Visa Launches New Corporate Responsibility Program
Commitments announced at Clinton Global Initiative meeting
Efforts focus on combating poverty through microfinance, financial literacy and development of new technologies
NEW YORK, May 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) today launched its first corporate responsibility program at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) mid-year meeting, where Visa was recognized as the first CGI "commitment to action" of 2008.
The program, Visa's first as a public company, has two areas of emphasis:
-- Humanitarian Aid: Visa is committed to working with leading humanitarian aid organizations that have the expertise and ability to help individuals in vulnerable communities around the world, including in cases involving disaster relief efforts.
-- Long-Term Poverty Alleviation: At the core of Visa's CSR commitment is a focus on combating poverty by fostering greater economic self-sufficiency among low-income individuals and communities. Visa is combining its payments expertise, historic commitment to financial literacy and focused philanthropic efforts to bring more people into the formal banking system and support entrepreneurship and small business development.
Joseph W. Saunders, Chairman and CEO, Visa Inc., said, "Visa and its employees have a deeply rooted concern for the well-being and advancement of all human beings. Although global poverty is a massive issue that Visa cannot conquer alone, we believe that by focusing our philanthropy and expertise in electronic payments toward expanding opportunity to those in need, we can make a meaningful contribution to tackling this global challenge."
The corporate responsibility program launched by Visa today is in the early stages of development. Visa is looking forward to building on this foundation and working closely with its partners to make meaningful progress on its commitment to combating poverty. Areas Visa intends to focus on as it further develops its corporate responsibility efforts include:
-- Support for microfinance programs to help unleash entrepreneurial
talents that are critical to economic development in poorer countries;
-- Developing new technologies and payments infrastructure, such as mobile payments, to help expand access to financial services; and
-- Financial literacy programs that help people better manage their finances, as well as understand their financial responsibilities.
An integral part of this commitment is Visa's new partnership with Oxfam America, an international humanitarian relief and development organization that is a highly-respected leader in advancing humanitarian aid, economic development, and poverty alleviation. Visa is making an initial three-year funding commitment to support Oxfam's work on both humanitarian aid and targeted programs devoted to combating poverty.
"Oxfam congratulates Visa on the launch of its new corporate responsibility program. We are pleased to be one of Visa's partners, and to work closely with a company that shares our commitment to address poverty and improve the quality of life for people in some of the poorest communities in the world," said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. "We look forward to a successful and productive partnership."
In addition to working with Oxfam to address issues globally, Visa also remains focused on helping smaller non-profit groups in developing countries as well as those in the United States.
Saunders added, "We recognize that public ownership comes with a greater responsibility to corporate citizenship. Being a corporate responsibility leader is a critical part of the new Visa, and we are delighted to have this chance to build a program from the ground up and 'go public' with our CSR program at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York. We look forward to a productive relationship with CGI, which shares our commitment to finding innovative solutions to address poverty and other significant global challenges."
About Visa: Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit www.visa.com.