Ant Forest: Starting from Environmental Protection

Meng Rui, Qiong Zhu

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


This case expounds on the operating model and achievements of Ant Forest. Ant Forest not only heralded a new model for protecting the environment but also generated unique business value for payments app Alipay and its parent company Ant Financial. Ant Forest is a classic example of how a business can create economic value by delivering social value. In just over three years of operations, Ant Forest chalked up two distinctive achievements: First, it functioned as a green initiative and public benefit platform accessible to any individual, company, public welfare organization, and public benefit corporation (PBC). It offered tangible incentives (planting new trees) to reward low-carbon lifestyles, creating a mutual incentive closed-loop system. Second, it encouraged users to use Alipay by rewarding them with green energy points. Therefore, it delivered a social networking function, a historic key competitive weakness of Alipay, helping to boost the app's usage frequency and user stickiness. It also enabled the creation of personal carbon accounts, a key step in the implementation of Ant Financial's green finance strategy. However, Ant Forest still relied primarily on investments from Ant Financial to survive until early 2020. Zu Wang, Ant Forest's product manager, was keen to overcome this dependence. So, how could Ant Forest become a self-sufficient entity, and how could it build a sustainable environmental protection platform?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021

Case number


Case normative number


Case type

Field Case

Update date



For more details, please visit

Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • value-sharing/value-sharing/shared value
  • value-sharing/shared value
  • shared value
  • CSR
  • Ant Forest
  • environment-protection public welfare
  • shared benefit

Case studies discipline

  • Social Enterprise
  • Strategy
  • Ethics & Social Responsibility

Case studies industry

  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
  • Utilities
  • Social Advocacy Organizations


Dive into the research topics of 'Ant Forest: Starting from Environmental Protection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this