By Jaxon Love, Global Lead, Environmental Sustainability
As we mark Earth Day, we’re confronted with the increasingly urgent need to curb climate change. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that some 3.6 billion people live in areas “highly vulnerable to climate change,” due to the increased risk of heatwaves, wildfires, heavy rains, or droughts. Poverty, food insecurity, and migration could dramatically increase.
The severity of the moment demands swift and comprehensive action, which is why we’re taking big steps on many fronts to cut our emissions and help all people gain the financial means to adapt to the changing climate. Here are some practical ideas for how you or your organization can also join this movement.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions | Helping those most vulnerable | Using our voices to make a difference
Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions
When it comes to preventing the worst impacts of climate change, there’s no way around the scientific fact that global greenhouse gas emissions must reach “net-zero” as soon as possible and no later than 2050.
At PayPal, we’ve set Science-Based Targets and committed to reaching net-zero emissions across our value chain by 2040, and this week, we announced achievement of our goal for 100% renewable energy use across our global data centers, two years ahead of target.
Here’s what you can do:
- Measure your environmental footprint: Measure your ecological footprint to understand where you or your business can reduce the most. There are many great solutions available online, like this one by the University of California, Berkeley.
- Check your energy sources: Power your home or businesses using renewable energy options provided by your electric utility or consider installing solar panels.
- Choose cleaner mobility: For business or personal travel, choose alternative transportation when possible and consider buying a hybrid or electric vehicle.
- Make sustainability fashionable: When shopping, look for higher quality and more durable products that will last longer and won’t have to be thrown out or replaced. Alternatively, consider renting clothes for special events or shopping for vintage or renewed clothing to keep re-wearable items out of landfill.
- Choose PayPal for greener online returns: We can help make your e-commerce activity more sustainable with Happy Returns, an online shopping service that simplifies product returns and eliminates waste in the process.
Helping those most vulnerable adapt to a changing climate
The consequences of droughts, sea level rise, wildfires, severe storms, and other climate hazards are not evenly distributed. Whether it’s subsistence farmers dealing with erratic and unpredictable weather patterns in the Global South or Black communities facing deadly heatwaves and severe flooding in the Southern U.S., the impacts of climate change are most heavily borne by those who are disadvantaged.
Digital financial services can help people in underserved communities save money and access income opportunities, empowering them economically and building their resilience to climate change. That’s why last year, PayPal founded a global task force focused on solutions for building the climate resilience of 1 billion people using digital financial services.
Here’s what you can do:
- Empower charities: Support climate impact projects by organizations working in developing countries or small island states. For example, donations to projects that provide clean cookstoves to women or restore mangrove forests in low-lying areas can create jobs and increase the financial health of communities on the front lines of climate change. PayPal Giving Fund makes it easy to find and support charities working on these causes.
- Support clean job creation: Volunteer or support causes in your community that are helping disadvantaged individuals and communities gain access to clean economy opportunities, like building community solar systems or supporting urban gardens.
- Fund micro-enterprises and entrepreneurs: Build a micro-loan portfolio with platforms like Kiva to directly finance small-scale farmers and other businesses in developing countries.
- Take action for climate equity: Visit the Digital Finance for Climate Resilience web interactive to learn how you or your organization can help contribute to innovation for an equitable climate transition.
Using our voices and platforms to make a difference
As Wangari Maathai, an environmental activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize once wrote: "If you don’t raise your voice, then your environmentalism means nothing.” As a Fortune 500 companies in the financial and tech spaces, PayPal has a large platform that we use to advocate for climate action on multiple fronts.
Here’s what you can do:
- Educate and advocate: Talk about climate change with friends and family, or for a business, show customers the steps you’re taking to be more sustainable.
- Shop with purpose: Consider what the brands and businesses you support or work with are doing about it.
- Make your voice heard: Look at the stance of your elected officials. Call or write to let them know why climate action is important to you and your community.
It’s our people who power the work we do, and it’s no different with our climate strategy. Serious challenges remain, but we’re determined to help build a better future. We’re grateful for the vocal and passionate advocacy of our employees, whose dedication collectively drives social and environmental impact in our communities around the globe. Even though the challenges may feel overwhelming at times, we know that determination and optimism are essential.
It’s the many, many acts of impact – from raising donations to reforest our communities, to helping start-ups build more climate-resilience fintech solutions, to teaching children to protect our ecological heritage – that collectively are making an equitable and net-zero climate future possible.
You can further these efforts by visiting and supporting a charity of your choice with PayPal Giving Fund.