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Get Started with Net Zero Cloud

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally.
  • Summarize what it takes for your company to reach net zero.
  • Outline the key challenges of carbon accounting.

Before You Start

Before you start this module, consider completing the following recommended content.

The Problem of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

One of the major challenges the world faces today is an environmental crisis. Individuals and organizations around the world are becoming increasingly conscious of the climate crisis we are all part of and contributing to. Burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation represents a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Before we go any further, let’s break down what we mean by GHG emissions. The primary GHGs are carbon dioxide (CO₂), methane (CH₄), nitrous oxide (N₂O), and fluorinated gasses. Carbon dioxide is the primary GHG emitted by human activities, and we often use the shorthand carbon emissions to mean GHG emissions.

An increase in human-caused emissions has rapidly added to the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere. This in turn has trapped more of the sun’s energy, and the phrase global warming is often used to signify this phenomenon. Changes in Earth’s climate, specifically climate change caused by the increase in GHGs from human activity, is a result of global warming.

How to Reach Net Zero

To avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, scientists believe it’s necessary to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial average temperatures. Companies around the planet play an important role in our ability to meet this critical target.

Our earth and the commitment to limit global warming to 1.5 degree celsius by 2050.

To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, companies must reach net zero emissions as quickly as possible, and well before 2050. This means operating in alignment with the global, shared goal of achieving a just and equitable transition, in line with a 1.5 degree Celsius future.

Making this monumental shift requires substantial new investments in low-carbon technologies and efficiency. The report from the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow in 2021 finds that to meet the 1.5˚C goal, investments in low-carbon energy technology and energy efficiency need to increase by roughly a factor of five by 2050 compared to 2015 levels.

Salesforce Net Zero Cloud helps companies achieve net zero by supporting each of the broad steps that are required for carbon accounting.

  • Collect, analyze, and understand data on a company’s complete carbon footprint.
  • Prioritize reducing emissions as quickly as possible and aligning its own full value chain (Scopes 1, 2, and 3) to the global trajectory of ~50% emissions reductions by 2030, and near-zero emissions by 2040.
  • Compensate for any remaining emissions by purchasing renewable energy and carbon credits of high credibility, impact, and benefits. This means using removal credits in the long-term, and a combination of avoidance and removal credits in the near-term.

Carbon credits are transferable instruments that represent a reduction in CO₂ or other GHG emissions. One unit of carbon credit represents emissions reduction of one metric tonne of CO₂, or an equivalent amount of CO₂ and other GHGs (tCO2e).

Time for a Sustainability Strategy

Companies are increasingly under pressure from environmentally conscious customers to develop sustainable products. They realize their customers expect environmental responsibility from them, by implementing strong sustainability strategies and committing publicly to a transition to net zero.

Retailer Northern Trail Outfitters (NTO) is on a journey to learn how to manage the impact of its business activities on the climate. NTO is a big name in the world of outdoor and recreational gear and apparel, nutritious supplements, and health drinks.

Like most companies, NTO now provides annual sustainability reports on its website to communicate its goals, plans, and actions, as well as sustainability scores for anyone interested. The company has been growing in popularity and reach, with a presence in most parts of the world. This includes hundreds of retail stores and several manufacturing plants. This global reach means the company has a significant GHG footprint.

Sam Rajan is the chief sustainability officer at NTO.

Sam Rajan, chief sustainability officer at NTO.

With NTO’s recent commitment to reach net zero, Sam has been entrusted with the responsibility of charting out a clear path for the company to put its commitment into action. He leads the company’s efforts to track emissions, apply sustainability principles to all financial and operational decisions, and develop strategies for climate change.

Stuff We All Get

Sam just returned from a sustainability conference where he was a keynote speaker. He came home with a lot of swag (Stuff We All Get), and he likes sporting his new hat with the smart renewable logo the most. Since Salesforce was a sponsor, he even grabbed a hat for Safiya Rees, the Salesforce admin at NTO. The hallways at NTO are looking pretty fly these days!

Sam and Safiya NTO team members wearing their new sustainability and Salesforce baseball hats.

It occurs to Sam that there are two critical areas of expertise when it comes to using Net Zero Cloud effectively: Sustainability and Salesforce admin chops. He has one covered, and Safiya has the other. Sam hopes that as they cross-train sustainability and Salesforce skills, the team at NTO will start wearing custom hats similar to the one made popular by the world famous (fictitious) sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Sustainability on one side, and Salesforce on the other.

Sam and Safiya NTO team members wearing their Salesforce/Sustainability deerstalker hats.

Check out the Administer Net Zero Cloud trail in the Resources section to see what Safiya has been up to.

Key Challenges with Emissions Reporting

Sam had to calculate NTO’s carbon footprint manually for the past few years using spreadsheets. Unfortunately, NTO has been at a standstill with taking action because the retailer lacks complete insight into its own carbon footprint. As critical data remains siloed in spreadsheets, or is simply not collected, it’s a massive challenge for companies to develop such insights.

Here are the key challenges faced by Sam and NTO.

  • No single source of truth: Disparate sources of data often lead to a confusing and incomplete picture of energy-using activities. Sam is looking to move to a trusted and secure data platform that becomes the single source of truth for tracking NTO’s energy consumption and calculating its carbon emissions.
  • Time-consuming and manual data tracking: Organizing energy use data takes a significant amount of time. Currently, Sam has to rely heavily on spreadsheets, physical copies of bills, and multiple file formats to feed into his manual data collection. He’s faced with analyzing huge data sets related to business travel, energy use at office locations in many different countries, and dozens of other activity types, each arriving in a different format from a different internal contact. Sam needs a streamlined, collaborative process to improve accuracy and reduce effort.
  • Poor data reliability: Data reliability comes under scrutiny because of the series of calculations the data is put through for each emissions category. It becomes a barrier in reporting, as auditing can take months to complete.

In the next units, you follow Sam and his team on their journey of discovering how Net Zero Cloud helps NTO manage its emissions and carbon footprint, strategize for the long-term, and use data to address climate change.


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