Akamai Diversity

The Akamai Blog

Our ESG Commitment: Investing in a Better World

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are quickly emerging as a key concern for investors. To use a musical analogy, the bow is just resting on the first string, with more notes sure to follow. At Akamai, our ESG instrument is well tuned and ready for the symphony to come, as evidenced by our 2020 Sustainability Report released this week.

What the report shows is that ESG issues have been important to Akamai, its leadership, and its employees for years. And the reason is clear: It's the right thing to do. It's good for our investors, for our customers, for our employees and partners, for the communities we serve, and for our business.

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Earning market recognition

Our commitment to ESG issues has taken many forms and much hard work. Our willingness and ability to move the needle in our environmental, social, and governance performance has earned Akamai recognition in the financial markets. We were included in the 2020 Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the FTSE4Good Index of sustainability-driven publicly listed companies. For the fourth time, Forbes and JUST Capital named Akamai to their list of America's Most JUST Companies, recognizing companies that outperform their peers in the areas of social justice, human rights, ethics, and integrity.

A novel approach to energy

Environmental impact is an area of intense focus for Akamai, as it is for many of our customers. While some companies have settled for purchasing or selling carbon credits, we realized that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions requires constant innovation to improve our server efficiency as well as finding or creating new sources of renewable energy. This led to our innovative aggregation initiatives, partnering with other companies to fund net-new wind and solar energy generation projects. This has enabled Akamai to achieve its goal of obtaining 50% of our energy from renewable sources -- a target set five years ago. We look forward to establishing even more ambitious goals for the years ahead.

Our forward-looking approach to renewable energy, combined with our ongoing efforts to develop energy-efficient technology, is helping our customers meet their goals for reducing their own carbon footprints.

Powering STEM education

Akamai's innovative approach to funding renewable energy has crossover benefits that are helping to improve education. Our virtual power purchase agreements (VPPA) with Green River Wind Farm in Illinois will create $35 million in new tax revenue. This will bring significant, new funding to area schools -- including funds for enhanced STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. This complements the activities of the Akamai Foundation, which is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of technologists through STEM grants to students globally.

Investing in social justice

In 2020, the Akamai Foundation turned its attention to two issues of global importance: racial inequality and the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help advance talent diversity in the tech industry, the Akamai board of directors expanded the permanent endowment of the Akamai Foundation by $20 million to fund efforts to broaden the diversity of talent coming into the technology industry on a global basis. Akamai helped form -- and became the lead corporate underwriter of -- the Tech Compact for Social Justice of The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. Each of us at Akamai has a role to play in helping achieve racial equality -- a point that was brought home in our global All Hands meeting featuring Martin Luther King III in discussion with Akamai CEO Tom Leighton.

The Akamai Foundation also provided funding for global COVID-19 relief. This initiative includes funding programs to assist employees and customers struggling to cope with the fallout of the pandemic. 

The foundation's annual report, which will be released in February, will provide a detailed look at the great work the organization has been doing.

Sustainability at the core

These are just a few examples of how Akamai is taking concrete steps to help create a better, safer, healthier, and more just world. They illustrate how sustainability, in all of its dimensions, is a core consideration for our corporate governance. Sustainability is not a "stand-alone" issue that is separate from our day-to-day activities; it is fully integrated into Akamai's business.

As ESG investing becomes increasingly mainstream, Akamai is well positioned to align with investors who value the things we value: an open, secure, and environmentally friendly internet; racial equality and social justice; responsible governance that ultimately drives better financial performance by doing what's right; and a commitment to give back to the communities where we live and work.

What do you think? We'd enjoy hearing your views on ESG investing and its role in reshaping our world.