Fortune magazine this week named Alibaba Group the world’s top individual company – overall number two, just behind a united front of vaccine makers seeking a global solution to bring Covid-19 under control – in its annual list of businesses creating positive social impact in the world.
Fortune said it was recognizing Alibaba for its mobilization of global infrastructure to support different communities during the pandemic. Alibaba rose from number 37 in last year’s list.
The latest “Change the World” rankings, announced Monday, highlighted companies that have leveraged their business success to do good, including by “tackling the biggest health crisis humanity has faced in memory,” said Clifton Leaf, Fortune’s editor-in-chief.
“Fortune’s editors recognized the value of the global scope of Alibaba’s distribution network and the strength of its cloud platform in the fight against Covid-19,” said a company spokesperson. “It also applauded Alibaba and Ant Group for extending a financial lifeline to many of the company’s sellers and customers.”
In the early stages of the global coronavirus outbreak, Alibaba played a crucial role in sourcing and delivering much-needed medical supplies to countries and regions across the globe. The Electronic World Trade Platform – an Alibaba-backed initiative that encourages public-private cooperation with the aim of making globalization more inclusive – tapped its hubs in Belgium, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Malaysia, Hangzhou and Yiwu to deliver supplies, including those donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation.
B2B e-commerce platform Alibaba.com launched a direct procurement and supply program as well that has helped with the sourcing and distribution of more than 26 million pieces of personal protective equipment to large-scale buyers, including international healthcare systems, outside of China.
Alibaba also introduced various merchant-support initiatives for small and medium-sized businesses, such as the 20 relief measures announced with Ant in February, covering everything from waived platform fees and low-interest loans to free digital tools and remote-work resources. Of special note was the company’s Taobao Live video technology, which became a lifeline for farmers and brick-and-mortar retailers, helping them connect with and sell to consumers online even amid offline lockdowns and supply-chain disruptions.
Alibaba’s solutions in the medical realm, including the opening up of its cloud-computing resources to researchers to facilitate Covid-19 vaccine development, were cited in Fortune’s ranking, too.
Now in its sixth edition, the Change the World list evaluates companies based on their measurable social impact, business results, degree of innovation and how well their “do-good” ethos is integrated into the overall corporate strategy. Nominees are assessed by the Shared Value Initiative, a global community of leaders using business solutions to tackle societal issues, as well as a team of Fortune journalists.
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