Young black woman smiling while looking at laptop

Making Waves: The Next Generation of Sustainability and DE&I

Professional headshot of Emma Newman
By Emma Newman, CRO, EMEA
March 4, 2022

All organizations have a responsibility to do the very best they can for both their employees and the planet. For business leaders, it is vital to engage with initiatives that deliver real change and value. The challenge is identifying which organizations and initiatives will deliver that value in line with your business goals while also benefitting your employees.


Globally, internet use accounts for 3.7% of global emissions, which is the equivalent of all the air traffic in the world. These emissions are generated during the manufacturing and charging of our personal devices and the hardware e.g. servers that power the internet. As individuals, there are many things we can do to reduce our online carbon footprint, such as unsubscribing from unwanted emails rather than deleting them, but there are also many things that advertisers and digital advertising companies can do to reduce emissions.

On a daily basis, we all see how brands are changing their products and packaging to reduce the negative impact they have on the environment but the charge for change goes deeper. A decade ago it was common to see questions about paper recycling initiatives in media or technology RFIs – today, the questions go much deeper. Brands want to know that the partners they work with are not just the best technology platforms for media optimization but also that they have tangible evidence of how they minimize their impact  on the environment.

From an operational perspective, there are many things that technology platforms can do to reduce the impact they have on the environment beyond the obvious things like cutting down on travel. Taking ownership of your infrastructure gives you the ability to control, for example, the energy sources used to power servers and data centers.

There are also opportunities to collaborate with the wider industry to drive more far-reaching change. PubMatic has recently joined forces with Ad Net Zero, an organization committed to reducing the carbon impact of developing, producing, and running advertising to real net zero by the end of 2030. As part of Ad Net Zero, our teams will join sustainability workgroups focused on developing tools to calculate carbon emissions from advertising, curbing emissions at events, and harnessing the power of advertising to drive and support consumer change.

Diversity, equality and inclusion

It is widely documented that parts of the media industry have struggled to recruit a workforce that mirrors society. Thankfully, over the last few years, much has changed and we’re seeing an increase in diverse talent coming into the industry but there is still some way to go. In order to drive real change, DE&I needs to be built into an organization’s core values and championed from the Board level down with the same commitment as there is to commercial performance.

To effectively tackle challenges in DE&I, you need a wide range of tools that enable you to address not just broad socio-economic diversity such as being part of a minority ethnic group or having a physical disability but also more subtle aspects of diversity, especially those that are situation specific, such as returning to work from maternity leave. It is highly unlikely that any one organization has this range of expertise or situation specific mentors available in their own workforce which is why it’s important to partner with external organizations to further improvements in DE&I.

PubMatic is a sponsor of Media For All (MEFA), an organization that helps Black, Asian and ethnic minority talent thrive in the media and advertising industry, and ultimately, increase the ethnic diversity of the media and advertising industry in the UK. MEFA has a diverse network of mentors available, and it is our goal to empower our employees by providing suitable mentorship opportunities – whatever life throws at them. PubMatic will also join the MEFA advisory board to share our knowledge and help drive change across the industry not just within our organization.

How to walk the walk

It can be challenging to identify where your organization most needs help and where you can best effect change in a positive way. There is no one-size fits all approach but there is one thing that should be non-negotiable – any organization that you partner with must have demonstrable credibility and align with your brand values.

When you find the right partners, it truly elevates your brand, your business, and also your employees. When evaluating where you can improve, it’s important to take meaningful care to ensure that you have the greatest impact in the long-term. As a business leader a great place to start is by talking to your employees to find out what initiatives or partnerships would make them proud to be a part of.

As with any change, there can be elements of anxiety and apprehension – this is completely normal – just remember that nobody can do everything so focus on what is best for your employees, your customers and your organization, and you will make positive changes.