In 2019, SustainAbility worked with PayPal to complete the company’s first environmental, social and governance (ESG) materiality assessment, focusing efforts to deliver its commitment to “making a powerful, positive difference in the world by helping people and businesses join and thrive in the digital economy.”
PayPal began developing its impact strategy in 2015, when it separated from eBay and became a company of its own. The organization released its inaugural global impact report in 2017 and pursued this foundational materiality assessment to strengthen its strategy and reporting.
Our work with PayPal included the following activities:
We researched trends and frameworks, as well as established a peer benchmark, to identify the topics most relevant to PayPal’s industry and best practice approaches to managing ESG topics across the sector.
We carried out interviews both internally with senior leaders across the organization and externally across different stakeholder groups to fully understand the context of PayPal operations, expectations for the company and perceptions of current issues. We also conducted a targeted employee survey to gather insights from other internal stakeholders, concurrently enabling the PayPal team to strengthen relationships within the company and enable future work.
“The team at SustainAbility provided the expertise, management, insights and engagement we needed at PayPal to complete our first full materiality assessment and helped create a strong foundation for the future of our ESG program.”
-Kristina Friedman, Global Head of ESG Strategy
Prioritization and scoring
Using inputs from desk research and stakeholder engagement, we prioritized relevant ESG topics for PayPal across the dimensions of business impact, stakeholder concern, degree of influence, performance and environmental and social impact. We created visuals to illustrate the prioritization and communicate findings.
Validation and strategic recommendations
We hosted a half-day workshop with leaders across PayPal’s different functions to validate the prioritization and dive deeper into next steps. Once prioritized, we mapped the issues to the SDGs and developed strategic recommendations around pillars, ambitions and communications for PayPal to take forward in its work.
As a result of this project, PayPal has a deeper understanding of its material topics, ensuring its strategy and reporting are more focused and impactful. The team also has a clearer vision of next steps to develop metrics and goals against its ESG topics.