Digital Financial Solutions for Climate Resilience

Performance Corporate Social Impact

By Sri Shivananda 
EVP, Chief Technology Officer 
PayPal’s Executive Sponsor of Environmental Sustainability 

To mark the beginning of Climate Week NYC 2021, I’d like to share more on our journey to advance climate justice. In my previous post, I detailed what PayPal is doing to mitigate its own impact on the environment and announced our plans to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Since then, we’ve been exploring the connections between digital finance and climate resilience to identify solutions that can build a climate-neutral and more inclusive global economy, particularly for those most vulnerable. I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunities ahead of us to collaborate, learn and innovate.

Amar Belal
PayPal has purchased carbon credits that will support reforestation projects in Mexico

Millions of people face severe consequences from our changing climate and are at risk of losing their livelihoods, forced displacement and being pushed into extreme poverty. Economically disadvantaged individuals and communities often possess the least means with which to respond to the shocks of climate change. We must address climate change not only as an environmental issue, but first and foremost as an immediate social justice issue.

PayPal is taking science-based measures to mitigate its climate impacts and catalyse the emergence of inclusive adaptation and resilience solutions in alignment with the U.N. Race to Resilience. Here’s what we’re doing: Digital financial services can help those who are most vulnerable to climate change build resilience to the risks resulting from a warming planet. Around the world, people living at or below the poverty line need opportunities to generate income in the burgeoning global low-carbon economy; access to affordable, clean products and services like renewable energy and zero-emissions transportation; and safety nets to protect their lives and their livelihoods from climate-related disasters.

Investing in digital financial inclusion solutions for climate resilience

Last month, we formalised our support for Catalyst Fund, a global inclusive tech accelerator managed by BFA Global that supports companies building solutions for underserved individuals and communities. PayPal joined as a new supporter to help the program explore the role digital finance can play in enabling climate resilience. With PayPal’s support, and that of existing supporters the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and JPMorgan Chase & Co., Catalyst Fund will help promising startups build and deliver inclusive digital finance products and services that can enhance the climate resilience of vulnerable populations. One example from the latest Catalyst Fund cohort is Crop2Cash: a startup based in Nigeria that unlocks affordable financing for smallholder farmers and provides digital finance solutions along the agriculture value chain, increasing both efficiency and productivity for farmers.

Supporting inclusive climate impact projects

We’ve put a greater focus on supporting climate impact projects that also deliver financial health and social benefits to underserved communities. Building on our first steps into carbon credit procurement in 2020, this year we worked with a diverse group of organisations to identify projects that would result in verified carbon credits and advancement of Sustainable Development Goals. I’m pleased to share that we’re purchasing carbon credits from five innovative projects that help communities on the front lines of climate change build greater climate resilience and adaptation.

Amar Belal
HELPS International supports clean cooking projects for families in Guatemala

One of these projects is with HELPS International. Many parts of the world continue to use open fires and inefficient stoves for cooking. This accounts for nearly four million deaths a year due to associated smoke, contributes approximately two percent of the world’s carbon emissions, and unevenly impacts women and children who spend more time cooking and gathering fuel1. With the funding from our carbon credit purchase, HELPS will build fuel efficient stoves for families in Guatemala, while also supporting local economic empowerment for women. Other projects from which we are buying carbon credits include:

Amar Belal
Impact Carbon works with local efficient stove manufacturers, supporting the business growth of local entrepreneurs.

Just and inclusive climate action means addressing the climate resilience and adaptation needs of all, especially the underserved. Financial health and digital financial inclusion are essential to enabling climate-vulnerable individuals, organisations, and communities to build resilience and support populations through the impacts of climate change. Please look for more updates I will be sharing on these important efforts.



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