PayPal is a financial technology company headquartered in the United States. Its products include electronic wallet accounts, and other tools to facilitate payments and support online commerce. Founded in 1998 and incorporated in 2015, PayPal had 377 million active accounts in 2020 and is available in more than 200 countries.
PayPal demonstrates support for reducing the digital gender gap through various initiatives supporting women. Through its partnership with the Cherie Blaire Foundation, PayPal employees train and mentor women to use digital technologies to start businesses across 33 countries. In France, the company partners with WILLA Women in Fintech to promote female entrepreneurship. In addition, the company has committed to integrating accessible design principles in its products and has products that accommodate users with disabilities.
Since 2015, the company hosts an annual Girls in Tech programme in India where girls from disadvantaged backgrounds are taught digital skills, such as coding, and are supported through mentorship. PayPal supports intermediate digital skills by training entrepreneurs on e-commerce skills best practices.
PayPal follows industry norms regarding senior-level responsibility for cybersecurity and monitoring and responding to security incidents. The company is on the Board of Advisors to the PCI Security Standards Council and has a partnership with HackerOne to engage the cybersecurity community through a Bug Bounty programme. In 2020, PayPal partnered with Polaris on child online safety to establish a Financial Intelligence Unit aimed at combatting sex and labour tracking.
The company supports open innovation through membership of standards organisations and by sharing code and integration tools with developers. It partners with Howard University to understand and mitigate the use of internet of things devices in financial crime. PayPal supports the tech ecosystem through its venture capital fund PayPal Ventures, and Singapore-based incubator, which focuses on Fintech start-ups. The company has also committed funding to Black and Latinx-led venture funds and works in partnership with Black Girl Ventures to support and fund black women entrepreneurs.
While PayPal has various programmes supporting digital opportunities for women, it has an opportunity to conduct third-party impact assessments to understand the impact of these initiatives. The company can enhance transparency by reporting on the number of employees with disabilities, as well as, steps to create a supportive workplace for them. Despite including the relevant indicator in its GRI index, except for community investments, PayPal does not disclose how the economic value it generates is distributed across all its stakeholders. Furthermore, it does not disclose taxes paid and employment in its significant markets of operation.
Little evidence was found of PayPal’s support for technical digital skills. The company has an opportunity to support initiatives in these areas and conduct third-party impact assessment on its existing programmes.
PayPal has an opportunity to enhance transparency in this area by publicly disclosing its information security management certification, reporting data breaches according to international norms and disclosing government requests for user information. While PayPal partners with third parties on child online safety, it has an opportunity to make a high-level commitment to child online protection.
PayPal can support sustainable innovation through a commitment to open source and by making big data sets publicly available. It can also report on how it considers ethics and human rights in its research and development activities. Finally, the company can enhance transparency by making its AI guidelines publicly available.
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.
PayPal commits to respect human rights in a public policy document. However, the company’s commitment to respect the ILO core labour rights could be stronger. For example, the company does not provide a policy statement committing it to respect freedom of association and collective bargaining. PayPal has a grievance mechanism that is accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints. The company also identifies and assesses the salient human rights issues in its own operations, but it does not disclose how it integrates the findings of this assessments into relevant processes. PayPal describes the various stakeholders it engages with in general, but it does not specify that it engages with certain categories of stakeholders whose human rights could be impacted by its activities.
PayPal publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers and places this expectation on its business relationships. The company does not disclose a policy commitment which states that it does not require workers to work more than regular and overtime hours and does not explicitly state that it requires its business relationships to do the same. PayPal has a financial wellness initiative which aims to increase the net disposable income for hourly and entry-level employees in the US, but it does not disclose a time-bound target to pay its global workforce a living wage. The company publicly commits to gender equality and women’s empowerment and discloses the proportion of employees in different employee categories by gender and ethnicity. It has an opportunity to provide this information for more indicators of diversity, such as age.
PayPal has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption and includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in contracts with its business relationships. While the company discloses the income taxes it pays in three categories – federal, state and foreign – it does not disclose income tax payments for its individual tax jurisdictions. PayPal discloses its approach to lobbying and political engagement. However, the company has no public statement indicating that it does not make political contributions, and it does not disclose its lobbying expenditures.