On 5th September 2016, Ant Financial Services Group (Ant Financial), China’s leading online and mobile financial services provider, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), announcing that the two parties will work together to promote sustainable development.
Eric Jing, President of Ant Financial, and Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UNEP, attended the signing ceremony. According to the MoU, the two parties will together explore the role financial technology can play in addressing challenges facing sustainable finance and increasing the public’s awareness of sustainable development and a green lifestyle. The two parties will collaborate in building, and potentially co-chairing an international alliance of leading fintech companies focused on sustainable development.
“UN Environment is honoured to partner with Ant Financial, to engage with small and media-sized enterprises and individuals, to raise awareness of green finance, and to make it an integral part of daily life,” said Solheim.
“UN Environment sees in our partnership with Ant Financial the opportunity to shape the wave of new technologies and financial businesses that will drive tomorrow’s global financial system, supporting individuals, businesses and policy in aligning it with sustainable development,” he added.
President of Ant Financial, Eric Jing, said: “Ant Financial is a strong believer in green finance. Several of our products and services have been contributing to sustainable development. Leveraging mobile Internet, cloud computing and Big Data, we can encourage our hundreds of millions of users to participate in a green lifestyle.”
Ant Financial is working with UNEP’s Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System, in conducting problem-solving field research in areas such as energy efficiency financing. Ant Financial will formally join the UNEP Finance Initiative (FI) as a signatory member, pledging to promote sustainable finance. Set up in 1992, UNEP FI has over 200 financial institutional members globally.
Ant Financial has long been committed to various green initiatives and in advancing green finance. It has recently launched a feature within its Alipay app, in the aim of increasing public awareness of sustainable development. Users keep a carbon credit account and gain credit through emission reduction activities like walking, taking the bus, paying utility bills, or purchasing movie tickets online. Alipay worked with the China Beijing Environmental Exchange to develop the carbon credit measurement system. When the user’s carbon credit reaches a certain level, the environment protection agencies working with Alipay will plant a tree in their name in Inner Mongolia. Ant Financial is currently working with Taiping Life Insurance to launch an automobile insurance product, which is designed to rebate the car owner the daily insurance fee for the days the car is not used.