04 Jun Ant Financial App Reduces Carbon Footprint of 200 million Chinese Consumers
A report was released on May 30 by the Green Digital Finance Alliance, founded by UN Environment and Ant Financial. The report gave an update on Ant Financial Services Group, in association with UN Environment large-scale pilot in greening citizens’ consumption behavior through the use of mobile payment platforms, big data and social media. The ‘Ant Forest’ encourages Ant’s users to reduce their carbon footprint. The report showed that almost half of Ant Financial Services Group’s 450 million users signed up to the first-of-its-kind app in just nine months. “Two hundred million people – that’s three percent of the world’s population – are greening their lives because they are getting immediate information about the environmental impact of their choices in a fun and competitive way,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment in a press release.
Ant Financial, a leading digital financial services company, tracks purchases made through its Alipay payment platform to award “green energy points” in the Ant Forest Program. The scoring system is based on how environmentally friendly a purchase is – such as paying a bill online instead of traveling to a store to do it, or buying a metro ticket instead of fuel for a car. The points allow users to grow virtual trees and, through the in-built social network component, compete with friends. The report found that, by the end of January 2017, the approach had avoided 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. When enough points have been earned to grow a virtual tree, it is converted into a real tree, planted in the desert in Inner Mongolia. Over one million trees had been planted by the end of January 2017. It is too early to calculate the carbon sink benefits, but they are expected to be significant.
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