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ANT Forest Programme



500 million

ANT Financial users in China voluntarily signed up to the app to benchmark and monitor their carbon footprint, based on their financial transaction data

 3 million

tonnes of CO2 emissions has been avoided due to behaviour changes through the app

of Ant Financial’s users signed up to the Ant Forest app in just 9 months

100 million

trees planted as part of the scheme as of April 2019

From a virtual sapling to a real tree – overview of the Ant Forest app

To incentivize carbon savings, a social media experience was built enabling users to trade and compare their performance with their social networks. ANT Financial and UN Environment are collaborating to extend this experiment and establish the basis on which it can be replicated by members of the Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance.


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The report reveals how banks can deploy digital technology to address sustainability problems and innovate green products both for institutional and retail customers. The report shows that new intelligence that can be harvested from sensor technologies such as satellites and intelligent chips can reduce the cost of obtaining environmental data from customers, allowing banks to better analyse the risk of customers’ lending portfolios and price externalities. Another example offered by the report is how the financial sector can deploy data to scale green investments is via digitalization of capital market instruments.

Sustainable Digital Finance in Asia

This briefing summarises the discussions held during the “Greening the Financial System: Exploring the Ways Forward” event in Washington, D.C. on 12 October 2017. The goal of this convening, the fourth in the series, was to examine lessons from developing and implementing green finance initiatives over the last few years and to highlight successful examples and opportunities, particularly from China and of green digital finance.

Greening the Financial System

The report offers concrete insights from G20 countries on how to harness the power of current and nascent digital technologies that underpin the digitalization of finance to deliver on the SDGs. A key message from the report is that technologies including big data, artificial intelligence (AI), mobile platforms, blockchain, and the Internet of things (IoT), can address a number of the most significant barriers, identified by the G20 Green Finance Study Group, to scaling the deployment of sustainable finance.

Digital Technologies for Mobilizing Sustainable Finance

This report shows that almost half of Ant Financial Services Group’s 450 million users signed up to Ant Forest, an app that gamifies carbon footprint tracking – cutting greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrating the massive potential of Fintech (financial technology) for supporting sustainable development. By the end of January 2017, the approach had avoided 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to the accumulation of small behavior changes, with much more to come.

Scaling Citizen Action on Climate

Simon Zadek and Fiona Bayat-Renoux of the SDFA contributed an article on Harnessing Digital Finance for Sustainable Development to 'Financing the UN Development System 2018'. The report aims to provide fresh insights into the funding of the UN development system and into the positioning of that funding within the larger financing dynamics of the 2030 Agenda.

Financing the UN Development System

The report, a companion to the second edition of “The Financial System We Need”, assesses how the financial system’s core functions are likely to be disrupted by financial technology (“fintech”) innovations and how they could help – or hinder – efforts to align financing with sustainable development. 

Fintech and Sustainable Development
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