Research + Insights

Visa shares progress on sustainability

Tracking to 100 percent renewable electricity by the end of this year, helping 500 million underserved gain access to digital payments

By Douglas Sabo, VP, Head of Sustainability

Blue gradient background with white Visa logo in center.

Today, we are proud to share with you our fourth annual Visa Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report, which details our continued progress toward corporate responsibility, sustainability and ethical leadership across our most significant environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Publication of our report coincides with Visa being named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index (DJSI) for the third consecutive year, a recognition of our industry leadership in ESG performance.

Our latest report outlines accomplishments in our work to be a force for good, driving inclusive and sustainable growth. Together with our employees from around the globe, we made significant progress toward our ESG goals, including our commitments to transition to using 100 percent renewable electricity by the end of 2019 and helping 500 million unbanked or underserved people gain first-time access to digital payments accounts by 2020.

We invite you to download the report, and we share a few highlights below across the key chapters of our strategy.  

Empowering people & economies

We delivered on our commitment by supporting micro and small businesses, expanding financial access to the unbanked and underserved, building financial capability and strengthening our communities.

Our progress includes:

  • Increased our financial empowerment focus on micro and small businesses (MSB) via programs and partnerships, such as helping business owners in Mexico build capacity and supporting female farmers in India
  • Promoted financial inclusion by offering products and solutions, including Visa Direct, QR Products and prepaid cards to merchants, individuals and governments
  • Helped unbanked individuals access electronic payments accounts — now reaching 396 million since 2015 toward our goal of 500 million by 2020
  • Expanded our women’s empowerment initiatives through programs including She's Next, Money Is Changing and Visa Everywhere Initiative, Women's Edition
  • Developed and deployed business and financial skills tools and resources in English and Spanish for micro and small business owners
  • Joined with Visa Foundation to provide financial support during times of crisis, such as hurricanes, typhoons and earthquakes; this included supporting the recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael in the U.S. and Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines

Securing commerce & protecting customers

We demonstrated our commitment to implementing an evolving and multi-layered approach to security that enables reliable, trustworthy and frictionless digital payment experiences.

Our progress includes:

  • Continued our mission to significantly reduce fraud, increase approval rates and reduce consumer friction in the payments ecosystem
  • Expanded the Visa Token Service (VTS), which helps our customers build and maintain digital payment experiences while protecting consumers’ sensitive information from fraud
  • Prevented approximately $25 Billion in fraud using Artificial Intelligence
  • Received the highest rating in our sector from Gartner Consulting during our 2019 Cybersecurity program review
  • Opened a new Cyber Fusion Center in London and strengthened our global capability to rapidly collect, analyze and leverage cyber threat intelligence information
  • Established policies and processes required for the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and preparation for other pending privacy regulations

Investing in our workforce

Visa’s mission to connect the world to enable businesses, economies and individuals to thrive is fueled by the talent, diversity and dedication of our employees. We are committed to developing our world-class talent, fostering a diverse and inclusive culture and offering benefits that support our employees’ success.

Our progress includes:

  • Continued and expanded Visa University – our signature global learning platform – which now offers over 80,000 learning resources, featuring courses facilitated by company leaders
  • Enhanced our benefits program for supporting our employees’ health, financial and overall well-being, such as introducing a new family emergency leave system
  • Bolstered our leadership development programs for female employees (Executive Edge) and for African American/Black and Hispanic/Latinx employees (Elevate)
  • Expanded our reporting on pay equity, including data on gender, racial and ethnic dimension
  • Created a Gender Inclusion Council, composed of 20 Visa leaders from around the world, tasked with helping promote a more inclusive working environment
  • Signed the Pledge to America’s Workers, joining together with companies representing 6.5 million workers and committing to expanding programs that educate, train and reskill American workers ranging from high school to near retirement age

Operating sustainably & responsibly

As we work to grow our business and as we build an inclusive economy, we also are committed to doing so in a responsible, ethical and sustainable manner – one that is good for people and good for planet.

We demonstrated our commitment to advancing environmental sustainability and upholding the highest standards for integrity, compliance and corporate governance.

Our progress includes:

  • Reduced our direct greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent from 2017, and achieved a 75 percent improvement in direct emissions intensity per employee since 2009
  • Progressed towards our goal to source 100 percent renewable electricity for our offices and data centers by the end of 2019, including enrolling in renewable energy programs in the UK, San Francisco Bay Area and Colorado
  • Continued to be recognized for responsible and ethical behavior, placing on the Ethisphere Institute’s World’s Most Ethical Companies list for the seventh consecutive year and earning the highest designation on the CPA-Zicklin Index for the third year in a row
  • Implemented our Supplier Code of Conduct and expanded our Supplier Diversity program, establishing and encouraging our prime suppliers to participate in our Second-Tier Initiative
  • Became a founding supporter and Advisory Council member of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, bringing together governments, international organizations, sports bodies and other key stakeholders to work toward a world of sport that fully respects human rights

Where we’re going

We are proud of our progress yet know there is much more to do. Across 2019, we’ve continued to prioritize empowering micro and small businesses, investing in our workforce, securing our network, greening our operations and contributing to the communities where we live and work.

As we outline in the report, Visa’s progress helps support many elements of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global roadmap for progress by 2030. Visa’s work includes contributions toward SDGs focusing on inclusive growth (“Decent Work and Economic Growth”, “Quality Education”, “Gender Equality” and “No Poverty”) as well as on the environment (“Climate Action” and “Responsible Consumption & Production”).

As we continue and expand our corporate responsibility and sustainability commitments, we will continue to prioritize the issues that matter most to our stakeholders, including our employees, clients, investors, consumers and others.

Learn more about Visa’s responsibility and sustainability progress in the report here.

Tag: Social Impact Tag: Global Perspectives Tag: Visa Research Tag: Financial Inclusion

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