eBay is a pioneer in consumer-to-consumer e-commerce. The company was founded in 1995 and has its headquarters in the United States. Its primary service, an online marketplace, is one of the world’s largest in terms of listings and active buyers. eBay has a global presence and earned 60% of its net revenues from outside the US in 2020.
eBay supports accessibility for users with disabilities by following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and making its website compatible with screen readers. It also trains its customer service staff in how to assist users with disabilities.
eBay supports open innovation by sharing open source accessibility tools, documentation and data sets. The company also supports the tech innovation ecosystem with its small business accelerator programme Up & Running, and demonstrates inclusive innovation by disclosing the number of women it employs in technical roles.
eBay lags behind other digital companies in supporting access to digital technologies for vulnerable groups and digital opportunities for women and girls. In addition, the company can disclose the number of its employees with disabilities and the measures it takes to create an inclusive workplaces for them. eBay should also disclose how the economic value it generates is distributed among its stakeholders.
The company offers the eBay Seller School, which provides online content on how to use eBay’s platform. However, this service is available to the general public with no dedicated support for vulnerable groups. The company has opportunities to support vulnerable and underrepresented groups with digital skills training across all levels and to implement programmes to contribute to school connectivity.
eBay has opportunities to clearly disclose senior-level oversight of and accountability for cybersecurity and to report on the government requests it receives for data. Compared to other digital companies, eBay is less transparent about how it mitigates digital harms to children. It should consider making a high-level commitment to child online protection and introducing initiatives in this area.
The company has an opportunity to support underrepresented groups in the tech innovation ecosystem. It should also report on ethical considerations in its research and development (R&D) and artificial intelligence (AI) activities.
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.
Although eBay aims “to support and promote human rights”, it has no publicly available disclosure committing to respect human rights. Furthermore, the company does not disclose a process to identify, assess and act on salient human rights risks in its own operations and in its business relationships. However, the company does identify and engage with the stakeholders whose human rights are or may be impacted by its operations. It also has a grievance mechanism accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints.
eBay publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers, and it places health and safety expectations on its business relationships and monitors their performance. In relation to workforce diversity, the company provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by gender, and reports that more than 30% of its board are women. The company also encourages its suppliers to pay their workers a living wage and respect collective bargaining. However, it does not disclose how it supports its suppliers with this.
eBay discloses a global tax strategy, which is overseen by two board-level committees. However, while the company discloses income taxes paid in the US, it does not disclose a breakdown of income tax payments for all its individual tax jurisdictions. The company prohibits bribery and corruption and has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns and complaints on the topic. However, it does not include anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in its contracts with business relationships. eBay does disclose its approach to lobbying and political engagement, which includes making political contributions.