Following on from some significant announcements on its drive for sustainable operations, PayPal has gone a step further and pledged to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals validated by the Science Based Targets initiative. “Today, we are making good on that commitment and are pledging to reach net-zero emissions by 2040,” Sri Shivananda, chief technology officer, PayPal, says. “We all must do our part when it comes to protecting the health of our planet, and this includes the need for corporations to take meaningful action. At PayPal, we understand that achieving climate stability is vital to fulfilling our mission to drive all global citizens’ financial health and inclusion. Environmental sustainability is critical when it comes to managing our impact, mobilising our workforce, and driving innovation on our platform.
“As I’ve previously shared, PayPal is committed to addressing our emissions and has recently signed on with thousands of other leading organisations in the America Is All In movement to continue supporting climate action to meet the Paris Climate Agreement.
Last Summer, PayPal joined the Business Ambition for 1.5oC, pledging to align its Science-Based Target with the climate imperative of ensuring that global temperature rise does not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. “The best available climate science tells us that limiting temperature rise to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is our best hope as a planet for avoiding catastrophic and irreparable climate consequences. This 1.5C pledge, along with our goal and progress toward reaching 100 per cent renewable energy across our global data centres and our forthcoming Science-Based Target, represent meaningful steps PayPal is taking to help lead the way to a stable climate future.”
That announcement came hot on the tails of PayPal joining the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Corporate Consultative Group, which convenes major global companies on the forefront of advanced business practices that mitigate environmental risks and support sustainable growth. “Together with WRI and other leaders across the public, private, and non-profit sector, we are looking forward to advancing our shared objective of curbing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the health of our global ecosystem for the benefit of all.
“While global business leaders work towards a carbon-neutral economy, it is crucial to use current technological advances to help make an immediate difference. One example is the use of solar power. Solar energy is a clean resource that is abundantly available, and companies across all industries are experimenting with it in their efforts to innovate. PayPal has made significant investments in solar energy. Our efforts have resulted in a 10 per cent reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, driven mainly by growth in our data centre use of solar and other renewable energy sources.
Shivananda explains that its reduction targets will address emissions from both its operations and value chain. “Specifically, our medium-term goals are 100 per cent renewable energy sources to power our data centres by 2023, 25 per cent reduction of operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, from a 2019 base year and 75 per cent of our suppliers by spend to adopt science-based targets by 2025.
“We are focused on mobilising resources to reduce and abate our greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible, and we are already making tangible progress towards these targets. I am proud to share that in 2020 we matched 98 per cent of the energy in our data centres with renewable generation – up from 65 per cent in 2019. And as part of our strategy to reduce emissions across our value chain, we have launched a vendor ESG (environmental, social and governance) engagement initiative and have recently joined CDP Supply Chain to mobilise our vendor climate efforts.”
PayPal’s greenhouse gas compensation strategy focuses on financing projects in geographies where it has a significant operational presence, supporting vulnerable communities and aligning with its mission and values. To address the unavoidable climate pollution from its operations in 2019 and 2020, it invested in building fuel-efficient cookstoves for families in Mexico and protecting diverse forests in British Columbia and Brazil’s Southwestern Amazon Rainforest.
Another project is with the Historic Evergreen and East End Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, founded by leaders of the local Black community in the 1890s. Since the late 1990s, there have been efforts to restore these significant cemeteries. With the permanent stewardship now under the Enrichmond Foundation, the reclamation work is growing to include conservation easements to protect them as public lands in perpetuity, preserve the natural environment, and provide a space for community activities.
“There are many exciting opportunities ahead of us when it comes to climate innovation,” Shivananda concludes. “We are beginning to research the intersections of digital financial inclusion and climate resilience to identify fintech solutions that will help us build a climate-neutral and more equitable global economy. I look forward to sharing more as we continue this journey for climate justice.”