Chinese Alibaba pushes “Individual Carbon Footprint Tracker” in Davos

Chinese tech giant Alibaba is developing a digital “individual carbon footprint detector” to monitor the actions of the public, the company’s president announced at the Globalization World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

Speaking at a WEF panel on Strategic Outlook: Responsible Consumption in Davos, Alibaba Group President J. Michael Evans said his company would introduce more surveillance systems in China to launch a so-called greener future.

“Through technology, we develop the ability of consumers to measure their own carbon footprint; where they travel, how they travel, what they eat, what they consume on the platform,” Evans said.

The former Goldman Sachs banker called the project an “atomic carbon footprint detector”, saying: “Stay tuned, we haven’t done it yet, but this is something we’re working on.”

The president of the Alibaba Group said the e-commerce platform, which operates similarly to Amazon and eBay – both of which do not operate in the communist country – will provide data to merchants and individual users.

Evans did not say whether the data would be disclosed to the government, but as with all Chinese companies, Alibaba is required by law to provide data to the CCP, as it was allegedly pressured to do so in January last year.

The central government’s power over the company has also been publicly demonstrated by the “disappearance” of billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma in 2020, after criticizing the communist economic model. Although he reappeared briefly in 2021, Ma is said to have lost about $ 10 billion of his net worth.

In addition to creating a carbon footprint, Evans said the company is developing a system of “green travel” maps that will provide people with “the best route, the most efficient route and the most efficient form of transportation, and then if you take advantage of these recommendations, we will give them bonus points that can be redeemed elsewhere on our platform.

“This motivates them to do the right thing even if they are given the opportunity to do the wrong thing.”

Evans did not specify what kind of trip it would represent to make the “mistake” according to Alibaba.

The proposal sparked comparisons in the controversial Chinese social credit system, which has seen millions of people excluded from travel because they violated Beijing’s codes of conduct.

It was also he was mocked in light of the fact that thousands of private jets usually carry global elites to the World Economic Forum to enjoy the luxuries of the Swiss ski resort city every year.

Interestingly, the president of the Alibaba Group said that the purpose of introducing the green monitoring measures was “not to make money” but rather to “contribute to our ESG commitments”.

The Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings, which have also been compared to China’s social credit system, have been promoted by companies such as BlackRock and other major investment firms as a means of pushing companies to comply with environmental alarms. as well as for left-wing tenants such as “diversity, equality and inclusion”.

Mr Michael Evans said on Tuesday that “every brand we talk about is interested in the ESG”, suggesting that the “capitalist awakened” figure has also penetrated communist China.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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