Alibaba Group Aims to Achieve Carbon Neutrality By 2030

Alibaba Group has recently announced a pledge to attain carbon neutrality in its cloud infrastructure operations by the year 2030, and it also unveiled a Scope 3+ target. As for the goals of the organization, it consists of thinking and definition of the newly released concept of Scope 3+, which are shared in the inaugural Alibaba Carbon Neutrality Action Report. Alibaba aims to deliver updates on an annual basis with progress verified by accrediting auditors.

Alibaba Group is devoted to maintaining carbon neutrality for scope 1 and 2 emissions by the year 2030 and has set a 50 per cent carbon intensity reduction target for Scope 3 by 2030 using 2020 levels as a baseline. Alibaba Cloud will bear responsibility for the higher Scope 3 target and aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 in all three scopes.

In addition, Alibaba Group’s commitment towards the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has made the company align its decarbonization measures and strategy. Furthermore, the company has a Business Ambition for 1.5 degree Celsius pledge, a critical target to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change as outlined by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

High chances are that Alibaba Cloud will adopt a science-based systematic approach to manage and plan decarbonization initiatives. It comprises leveraging energy-saving with progressive use of renewables along with exploration of carbon removal initiatives. As a general principle, the company prioritizes carbon reduction over removal, and removal over offset.

Pioneering Scope 3+ Aspiration

Alibaba is focused on accomplishing high-level responsibilities and pioneering the concept of Scope 3+ that also refers to the emissions generated by a broader range of participants in the platform’s ecosystem, currently out of the boundary of Scopes 1,2, and 3. Moreover, it has kicked off the 1.5 Gigatons for 1.5 degrees Celsius project, committing to facilitating 1.5 gigatons of decarbonization in its ecosystem by 2035.

Vice President of Alibaba Group and Chair of Alibaba’s Sustainability Steering Committee, Dr. Chen Long, said that they 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 taking advantage of the digital platforms offered by Alibaba to influence as well as advocate for low carbon services and products. He concluded his statement by saying that other organizations can also share energy-efficient technologies and innovative business tools with customers and business partners to eradicate the carbon footprint together.

Dedicated ESG Governance Body

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

The dedicated ESG governance body consists of:

  • A sustainability committee at the board level chaired by Jerry Yang, who is an independent director. Other board members include Walter The Ming Kwauk, Joe Tsai, Maggie Wu.
  • An ESG cross-business action group consisting of representatives from each business unit at the working level responsible for coordination and execution.
  • A sustainability steering committee responsible for strategic planning, management, and goal setting.