Joanna Rice on making climate a clever marketing strategy

Match Group's Global Head of CSR

joanna rice headshot

This is a blog series about Climate Leads—the internal champions driving decarbonization initiatives within their companies.

Joanna Rice is the Vice President and Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Match Group, the largest portfolio of global services to revolutionize the way people connect. Match Group brands include Tinder, Match.com, Meetic, OkCupid, Hinge, Pairs, Plenty of Fish, OurTime, Azar, Chispa, Hyperconnect, BLK, and The League.

Match Group started working with Watershed in 2022 and recently completed its first audit-grade measurement across all 13 subsidiaries. In 2022, Match Group worked with Watershed’s Marketplace to achieve net zero for its scope 1 and 2 emissions by purchasing both high-quality Energy Attribute Certificates and reforestation credits to remove over 2,000 tonnes of carbon. In its recent impact report, the company shared its commitment to setting targets in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Tell us about your career path. How did you start working on climate?

The first 20 years of my career were in corporate finance, which was where I started noticing the push towards sustainability that was happening inside corporations. Within Match Group, I started taking on CSR as an additional role since we didn’t yet have a dedicated function. When we spun off from IAC in July 2020, building a standalone CSR program became a focus for our leadership. Shortly after, I took this work on full time. Today, my work encompasses everything from sustainability initiatives to employee donation-matching to internship programs.

What are you most proud of in your climate work so far?

We held a “Going Green” contest, where we invited employees to share ideas for how our brands could make a positive environmental impact. One of the winning concepts called for planting a tree in honor of successful connections on our apps, which means Match Group gets to symbolically and literally watch the love grow! We worked with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit organization focused on global reforestation, to make this a reality. To date, we’ve planted thousands of trees across the globe.

Just start somewhere, and embrace technology.

Joanna Rice

What value does a climate program bring to Match Group?

Match Group’s mission is to spark meaningful connections for people around the world. Our leadership fundamentally believes that in order to be a good corporate citizen of the world, we need to do our part to address climate change. We also know this is a priority for our employees, users, and shareholders. Our climate program helps us ensure we’re actually making progress, from understanding our starting point to setting ambitious targets that will help keep us accountable for years to come.

What keeps you optimistic about the future?

My kids, because I see them so engaged already in protecting the environment from a young age. When there isn’t a recycling bin, they ask why. They are informed and aware of the overabundance of plastic in the oceans. I’m optimistic because of their passion to be agents of change.

I’m also seeing awareness from people across Match Group—in finance, marketing, app development, real estate, security, comms, investor relations, and more — that sustainability is part of everyone’s job. This makes my work feel less removed and really underscores that this is a business critical mission.

What advice do you have for people who are just kicking off climate work right now?

Just start somewhere, and embrace technology. Our work with Watershed has helped us quickly identify our baseline and work towards future efforts to reduce it.

Keep in mind that sustainability is an evolving industry and the guidance is often changing. You have to be flexible and open to ongoing learning and adapting. Some of this evolution is very promising—for example, I see things like the carbon marketplaces becoming more transparent and accessible to companies of all sizes.

Where do you go to learn more about climate or hear the latest?

I read a lot of newsletters and posts from organizations like MSCI, GreenBiz, and the Environmental Defense Fund. I’ve joined a few industry networking groups like the Aspen Institute and NationSwell. It’s great to talk to other practitioners about very specific topics that we’re trying to work towards. I’m grateful that the sustainability space isn’t competitive, it’s collaborative. We’re all working towards the same goal!

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