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Explore Salesforce's Climate Action Strategy

Learning Objectives

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

  • Explain why Salesforce values sustainability.
  • Summarize Salesforce’s efforts to incorporate sustainable business practices.

Salesforce has been on a sustainability journey for over a decade. In 2022, we added Sustainability to our core company values — joining trust, customer success, innovation, and equality of every human being. These values are fundamental to how we run our business and what we do to serve our stakeholders.

Taking Action Where It Matters Most

We are now in a planetary emergency — a climate crisis that impacts everyone, especially for the most vulnerable among us. It will only get worse unless we collectively take bold steps now to limit global warming. 

At Salesforce we believe that values create value. Organizations that embed sustainability and responsibility at the core of the business will drive great value, not just for their business but for all stakeholders. We understand that every company is in a different position to make an impact based on their business model, size, and scope. So we won’t claim that one size fits all. But we assert that every company can integrate more sustainable business practices into their culture and operations. 

For Salesforce, sustainability is increasingly important as we continue to grow our business and expand across the globe. We’ve asked ourselves: What does sustainable growth look like? Our answer is centered around setting goals, supporting sustainable development projects to compensate for our footprint, and partnering to drive innovation.

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” —Our Common Future

We Set Ambitious Sustainability Goals 

As a cloud company, we don’t manufacture anything so our environmental impact can’t be that big, right? Wrong! The cloud runs on data centers, which run on electricity. The IT sector currently accounts for an estimated 2 percent of global energy consumption. And data centers aren’t the only source of environmental impact. All modern companies across industries consume natural resources, whether it’s the water from our faucets or the electricity that powers our computers and keeps the lights on. 

In early 2020, Salesforce, along with a coalition of business, civil society, and U.N. leaders, committed to set 1.5°C science-based emissions reduction targets, the ambitious goal needed to prevent the damaging effects of climate change. The Science Based Targets Initiative has approved Salesforce’s emissions reduction targets — advancing Salesforce’s commitment to creating a sustainable, low-carbon future and economy.

Salesforce has net zero residual emissions today, across our full value chain. This is an important milestone on our net zero journey, and we encourage every organization to accelerate to net zero. (Learn more about Salesforce’s position by exploring the Resources section at the end of this unit.)

At Salesforce, we recognize that net zero is a continuous journey, requiring us all to:

  • Commit publicly to the shared, global goal of achieving a just and equitable transition to net zero emissions, in line with a 1.5°C future.
  • 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. At Salesforce, we are decarbonizing across our value chain, focused specifically on the categories of work from anywhere, infrastructure, business travel, and supply chain.
  • Compensate for any remaining emissions by purchasing renewable energy and carbon credits of high credibility, impact, and co-benefits, in the long-term using removal credits only and in the near term using a combination of avoidance and removal credits.

Importantly, getting to net zero residual emissions is an important piece of our larger climate action commitment. We’ve been on this journey since 2013 when we first made a commitment to reach 100% renewable energy. Since then, we’ve continued to increase the scope and ambition of our climate action strategy. 

Salesforce is on a mission to drive meaningful climate action at scale. Our Climate Action Plan aligns to a 1.5°C future by focusing on six sustainability priorities, which can be a blueprint for others to accelerate their net zero journeys.

Salesforce’s six sustainability priorities – Emissions Reduction, Carbon Removal, Trillion Trees/Ecosystem Restoration, Education & Mobilization, Innovation, Regulation & Policy –  are a blueprint for other organizations to accelerate their journey to net zero. 

We continue to increase the scope and ambition of our climate action strategy. We are actively engaging policymakers, our peers, partners, suppliers, and customers to accelerate our collective impact up and down value chains. 

Wind turbines spinning.

We Support Sustainable Development Projects to Compensate for Our Footprint 

To compensate for the emissions that remain after our reduction efforts and renewable energy purchases  we support sustainable development projects through the purchase of carbon credits. Each carbon credit represents the reduction/avoidance or removal of one metric ton of carbon dioxide (or its equivalent) from the atmosphere. 

When we look for sustainable development projects, we look for projects that maximize environmental and social benefits. Additionally, projects go through independent third-party verification to ensure that they adhere to strict internationally recognized methodologies for quantifying emissions reductions, such as the Gold Standard. (Learn more about the Gold Standard in Resources.)

One of the projects Salesforce supports is Proyecto Mirador, a clean cookstove project in Honduras which has deployed over 250,000 cookstoves, resulting in nearly 3 million metric tonnes of emission reductions—equivalent to taking over 200,000 passenger vehicles off the road for one year. Proyecto Mirador uses Salesforce to manage stove deployment and maintenance and track client interactions. By providing clean cookstoves, this project has improved the health and well-being of 1.1 million people, has helped grow 24 small businesses and employs more than 200 people. Access to clean, safe cookstoves enables women to protect their health with clean air, spend less time cooking or finding wood, and more time on productive activities, including paid work, child care and education. When women are educated and empowered, our communities thrive.

Another project Salesforce supports is Launched in January 2020 by the World Economic Forum and partners, including Salesforce, seeks to connect, empower, and mobilize a global reforestation community, unleashing the potential to act at an unprecedented scale and speed to conserve, restore, and grow 1 trillion trees within this decade. By planting trees we can help slow the planet’s rising temperatures, stimulate biodiversity and revitalize some of the planet’s ecosystems. 

Salesforce is supporting the movement in two key ways:

  • Contributing our technology in the form of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) UpLink, a digital platform built to bring together stakeholders of all sizes to solve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Commiting to support and mobilize the conservation and restoration of 100 million trees over the next decade.

Learn more about in Resources.

Innovative Customers Driving Change

Creating a better future for ourselves and our planet will require a coordinated effort to get change-makers on the same page. At Salesforce we’re proud to work with responsible business partners, vendors, and customers that uphold their own commitment to sustainability. Many Salesforce customers are already doing amazing work using our platform to improve the state of the world, delivering innovative solutions to address equality and sustainability challenges. Take Herman Miller, Inc., for example.

In addition to designing premium ecommerce, marketing, and service experiences, Herman Miller is also designing for the future. The company’s focus on net zero energy extends across multiple facets, from decarbonization to supply chain analysis to taking responsibility for where a product ends up when it’s no longer needed.

By 2030, Herman Miller has committed to achieving goals like zero waste, 50% more local renewables (50,000 mwh), 100% Design for the Environment-approved products, and 125,000 tons of product taken back per year. But tracking this progress previously took the team hundreds of hours across 20 disparate spreadsheets. Today, Herman Miller keeps its teams energy efficient with the use of a carbon accounting platform. Now at the click of a button, Herman Miller can generate progress reports and publish its annual carbon footprint for ultimate transparency. (Learn more about Herman Miller in Resources.)

Investing in Organizations Focused on Sustainable Initiatives

Salesforce is leading the way for investing in companies positively impacting the world. The Salesforce Impact Fund is uniquely positioned to catalyze the growth of companies that are building products and solutions to benefit society and sustainability. Angaza is just one example of a venture that reflects our values and commitment to sustainability. This pay-as-you-go technology platform enables manufacturers and distributors to make energy products more affordable to the world's one billion off-grid consumers. Measurabl is another venture that positively impacts the environment, making cloud-based software tools that collect data, format accurate sustainability reports, and suggest opportunities to improve. (Learn more about the Impact Fund in Resources.)

Join the Movement

Salesforce doesn’t have all the answers and there isn’t one way to solve these problems. Yet, we hope you’re inspired by our sustainability journey and join us! 


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