A core component of Visa’s Corporate Responsibility initiatives is our commitment to responsible business practices, as demonstrated through areas such as our governance, ethics and diversity. This work also extends to the world around us, as we take steps to understand measure and minimize our impact through environmental stewardship.
Our comprehensive environmental efforts continue to evolve since the formal launch of our Corporate Responsibility program in 2008. For each of the past four years, we have conducted an environmental audit of our operations to understand and identify the issues where we have greatest impact. In response, we have implemented initiatives aimed at our most material impacts, including efforts to reduce energy and water use, divert waste from landfills, ensure responsible paper usage and promote a culture of sustainability among our employees.
We are proud of our results to date. We have earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for several buildings, including LEED Gold for new construction of a U.S. east coast facility, LEED Silver for new construction of a major data center and the prestigious LEED Gold for existing buildings, operations and maintenance (EBOM) for four office buildings we own at our headquarters campus in California. In addition, Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) awarded our Singapore office with the BCA Green Mark GoldPlus Award, recognizing our adoption of green building technologies, achieving an outstanding sustainable environment and incorporating best practices in environmental design and office construction. Employees based in these offices represent a vast majority of our global employee population.
A few recent highlights of our efforts to minimize our environmental impact:
For a company like Visa, energy use is an area where we have the most opportunity—and have had the greatest results—to make a difference. We continue to upgrade to more energy efficient office lighting (LED and fluorescent) in our buildings worldwide. We also have transitioned more conference room and office lights to motion sensors in 2012 throughout our buildings. In our Bay Area headquarters location, we have implemented a policy where at least 90% of new electronics must meet either Energy Star or EPACT certification standards.
At Visa, like most office-based companies, we use paper in the daily activities of our business. Recognizing the impact of paper usage on natural resources, we have aimed to reduce the overall amount of paper we use and to increase our use of paper with recycled content. Since we became a public company in 2008, our overall paper usage has decreased by 31%. In our fiscal 2011, paper with recycled content represented 96.5% of our total paper usage. Between fiscal years 2009 and 2012, 86% of our paper purchases have contained 35% recycled content or greater. In terms of third-party certifications, our paper sourcing catalog only includes options that are Forest Stewardship Council-certified. We also exclusively use FSC-certified paper for key publications such as our annual report and our Corporate Responsibility brochure.
Finally, we have implemented programs to divert waste from landfill wherever possible. In our U.S. office locations, environmentally responsible waste management programs allow us to compost and recycle waste to the fullest extent possible. We also use environmentally friendly disposable products in many places, including biodegradable cleaning products, compostable food service utensils and containers, as well as paper towels made from post-consumer recycled paper.
At Visa, we have taken a holistic approach to environmental stewardship. Today, we’re proud of the progress we’ve made to reduce our impact.
Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on October 22, 2012 at 10:06 am