WSI PayPal Environmental Justice Challenge, SDG 1WSI

Design a product, service, or initiative that builds resiliency and protects vulnerable communities who are most at risk from the impacts of climate change and other disasters.

Your challenge is to think of a solution to help support and protect vulnerable communities at risk from the impacts of global climate change. Think big and think global. Consider your solutions within the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially those that focus on eliminating poverty (SDG 1), reducing inequality (SDG 10), and promoting climate action (SDG 13).

Climate change and other environmental hazards continue to have a greater impact on minority communities, and effective solutions could support both climate justice and racial justice. Consider the destabilizing effects of climate change, including increasingly frequent and severe storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves, that are disproportionately borne by the financially underserved globally.

In addition to needed action on climate change, millions around the world have channeled outrage into renewed efforts for racial and social justice, including the Black Lives Matter movement. Many advocacy groups have highlighted the close connection between environmental and social injustices. They continue to highlight the urgency for new, more inclusive solutions to climate change and other environmental issues that empower and protect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Here are some things you may want to consider as you brainstorm possible solutions to this challenge:

  • Using your imagination, think of an innovative way to help underserved communities overcome the challenges they face related to climate change and social justice. How can they overcome these barriers in order to attain a better life?
  • What are some ways that being poor makes it harder for people to adapt to climate change?
  • Imagine a climate-related extreme weather disaster hitting your community. Who do you think would be best prepared to evacuate? Who would be least prepared? Which homes would be most impacted? Which people are most and least likely to have insurance if their homes are destroyed by the disaster?
  • Now imagine the same scenario in a developing country such as India, Ethiopia, or Bolivia. What problems would these countries face in helping their citizens before, during, and after the disaster?
  • Think about why a poor community might be more at risk in disaster scenarios. Is it because these neighborhoods are more likely to be located in flood-prone areas? Does a lack of reliable public transportation make evacuating harder? Is it harder for those in poorer neighborhoods to prepare before a big storm – or a quarantine? Is that because it’s expensive to stockpile essentials or maybe because these neighborhoods are less likely to have conveniently located grocery stores?
  • Do those same issues impact the elderly, the disabled, those with chronic health conditions, or those with young children?
  • How can we help vulnerable populations prepare for natural disasters? What about environmental disasters, such as oil spills or gas leaks?
  • Is there a way to harness new technologies to help communicate important news to impacted populations who may not be able to evacuate?
  • What about technologies that could help with disaster planning, preparedness and response, restoring communications and supply lines during a disaster, or speeding search and rescue efforts after a disaster?

This challenge closely aligns with PayPal’s focus on serving the needs of the financially underserved and key components of our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, which includes our work to create a more inclusive global economy and help advance global environmental progress.


PayPal is committed to democratizing financial services and empowering people and businesses to join and thrive in the global economy. Our goal is to enable our consumers and merchants to manage and move their money anywhere in the world, anytime, on any platform, and using any device. Learn more about our approach to environmental sustainability.

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"Financial health and security are at the heart of PayPal’s mission and are critical to the resilience of individuals, organizations, and communities impacted by a changing climate. Research shows the destabilizing effects of climate change disproportionately impact the economically vulnerable and financially underserved. To protect those among us who are most at risk, it is incumbent upon the private sector to find ways to manage our environmental impact and to work in action with public and nonprofit partners to address this growing issue that has no boundaries."

Dan Schulman / President and CEO, PayPal

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