Alibaba’s fast growing fund manager joins UN in sustainable fintech alliance

Partnership will build on technology to encourage environmental saving.

Ant Financial Services Group, the rapidly expanding investment affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which has some 450 million people investing in its funds, has joined forces with UN Environment (Formerly UNEP) to launch The Green Digital Finance Alliance, supporting the development of digital technologies in green finance and help solve environmental challenges.
The initiative was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
RI reported in November last year that the two groups were examining the potential for translating financial transaction data into carbon data and creating an individual savers’ carbon market.
Ant Financial has already developed an app allying fintech, sustainability, health and saving.
The ‘Ant Forest’ scheme encourages savers to put more money into funds and win tree ‘points’, which they can add to with fitness ‘steps’ via measurement technology. When certain levels of tree points are reached a foundation will plant a real tree in a desert region.
Seventy-two million users of Ant Financial’s 450 million customer base are currently participating in the app.
The new Alliance has a range of activities planned for its first year of operation.These include building membership, programmes, and establishing a secretariat and governing process, as well as securing resources via key strategic partners such as the World Economic Forum. It is also seeking to engage with emerging collaborative green digital finance initiatives such as the G20 (GreenInvest for developing countries), the G7 (fintech to support green financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises), and the UN Group of Friends of SDG Finance (fintech supporting the financing of the UN Sustainable Development Goals). Innovative approaches to incentivizing carbon savings will be researched and financial transaction data used to measure carbon usage.
The Alliance believes that while bringing potential risks, fintech can create a more efficient, accessible and less vulnerable financial system, supporting the system’s sustainable development.
Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment, said: “The Green Digital Finance Alliance is a unique partnership ensuring that we can align tomorrow’s fintech-powered global financial system with sustainable development.”