Ant Forest to invest $79M over next 5 years to plant 500M trees

How many netizens will reduce their carbon footprint with Ant Forest to plant real trees? Alipay is serious about this ecological undertaking.

Eric Jing, CEO of Ant Financial, said today that Ant Forest will fulfill its commitment to users, continue to increase investment, and invest more than $79 million (500 million yuan) in ecological protection by the end of 2018.

If Ant Forest’s 300 million users continue to accumulate “energy” points through green behaviors over the next five years, Ant Forest will plant 500 million trees covering 400,000 hectares, equal to approximately five times the land size of New York City.

Forest will plant 500 million trees covering 400,000 hectares, or approximately equal to five times the land size of New York City.

According to the plan released by the State Forestry Administration, China’s large-scale land-based greening efforts include afforestation of 100 million acres in 2018. The Ant Forest program which involves user participation will complete one million acres of afforestation, equivalent to one percent of the area of greening efforts.

Ant Forest’s 300 million users account for four percent of the global population. The impact of this green action is spreading from China to the rest of the world. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has pointed out that Ant Forest’s technological innovation, which is based on digital finance, has a unique practical significance in the global carbon market, and has deemed it an example to the rest of the world.

Ant Forest is a product on Alibaba‘s Alipay platform, which helps users record their low-carbon footprint to grow a virtual tree on their mobile phone.

When the virtual tree is fully grown, Ant Financial matches the user with charity partners such as China Green Foundation, Yili Public Welfare Foundation, SEE Foundation, the Paradise Foundation to plant a real tree or protect an area.

By the end of 2017, Ant Forest has planted and maintained 13.14 million real trees, and guarded over 800 hectares of land in Alashan, Erdos, Bayannur, Wuwei and other regions.

Ant Forest also provides real-time observation of afforestation areas. Users can access satellite imagery of the forest to see the impact of their green actions.

In this Ant Forest afforestation area, seedlings formed rows of diagonal lines, showing beginnings of growth in sharp contrast with the bare land before.

Ant Forest’s forest number 28 is planted in conjunction with SEE Foundation, located in Alashan region, inner Mongolia. The lines are newly-planted sacsaoul seedlings.

In addition to planting trees, Ant Forest will explore a wide range of ecological protection work and adopt multiple ecological protection programs, including building up public welfare protection.

In September 2017, Ant Forest launched a public welfare protection program, allowing users to “adopt” five square meters of forest and protect the forest with nonprofit organizations.

Since March of this year, Ant Forest has gradually started spring planting. The program continues to invite people from all walks of life to explore the ecological impact of this project.

This article originally appeared in Sohu Tech and was translated by Pandaily.