valuable support for education in rural communities. The program aims to recognize the vital role of rural teachers by promoting their efforts and offering them career development opportunities. Each year, it recognizes 100 teachers working in China’s rural areas, highlighting their devotion and perseverance in bringing innovation and curriculum reform to rural schools despite harsh conditions.