Visa has released its latest Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability report, which provides a yearly progress update of its ongoing commitments to corporate responsibility, sustainability and ethical leadership across the company’s most significant environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. As outlined in its latest report, Visa continued to demonstrate its commitment to positive societal impact through the combined efforts across its business and employees.
“Visa continues to take a leading role in building a more inclusive, sustainable and equitable world for all,” said Douglas Sabo, Chief Sustainability Officer at Visa Inc. “We are proud of our employees around the globe for actively contributing to our efforts and helping us achieve signature goals such as connecting 500 million unbanked individuals to digital payment accounts and transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity across our operations as we entered 2020.”
In its fifth Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report, Visa shares achievements in 2019 across its most significant ESG topics, organized across five focus areas: Empowering People & Economies; Securing Commerce & Protecting Customers; Investing in Our Workforce; Protecting the Planet; and Operating Responsibly. In addition, the report includes a summary of Visa’s efforts in 2020 to lead by its values in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the racial and social justice movement in the United States.
The report includes the following highlights:
Empowering People & Economies
Visa believes inclusive economies uplift everyone, everywhere. The company continued to empower economic growth by supporting small and micro businesses (SMBs); expanding financial access to the unbanked and underserved; building financial capability; and strengthening its communities. These priorities increased in importance as small and micro businesses suffered globally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Achieved its goal of helping 500 million unbanked and underserved people access digital payments accounts, including by offering products and solutions such as Visa Direct, scan-to-pay and contactless payments to merchants, individuals and governments
- Strengthened its focus on building financial empowerment for SMBs through programs and partnerships, which included deploying new business and financial skills tools and resources in English and Spanish for SMB owners
- Maintained its commitment to women’s empowerment initiatives through programs including She’s Next, Money Is Changing and Visa Everywhere Initiative-Women’s Edition
- Supported communities during times of crisis such as natural disasters, including the recovery efforts after Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Cyclone Fani in India and Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas
- Announced a five-year $200 million commitment from the Visa Foundation to support the long-term economic recovery of small and micro businesses with a focus on fostering women’s economic advancement. In addition, the Visa Foundation committed $10 million to support immediate relief efforts of frontline charitable organizations such as public health and food relief related to the pandemic
Securing Commerce & Protecting Customers
Visa demonstrated its continued commitment to implementing a multi-layered information security approach that enables reliable, trustworthy and frictionless digital payment experiences.
- Worked closely with our clients to ensure business continuity while addressing needs emerging from the pandemic and taking actions to help bring stability and minimize disruption to the payments ecosystem
- Prevented approximately $25 billion in fraud using Artificial Intelligence, increased approval rates and reduced consumer friction in the payments ecosystem
- Continued implementation of the Visa Token Service (VTS), which helps Visa customers build and maintain digital payment experiences while protecting consumers’ sensitive information from fraud
- Received the highest rating in its sector from Gartner Consulting during the company’s 2019 cybersecurity program review
- Opened a new Cyber Fusion Center in Singapore 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 California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and preparation for other pending privacy regulations
Investing in its Workforce
Visa maintained its commitment to develop its world-class talent, foster an inclusive and diverse culture, and offer benefits that promote the success of its employees.
- Prioritized the health and safety of its employees during the pandemic by expanding opportunities for remote work, established specialized engagement and feedback initiatives, broadened benefit offerings and committed that there would be no employee layoffs in calendar year 2020 related to COVID-19
- Expanded offerings through Visa University – its signature global learning platform featuring courses facilitated by company leaders – which offers over 80,000 learning resources
- Encouraged employee engagement and development through the first-ever Visa Learning Festival, an interactive, three-day event focused on igniting curiosity
- Enhanced its benefits programs for supporting employees’ health, financial and overall well-being, such as offering access to an online wellness coaching service with healthy lifestyle, chronic condition management and emotional health modules
- Created the Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program in 2020, offering scholarships specifically for college-bound Black and African American students; upon graduation and completion of an internship, all recipients who have met their commitments will be guaranteed a full-time job with Visa
- Signed the Business Statement for TransEquality during Pride Month to solidify Visa’s support of legal protections for transgender people
Protecting the Planet
Visa continued to minimize the impacts from its operations while expanding its efforts to inspire and empower sustainable living in commerce and consumption.
- Achieved goal to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity for its offices and data centers as of 2020, resulting in a nearly 90 percent decrease in Visa’s Scope 2 emissions compared to a 2014 baseline
- Reduced its absolute direct greenhouse gas emissions by 4 percent from 2018, and achieved a 79 percent improvement in direct emissions intensity per employee since 2009
- Expanded its capabilities to track and manage environmental impact throughout the company’s value chain by joining the CDP Supply Chain Program
- Conducted a formal climate risk assessment in alignment with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
- Co-founded Travalyst, a global initiative by the Duke of Sussex focused on advancing sustainability in travel, and Brands for Good, an initiative of Sustainable Brands to make sustainable living more attractive, rewarding and attainable; Visa also partnered with GlobeScan and other brands on a 25-country Healthy & Sustainable Lifestyles study of consumers
Visa continued its commitment to operating as a responsible and ethical company by upholding the highest standards for integrity, compliance and corporate governance.
- Continued to be recognized for responsible and ethical behavior, placing on the Ethisphere Institute’s World’s Most Ethical Companies list for the eighth consecutive year and earning the highest designation on the CPA-Zicklin Index on corporate political accountability for the fourth year in a row
- Built upon the Visa Supplier Code of Conduct through activities such as developing onboarding procedures to ensure consistency across all regions where Visa operates
- Maintained its position as a founding supporter and Advisory Council member of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, facilitating collective action on specific human rights cases and building capacity in the sports ecosystem through new tools and training
- Revised its Code of Business Conduct and Ethics to improve transparency and clarity
As outlined 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 climate and the environment (“Climate Action” and “Responsible Consumption & Production”).
Among its growing recognition for corporate responsibility and sustainability, Visa was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, the FTSE4Good Index, the JUST Capital 100, the 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, and Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies. Visa also maintained leadership scores and ratings by leading ESG ratings agencies.
Visa recognizes the complex challenges of the global economy will require ongoing progress and work. Through its partnerships, products and solutions, the company looks forward to continuing to take a key role in leading responsibly and sustainably as it strives to build a more equitable, inclusive future.
Learn more about Visa’s responsible business and sustainability progress by accessing the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report.