Ant Group has released its 2020 Sustainability Report, highlighting its key activities, achievements, and progress in bringing inclusive development and environmental sustainability to the world through digital technology.
In 2020, Covid-19 transformed the way people live and work. The 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,” comments Ant Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eric Jing. “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.”
Working with its partners, Ant Group is continuing to build a future that is more inclusive, green, and sustainable, by reducing financing costs for SMEs and micro-businesses and developing rural economies, investing in green technologies, and working to further protect the interests of consumers.
Supporting Small and Micro Enterprises
In 2020, the online private commercial bank and an associate of Ant Group MYbank 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 RMB10 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 RMB200 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 programme 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” programme, which aims to assist 50 million women globally within five years, enhancing women’s participation and competitiveness in the digital economy.