Unearthing ESG Influence on Digital Payments

Posted by Manisha S on July 5th, 2023

Financial institutions and technology vendors have repurposed their strategies on digital payments—more so—on the back of a dip in physical cash. Add to it the technological innovations that have leveraged online banking. Cash may still be the king; electronic payment, however, is giving a run for the money. An exponential rise in smartphone usage, surging internet penetration and growth in e-commerce have made electronic payment a force to reckon with. Meanwhile, the luxury of contactless and fast payments comes with caveats—environmental, social and governance challenges. 

Amidst climate change, a volatile economy and the Russia-Ukraine war, society, businesses and governments have exhibited a strong commitment to foster an inclusive workplace, accentuate low-carbon energy solutions, bolster transparency and create long-term value. Several financial institutions have started carbon offset programs, providing rewards and loyalty points. In September 2021, Ascenda joined forces with Patch to enable consumers to redeem their rewards points for carbon offsets, helping reduce and eliminate GHG emissions. 

Learn more about the practices & strategies being implemented by industry participants from the Digital Payments Industry ESG Thematic Report, 2023, published by Astra ESG Solutions

PayPal Propels Science-Based Targets (SBTs)

Carbon footprints from the digital payment ecosystem have prompted financial institutions to up their sustainable strategies. A study from Cambridge inferred that Bitcoin used 80% more energy consumption in 2021 compared to the preceding year. Digital wallets reportedly consume less energy vis-à-vis cryptocurrencies, offering opportunities galore. In March 2022, Helpful rolled out digital wallets that it claims can save up to 80% of the CO2 produced from payment transactions

The potential risks posed by adverse weather conditions on facilities have encouraged companies, such as PayPal to underscore science-based GHG emission reduction targets. The Fintech player achieved 100% renewable energy sourcing for its data centers in 2021, while it reached 90% total energy use in 2022. The American giant formed science-based emission reduction targets—to minimize absolute operational GHG emissions by 25% by 2025. In 2022, the company set the goal to engage 75% of its suppliers (in terms of spending) to SBTs by 2025 and Its IT asset management team retired 338 metric tons of IT hardware across the data center services.

Global Payments Underscores Philanthropic Activities

The social criterion emphasizes a shifting business environment where companies are gearing up to enhance workplace diversity, financial literacy, social equity and health & wellness. In 2021, Global Payments Plano, Texas office teamed up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) and collected USD 1,600 for charity. Besides, the Lindon, Utah team formed a canned food drive to donate 2,500 cans to a local food bank. Taking the philanthropic work further, the company doled out USD 5 million in 2021 to underpin several organizations, such as Red Cross, the American Heart Association, UNCF, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Susan G. Komen and Mercer Medical School.

To reinforce financial literacy and economic inclusion, the Fintech company offers around 4 million (especially small and medium-sized businesses) locations globally with digital commerce solutions, allowing acceptance of more than 140 payment methods. Meanwhile, the U.S.-based company has propelled its DEI strategies to augment female representation to 47% and boost the number of people of color to 39% by 2025. 

Is your business one of participants to the Digital Payments Industry? Contact us for focused consultation around ESG Investing, and help you build sustainable business practices

JP Morgan Embeds Transparency and Accountability

Corporate governance has become a value proposition to impel ethics & compliance, board diversity, transparent work culture, independence and anti-corruption activities. In 2021, directors at JP Morgan were offered education on DEI, cybersecurity, its climate risk management framework and technology. The Board in the financial service company has ramped up corporate culture and values, boosting diversity in leadership positions. As of April 2022, Out of ten, there were four women directors and one black director. Further, women accounted for 37% of seats on the Operating Committee (as of December 2021). 

While digital solutions have become invaluable in the economy, data privacy and cybersecurity threats have sent alarm bells to stakeholders. The Global Cybersecurity and Technology Controls organization analyzes changes in global threats and monitors JP Morgan’s operations. In 2022, the company was involved in policy issues, such as software bills of materials, evolving U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), zero trust and notification. The need to protect the global financial system and underpinning cybersecurity will help companies achieve ESG goals. 

Fintech players have expedited their strategies to undergird climate solutions and build financial confidence among underserved and vulnerable communities. In the 2021-2022 ESG Report, American Express announced an infusion of USD 3 billion toward DEI initiatives and underrepresented groups through 2025. During the Earth Month of 2022, the financial service company asserted that at least 70% recycled or reclaimed plastic would be used to make most plastic cards by 2024. The rising footprint of contactless- and card payments against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic has made electronic payment the next big thing. The global digital payments market size stood at USD 68.61 billion in 2021 and will expand at a CAGR of 20.5% between 2022 and 2030, reports Grand View Research. 

About Astra – ESG Solutions by Grand View Research

Astra is the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) arm of Grand View Research Inc. – a global market research publishing & management consulting firm.

Astra offers comprehensive ESG thematic assessment & scores across diverse impact & socially responsible investment topics, including both public and private companies along with intuitive dashboards. Our ESG solutions are powered by robust fundamental & alternative information. Astra specializes in consulting services that equip corporates and the investment community with the in-depth ESG research and actionable insight they need to support their bottom lines and their values. We have supported our clients across diverse ESG consulting projects & advisory services, including climate strategies & assessment, ESG benchmarking, stakeholder engagement programs, active ownership, developing ESG investment strategies, ESG data services, build corporate sustainability reports. Astra team includes a pool of industry experts and ESG enthusiasts who possess extensive end-end ESG research and consulting experience at a global level.

For more ESG Thematic reports, please visit Astra ESG Solutions, powered by Grand View Research

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Manisha S

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Manisha S
Joined: August 2nd, 2017
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