Home Energy Alibaba upped clean energy purchases, consumption by 150% in a year

Alibaba upped clean energy purchases, consumption by 150% in a year


Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding has increased its purchases of clean energy by 150 per cent, avoiding 619,944 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the past year, according to a company report.

Shifting the energy mix towards clean sources allowed Alibaba to avoid the equivalent of 4 per cent of its total emissions in the 12 months ended March 31, the company said in an ESG (environmental, social and governance) report released on Monday.

The report is Alibaba’s first ESG update since it announced its intention to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and eliminate 1.5 gigatons of carbon emissions across its entire business ecosystem by 2035.

Hangzhou-based Alibaba, which owns this newspaper, was the largest buyer of renewable energy among Chinese companies in 2021, according to Bloomberg NEF.

Alibaba bought more than 800 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean energy in the first half of this year, a 150 per cent increase above the whole of 2021, the company said.

“ESG not only provides a framework for tackling a series of global challenges but is also the bridge to carry Alibaba to 102 years and beyond,” Daniel Zhang Yong, Alibaba chairman and CEO, said in the report. “We believe in our responsibility and capability to be a driver of positive change more than ever.”

The ESG report also shows how much work remains to achieve Alibaba’s goals.

The company’s total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) increased 42 per cent to 13.25 million tonnes in the 12 months ended March 31, compared with calendar-year 2020.

Direct GHG emissions totalled 927,000 tonnes during the same period, equal to nearly 7 per cent of the company’s total emissions and up 82 per cent compared with 2010, according to the report. Meanwhile, indirect emissions from bought electricity and heat totalled 4.45 million tonnes, accounting for 33 per cent of total GHG emissions and up 20 per cent from 2010.

Alibaba Cloud, China’s largest provider of cloud infrastructure services, accounted for much of the group’s increase in clean energy usage. Its data centres eliminated 534,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by purchasing clean energy and natural gas, with clean energy accounting for 21.6 per cent of the subsidiary’s total electricity consumption in the 12 months ending March 31.

Alibaba Cloud aims to run its data centres entirely on clean energy and achieve carbon neutrality across its whole value chain by 2030.

Logistics arm Cainiao applied artificial intelligence algorithms to optimise package sizes and reduce its use of packaging materials by 15 per cent, the company said. Cainiao’s warehouses installed 24.9 megawatts of solar capacity, accounting for 16,000 tonnes of carbon reduction in the 12 months ended March 31. The company plans to expand solar power to all its logistics warehouses by 2030.

As one of China’s biggest e-commerce platforms, with 1.3 billion consumers and tens of millions of merchants, Alibaba is also rolling out incentives to encourage more eco-friendly behaviour among its users.

“How to work with them to build a green and sustainable new business ecosystem and create value beyond commercial outcomes is a new expedition for all of us,” Zhang said in the report.



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