Alibaba creates unified standard to assess its users’ contributions to charity

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Alibaba officially released its “charity evaluation criteria” on December 23, 2019. The new set of criteria aim to create a standard to measure the value of the charitable endeavours that people carry out through the company’s various online platforms. Sun Lijun, a partner of Alibaba and the president of the Alibaba Charity Foundation, stated that the new standards come from the culture of “involving everyone in charity” (人人公益) that Alibaba has always advocated. “Only when charity becomes standardized and scientific can all sectors of society and charitable enterprises be more recognized, more user-incentives be given to charity, and more people can participate in charitable projects”, said Sun.

The new evaluation criteria, formulated by Alibaba alongside experts in philanthropy and standardization, aim to measure the value of offline voluntary services and online charity in a unified way, providing a unified standard of reference for the value of charitable endeavours. Essentially, users will accumulate “charity hours” (公益时) as a measure of their participation in charity and volunteering.

For example, one hour of offline volunteering will be equivalent to one charity hour, one free blood donation of 200ml will equal four charity hours, one tree planted through Ant Forest (蚂蚁森林), a virtual forest on the Alibaba platform, will equal one charity hour, one donation through Steps for Charity (爱心捐步) will equal 0.1 charity hours, and one donation or one “good cause purchase” will equal 0.1 “charity hours”. The offline volunteering in this case refers to particular volunteering opportunities that Alipay Charity (支付宝公益) provides its users, which when completed lead to a higher rating on Sesame Credit, the private credit scoring and loyalty program developed by Alibaba.

The charity hours can then be exchanged for lower rates on insurance, VIP service at airports and other special deals. Users’ charity hours are recored in Alibaba’s Three-hour Voluntary Service Platform using blockchain technology, so that charity can be “recorded, shared and encouraged”.