From Taobao to Tmall,com, Alibaba’s commercial activities are vast, but now the Chinese e-commerce giant is keen to highlight its philanthropic efforts, which extend globally.

According to Alizila, an Alibaba-owned news portal that reports on its news, Alibaba released its first ever philanthropy report last week, detailing its charitable projects and those of its employees.

The company raised more than Rmb 1.27bn ($184m) in charitable donations over the past 12 months with the money coming via three platforms: Alibaba Philanthropy, Alipay Philanthropy and Each Person Three Hours.

The latter initiative connects more than 15 million volunteers in China with 937 non-profit organisations offering more than three million volunteering opportunities.

Unveiling the report at a special ceremony, Sun Lijun, the head of Alibaba Foundation, declared that philanthropy is at the “core” of Alibaba’s business model.

“Through these small acts, we hope to be a responsible stakeholder to generate positive energy, create big impact and encourage more people to participate in public service,” he said.

The report revealed that each business unit at Alibaba is required to include a philanthropic component in its operations.

Ant Financial, for example, has created an interactive program on the Alipay app that rewards users for taking a sustainable approach to life, such as using public transport.

Consumers who take part then receive points which can be redeemed to plant trees in parts of China suffering from desertification. Combined with other local conservation initiatives, Alibaba claimed that more than 100 million trees have been planted in the country’s most arid regions as a result.

In addition, its smart logistics service Cainiao has established 5,000 recycling facilities in 200 cities across China, while Amap, a maps and navigation service, has launched an environmental map providing information on air and water quality in 364 cities.

Meanwhile, Tmall Global, China’s largest cross-border e-commerce site, has introduced the “Goods for Good” initiative, which allows foreign vendors to donate a small percentage of their sales to a good cause.

Alibaba employees also participate and Alizila reported that they clocked up 270,000 hours of voluntary service in the past year alone.

One of them, Peter Stern, who works in the San Francisco office, is a frequent visitor at the nearby San Quentin state prison. “When you lift the underdogs, the entire society rises,” he told the ceremony.

Sourced from Alizila; additional content by WARC staff