Founded in 2014 and formally known as Alipay, Ant Group is a private company that provides digital payment and financial services. Ant is the largest payment provider in China, with over 700 million people using its smartphone payments app in the year ending June 2020.
Ant demonstrates good practice in making its services accessible to users with disabilities. The company provides special apps for users with visual limitations. It also cooperates with users with disabilities to design products, and it works with local governments to promote community education on cognitive impairment.
Ant demonstrates support for open innovation by participating in standards organisations, providing a dedicated portal for the company’s open source projects, and having a high-level commitment in support of open standards.
There is an opportunity for Ant to show how it supports universal and affordable access to digital technologies for vulnerable groups, and digital inclusivity for women and girls. The company should also demonstrate how it distributes the wealth it creates among its stakeholders.
No evidence was found that Ant undertakes initiatives contributing to the development of intermediate or technical digital skills or to increasing school connectivity. There are opportunities for the company to contribute in these areas.
The company should demonstrate how it assigns oversight of and accountability for cybersecurity. It should also describe how it monitors, rectifies and reports on security incidents, and how it mitigates digital risks for children.
There is an opportunity for Ant to enhance support for the tech innovation ecosystem. The company should demonstrate support for inclusive and ethical innovation by reporting the number of women it employs in technical roles and the steps it takes to consider ethics in research and development (R&D).
Core social indicators
The core social indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Ant does not have a publicly available commitment to respecting human rights. It also does not disclose a process to identify, assess and take action on salient human rights risks associated with its own operations and with its business relationships. Moreover, the company does not engage with stakeholders whose human rights could be impacted by its operations. However, Ant does have a grievance mechanism accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints.
Ant publicly commits to gender equality and women’s empowerment. However, no further policies or commitments of the company relating to providing and promoting decent work were found in the public domain.
Ant includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in contracts with its business relationships. It also has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns and complaints on the topic. However, it does not have a policy explicitly prohibiting bribery and corruption. No relevant information was found in relation to the company’s approach to tax or lobbying and political engagement.