Circular IT series - Alibaba Cloud: Open sesame on carbon management

Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence division of Alibaba Group, has announced the global launch of Energy Expert.

Not a person as such (although plenty of the organisation’s staff work in this space), Energy Expert is a sustainability platform to help customers measure, analyse and manage the carbon emissions of their business activities and products.

 The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering provides energy saving recommendations to help customers on their sustainability journeys. 

The initiative is aligned with Alibaba’s carbon neutrality pledge, which was unveiled last year. 

The company has its “Scope 3 +” concept and has pledged to share its energy-efficient technologies with its customers and business partners.

Energy Expert helps customers automate the carbon accounting and reporting process at a corporate and product level to obtain real-time sustainability impact statistics for them to make decisions.

It enables customers to identify the sources of the carbon emissions from their daily business activities as well as the full life cycle of their products, based on the PAS 2060 and ISO 14064 standards on carbon neutrality. 

Public emission factors datasets

Customers can also quantify their carbon footprint through a prebuilt calculation model leveraging public emission factors datasets and Energy Expert’s proprietary datasets. Additionally, it provides visibility into their real-time carbon emission patterns and the progress of their sustainability performance through visualisations on dashboards and online reports.

“Energy Expert is designed to help companies achieve their carbon neutrality goals through advanced technologies and streamlined solutions,” said Chen Lijuan, general manager of product and solutions at Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “We hope our proven innovation can be helpful for our global customers to achieve their net zero targets through insightful actions and informed sustainability practices.”

In addition, the solution provides cutting-edge analytics on energy efficiency and emission forecasts through deep learning-based AI models hosted on Alibaba Cloud. To help customers minimise their overall environmental impact, Energy Expert also offers actionable optimisation plans with recommendations that balance business growth and environmental impacts. 

Clean energy

These can include increasing the use of clean energy, reducing excessive electricity consumption during peak times and optimising the supply chain ranging from sourcing materials to shipping products.

Energy Expert also works with recognised industrial organisations worldwide such as TÜV Rheinland to provide authoritative online carbon footprint accounting and certification, helping customers to easily validate and communicate their energy saving progress with stakeholders.

In China, the innovation was deployed in February this year. So far, it has served over 2,000 companies there, generating energy savings of over 2 million kilowatt hours per day, or a reduction of 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions since February. 

Energy Expert also played a key role in the sustainability measures implemented at Alibaba’s Xixi headquarters in Hangzhou. 

With the energy saving ideas it proposed – such as intelligent control of the air-conditioning system and the installation of roof-top solar energy panels that produce 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year – the solution has helped to optimise energy efficiency at the headquarters, reducing power consumption by 30% during non-peak times and saving 17% of air-conditioning energy use in the summer.

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