Alibaba nurtures in-office habits for a greener future

Wednesday 20 April 2022 11:45
A report released by climate activist Greenpeace last December (2021) recognized Alibaba Group as taking the lead among Chinese e-commerce platforms in combatting climate change and being the only one that has set a date to achieve carbon neutrality for its group-wide operations.
Alibaba nurtures in-office habits for a greener future

Alibaba's carbon reduction initiatives start with incorporating climate consciousness into its everyday working environment. In its main campus in Hangzhou, China, the company has implemented various environment-friendly practices based on the 5R principles of the circular economy.

The green office movement stems from multiple factors. For one, a greener office, with considerations around ventilation, air quality, thermal comfort, noise and lighting, can increase health and productivity. It can have an impact on morale, mood and overall employee welfare.

From a business perspective, going green reflects growth - investors are increasingly applying ESG factors as part of their analysis process to identify growth opportunities of green buildings.

Most importantly, more companies are adopting greener office practices to exercise corporate responsibility and address the climate crisis. Today's buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global CO2 emission , and redeveloping offices to be green and sustainable is an urgent first step.

Relooking your office: How can your premises be greener?

A green office goes beyond just recycling the waste in the pantry. Sustainability and green design have advanced considerably in recent years. Here are five ways to explore the environmental impact of your workplaces - taking Alibaba as an example.

  1. Reducing water and plastic footprint
    Alibaba has adopted extensive use of water-saving infrastructures and sanitary appliances. For example, the construction of water purification systems can automatically convert tap water to direct drinking water to reduce the use of plastic water bottles. Besides the installation of recycling bins for plastics, a plastic surcharge applies to the use of disposable lunch boxes in canteens to reduce plastic waste.
  2. Installing energy-saving solutions across the campus
    Besides solar energy and LED lighting system adoption, Alibaba's campus runs on energy-saving management, including environmental sensors and smart IoT equipment, to monitor energy use in the offices. For examples, energy-intensive equipment such as projection screens, lights, and air conditioners are automatically controlled in an adaptive way with the surroundings. In addition, real-time energy consumption can be continuously displayed and managed in Alibaba's smart center. With these measures in place, energy consumption per capita decreased by more than 10% in the last two years.
  3. Smart air-conditioning to reduce energy consumption
    Alibaba utilizes a smart air-conditioning system which can automatically adjust temperature of the office according to weather, temperature and flow of people. Compared with the traditional central air-conditioning system, the smart system can greatly reduce the energy consumption of idle resources, reducing the annual energy consumption by about 10%.
  4. Nurturing individual responsibility via employee incentives
    Alibaba's employees are encouraged to actively participate in GHG emissions reductions in every aspect of their lives. Employees are rewarded for 14 energy-saving and carbon-reduction behaviors in the office, such as turning off lights and air conditioners in idle spaces, using double-sided printing, and recycling cardboard boxes. As a result, from June 2020 to August 2021, 120,000 employees finished 750,000 carbon-reduction behaviors, equivalent to 336 tons of carbon emission.
  5. Encouraging low-carbon travel
    Alibaba operates a travel point system to encourage employees to adopt green travel. Employees can gain points and be rewarded by using company-arranged shuttle buses to and from various campuses to reduce carbon emissions produced from car-hailing or self-driving. Other low-carbon travel choices, such as choosing high-speed rail instead of air, active carpooling, and picking up colleagues while driving, are also rewarded with points. In the first 10 months of 2021, 16,000 employees took high-speed rail on the Beijing-Hangzhou line more than 50,000 times, and more than 90,000 employees participated in more than 760,000 times of carpooling.

Investing in innovative infrastructure within the office will go a long way towards encouraging better employee behavioral habits. Just like Alibaba has galvanized its entire digital ecosystem to support merchants in doing their part for the environment, companies here in Thailand can also initiate more environmentally-friendly practices within their networks to prioritize the health of both employees and the environment.

Source: Spark Communications