PayPal’s Sustainability: The Good & The Bad

Is PayPal sustainable? On Karma Wallet, we rate them a 6.5/16. Here’s why!

July 17, 2023


PayPal, a prominent player in the digital payments industry, has pivoted towards social justice and sustainability initiatives in recent years. But are PayPal’s sustainability goals truly meaningful? What are they doing for both people and planet?

In this blog, we’ll dive into PayPal’s sustainability. 

On Karma Wallet, we rate PayPal a 6.5 out of 16, evaluated on 16 UN SDGs. Explore their Company Report Card to learn more! 

The Good

Sustainability Goals

PayPal has some serious goals. Here’s a few: 

  • 100% renewable energy sources to power their data centers by 2023 (currently at 49%)
  • 25% reduction of operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, from a 2019 base year
  • 75% of suppliers by spend to adopt science-based targets by 2025

They’ve also signed with the America Is All In movement, got their sustainability goals validated by the Science Based Targets initiative, and joined the Business Ambition for 1.5C.

Plus, PayPal’s sustainability department releases an annual ESG Report with tons of in-depth, transparent sustainability information. Find it here!

paypal's sustainability rating on karma wallet

Climate Resilience 

PayPal is a founding member of the Climate Innovation for Adaptation and Resilience Alliance, a global initiative working to provide climate adaptation and resilience tools and resources to one billion of the world’s most vulnerable people.

They’ve also funded and collaborated with the Digital Finance for Climate Resilience Framework for Action.

The Framework shows how the digital finance sector can help build greater climate resilience among financially underserved populations.

PayPal is also a founding supporter of Catalyst Fund – a global inclusive tech accelerator that helps startups create inclusive digital finance products and services.

PayPal Giving Fund

The PayPal Giving Fund allows nonprofits to process donations without fees or deductions.

The Giving Fund also amplifies the missions of nonprofits and makes it easier for potential contributors to find them via PayPal. 

To date, the company has facilitated millions of dollars in donations to nonprofits and charitable organizations. 

PayPal has also implemented donation matching programs, encouraging its employees and customers to contribute to charitable initiatives.

paypal's sustainability rating on karma wallet

The Bad

Ethical Concerns

PayPal has faced criticism regarding its handling of certain ethical issues. For example, the company has been accused of freezing or blocking user accounts without adequate explanation or recourse. 

While PayPal states that these actions are taken to ensure security and compliance with regulatory requirements, such incidents have raised concerns about transparency and fairness in its operations. 

Financial Inclusion

Although PayPal has expanded access to digital financial services for many individuals and businesses, it is important to note that some underserved communities still face barriers to inclusion. 

High transaction fees, limited availability in certain countries, and the requirement of a bank account for full functionality can exclude individuals from accessing PayPal’s services. 

Bridging these gaps and working towards greater financial inclusion would help PayPal contribute to social justice by empowering marginalized communities.

paypal's sustainability rating on karma wallet

Data Centers

While PayPal does rely on massive data centers to keep their business afloat, so do a ton of other companies. 

Data centers overall account for 2% of the US’s electricity usage.

Because PayPal’s data centers are powered by 49% renewable energy with goals to increase to 100% renewables, this can be considered a good or a bad element of PayPal’s sustainability. 

PayPal’s Sustainability Rating

PayPal is doing a lot. For a company of their size, they’ve made a ton of awesome progress. 

But, they still have room to do more. 

That’s why on Karma Wallet, we rate them a 6.5 out of 16, evaluated on 8 UN SDGs. 

By continuing to improve its practices and fostering transparency, PayPal (and their child companies, like Venmo) can enhance its positive impact on sustainability and social justice.

Ultimately, it is crucial for PayPal to strive for a more equitable and sustainable future while continuously evolving its initiatives to meet the evolving needs of its users and society as a whole.

Explore their Company Report Card on Karma Wallet below!

paypal's sustainability rating on karma wallet