Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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Alibaba Hosts First Philanthropy Conference in China, Donates $47M for Environmental Fund

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(Photo : Getty Images) Jack Ma,CEO of the Alibaba Group, speaks during a conference in Chiba, Japan.

Alibaba Foundation established by Alibaba Group hosted a first-of-its-kind philanthropy conference called Xin Philanthropy Conference on July 9 and 10 in Hangzhou. The conference brought together leaders and philanthropy pioneers from around the world to exchange ideas, inspire a new generation, and create a positive impact on the world.

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Speaking at the forum was Alibaba's CEO Jack Ma, who has been donating 0.3 percent of the company's annual revenue to establish an environmental protection fund.

Ma revealed that the idea came after Alibaba held a staff swimming competition at Hangzhou's Qiantang River to celebrate the opening of Alibaba's new headquarter in 2009. Employees came ashore with plastic bags and garbage they picked up along the course. Shocked and dismayed over the state of the river, Alibaba took a step for a change.

In the latest financial year, the company contributed $47.1 million from its annual $15.7 billion turnover.

Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, called not only the government but also the private sector and civil society to take part in achieving the United Nation's sustainable development goal by 2030.

"We are the first generation that can end global poverty and at the same time we are the last generation that can reverse climate change. If we don't take action now, we will leave only regret to succeeding generations," he said.

Meanwhile former UK Prime Minster Gordon Brown highlighted the importance of education in the process, saying "every single economy... will need more than anything else the education and skills of people in the future."

In China, organizations such as the Yao Ming Foundation and Jet Li's One Foundation are leading the country's philanthropy sectors. While Yao put up primary basketball programs that focus on sports and skills like leadership and teamwork, Li is supporting disaster relief and programs for kids living with autism.

On the other hand, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also supported the cause by posting a pre-recorded video message to the conference. He stressed the importance of technology, with the aim to "give everyone the tools to connect and organize around things that they care about."

Microsoft founder Bill Gates from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also sent a video to encourage people to do more for charity.

Other attendees include hundreds of representatives from nonprofits, NGOs, academic institutions and companies, and social entrepreneurs.

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