VFS Global sets new benchmarks in its sustainability reporting


The report indicates consistent improvement in the organization’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance in 2022

VFS Global has shared new milestones in its sustainability journey. The new findings were published in the fourth edition of the organization’s Integrated Sustainability Report 2022, released on July 4, 2023. The report indicates consistent improvement in the organization’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance in 2022. The report has been prepared following the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards and Sustainability Accountability Standards Board’s (SASB).

“The report documents measurable improvements in our sustainability journey in 2022, as well as our continued commitment towards achieving higher targets this year. Based on the five fundamental pillars of our Sustainability strategy – Contributing to Sustainable Economic Growth, Delivering Good Governance, Nurturing our Colleagues, Protecting our Environment, and Supporting our Communities, the report reiterates strong alignment to our business strategy and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals,” said Shireen Mistree, Head – ESG, VFS Global.

IR 2022 highlights

Protecting environment

  • More than 2 lakh trees have been planted across the globe, as part of VFS Global’s contributions to reforestation and nature regeneration initiatives providing 10,000 tCO2e in VCS carbon credits. This has also resulted in addressing social issues like poverty alleviation while contributing to women’s empowerment. Over 70% of the planting staff are women who now have a steady source of income to provide for the everyday needs of their families.
  • Marked a reduction in carbon emissions of 40 percent in 2022, compared to the base year of 2019, due to the greater usage of renewable energy, energy efficiency initiatives as well as the use of carbon credits.
  • The certified eco-friendly paper was used for more than 90% of VFS Global’s marketing material.
  • Continued commitment to responsible e-waste disposal in accordance with local regulations resulted in 10,035 kg of waste being treated, in India alone.
  • Target for 2023 is to reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint intensity by 10%.
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Nurturing colleagues

  • Maintained a strong gender balance with a ratio of 57:43 for women to men in 2022. Women hold 27% of the leadership positions. The goal is to exceed 30% representation of women in leadership in the next 3 years.
  • Introduced the inclusive language guide with inclusive terminologies and Dos and Don’ts as a tool to develop sensitivities and enable mindful behaviour among colleagues.
  • Globally, more than 129 nationalities work with VFS Global, bringing the benefit of a wide variety of world views.

Supporting communities

  • Undertook over 80 community initiatives touching the lives of more than 59,000 individuals across 35 countries in partnership with more than 40 charitable, social, and community organizations.
  • Set social priorities of caring with empathy, promoting education, and preserving the environment to guide investment in community programmes throughout the global network.

Sustainable Economic Growth

  • Visa Application Centres around the world create local jobs, and as of the end of 2022, VFS Global employed 8,883 colleagues worldwide.
  • Digitize the end-to-end Visa application processing including Digitisation of Visa Application, which leads to reducing the carbon footprint
  • In 2022, local suppliers accounted for 86% of total procurement spend for engagement exceeding CHF 20,000.

Delivering Good Governance

  • Updated employee and supplier code of conduct to include ESG criteria ensuring that as users and providers of services, all operate in a socially responsible manner.
  • Mandatory ESG training for all employees in 2022 and for suppliers in 2023
  • RSA Archer, an enterprise risk management tool includes ESG questions for suppliers as part of the due diligence process.