Ant Group's 2020 Sustainability Report: a Better World

By Helen Adams
Ant Group released its 2020 Sustainability Report, highlighting progress in bringing inclusive development and environmental sustainability to the world

In 2020, Covid-19 transformed the way people live and work. Ant Group's 2020 Sustainability Report outlines Ant’s efforts to support Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) in their pandemic recovery, strengthen financial inclusion, bridge digital inequality and promote sustainability.

“Ant Group remains committed to its mission of using technology to provide ordinary people and small businesses with more equal access to financial and daily life services,” said Eric Jing, Ant Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “As we face the challenges of today, we feel an even greater sense of responsibility and will strive to explore better solutions to serve the development of society.”

Alongside its partners, Ant Group will reflect upon the reports findings and continue to build a future that is:

  • More inclusive, green and sustainable
  • Ensuring finance costs for SMEs, micro businesses and developing rural economies are further reduced
  • Investing in green technology 
  • Working to further protect the interests of consumers.

 

Supporting Small and Micro Enterprises

In 2020, MYbank, a leading online private commercial bank and an associate of Ant Group, served 35 million SMEs and individually-owned businesses, of which 80% were first-time borrowers of any business loans, while keeping the default rate at a low level.

MYbank’s initiatives to support SMEs’ pandemic recovery included:

  • Providing low-interest and interest-free loans to 8.5 million digital shops and small stores in Hubei Province.
  • Issuing RMB 10 billion in interest-free loan vouchers to businesses in 81 Chinese cities to support the recovery of small shops.
  • Offering a free "zero-billing period" on advance payment services to e-commerce businesses, providing advance payments of more than RMB 200 billion.

 

Adopting and Encouraging Green Initiatives

  • In 2021, Ant announced its carbon neutrality goals and corresponding action plans, pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
  • The company also put forward a series of intermediary goals, including a 30% reduction in absolute emissions in Scope 1 and Scope 2 by 2025 (compared with 2020), a full assessment of its supply chain emissions, and a full transition to renewable energy for its leased data center services. 
  • Ant Forest, a tree-planting mini program in the Alipay app where users earn points for making low-carbon lifestyle choices, attracted over 550 million users to plant more than 220 million real trees, helping reduce carbon emissions by more than 12 million tons as of December 2020.

 

Creating Opportunities for Women

  • Launched in late 2019, Ant’s A-Idol Initiative brought employment opportunities to women in less-developed areas, with women accounting for at least 60% of the employees of social enterprises incubated by the initiative.
  • As part of its "Wind Rider” project, Ant funded 40 women’s football teams in rural schools to provide women with more opportunities for education and personal development through football.
  • On July 15, 2020, Ant launched the "Cyber Mulan" program, which aims to assist 50 million women globally within five years, enhancing women's participation and competitiveness in the digital economy.
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