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China: Alipay's Any Forest turns green choices into trees; questions raised over viability of tech plus environment model

Author: Wang Chen, China Dialogue, Published on: 25 November 2019

“Can mobile payment apps spur green living?”, 20 November 2019

Ant Forest turns an Alipay user’s environmentally friendly actions into “green energy”, which they can then use to plant and nurture a virtual tree. When the tree reaches a certain size, Alipay will plant a real one.

… Ant Forest won two United Nations awards for scaling up climate action... 

The mini-app went live in August 2016. Many low-carbon actions can win green energy… That green energy feeds the virtual trees of Ant Forest. And when a user’s tree is big enough, they can opt to have Alipay plant a real tree or adopt a patch of protected land… The actual planting and growing of the trees is funded by Ant Forest and carried out by local governments, specialist organisations and local farmers…

By August 2019, Ant Forest had planted 122 million trees in places like Gansu province and Inner Mongolia, offsetting 7.9 million tonnes of carbon emissions, according to China’s ministry of ecology and environment…

Deng Guosheng, deputy director of Tsinghua University’s Institute for Philanthropy, believes that companies that use corporate social responsibility initiatives to seek customer approval or even extra profits can help achieve environmental aims – a sustainable win-win approach.

Other experts question how long artificially planted forests can survive in deserts without huge amounts on scarce water resources. Others think restoring degraded forests as a far more sustainable strategy…

Carbonstop, an emissions management consulting service, pointed out that Ant Forest's way of carbon accounting was lopsided... 

[Also referred to GCash]

Read the full post here

Related companies: Alibaba.com