Explore Salesforce's Climate Action Strategy
After completing this unit, you'll be able to:
- Explain why Salesforce values sustainability.
- Understand Salesforce's efforts to incorporate sustainable business practices.
At Salesforce, we operate with a set of core values—earning the trust of all our stakeholders, driving customer success, delivering constant innovation, and fostering the equality of every human being. Our work in sustainability enforces these values. We consider the environment to be one of our key stakeholders, which is why we focus on environmental stewardship, including creating a low-carbon future for all. As a global company, Salesforce recognizes our unique position to not only be a leader in environmental sustainability, but also provide a blueprint for other companies to follow in their own sustainability journeys.
However, 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 know 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 have to pause and ask ourselves: What does sustainable growth look like?
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 7 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.
That’s why Salesforce made the Net-Zero 2050 pledge. Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is the necessary target for limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. This commitment builds on our existing sustainability programs and goal of sourcing 100 percent renewable energy for our global operations by FY2022.
Over many years Salesforce has been laying the groundwork for reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by following a three-step, iterative process: avoid, reduce, offset.
In 2017, Salesforce achieved net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and began delivering customers a carbon neutral cloud. Operating as a net-zero company puts an internal price on our greenhouse gas emissions, creating a financial incentive to support decisions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, from specifying high-efficiency IT equipment to sourcing clean and renewable energy. It will take time to reach 100 percent renewable energy and our long-term goal of a low-carbon global economy, but we understand that the world needs action now.
At the Global Climate Action Summit in September 2018, Salesforce announced the launch of the Step Up Declaration, a new alliance dedicated to harnessing the power of emerging technologies and the fourth industrial revolution to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors and ensure a climate turning point by 2020. Salesforce is proud to have been the first company to sign the pledge and is now joined by 21 other companies committed to taking action and working collaboratively to affect change.
In addition to our renewable energy work, to offset our climate impact and operate as a net-zero company, we support sustainable development projects through the purchase of carbon credits. Each carbon credit represents the removal/avoidance 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.
One of the projects Salesforce supports is Proyecto Mirador, a clean cookstove project in Honduras, which has deployed over 155,000 cookstoves, resulting in 1 million tonnes of emission reductions—equivalent to taking over 200,000 passenger vehicles off the road for 1 year. Proyecto Mirador uses Salesforce to help deploy the cookstoves and ensure proper maintenance. In addition to providing clean cookstoves, this project has improved the health and well-being of families and employs more than 150 people. Access to clean, safe cookstoves enables women to spend less time sourcing materials to support their families, and more time on education, family planning, and other activities. When women are educated and empowered, our communities thrive.
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.
Salesforce customer ADIDAS partnered with the ocean initiative organization Parley on a new line of athletic gear, including shoes, swimwear, and other athletic wear, with the goal of preventing plastic from entering oceans by instead transforming it into high-performance sportswear.
Salesforce partners with vendors that are making strides in environmental progress as well. Interface is the world's largest manufacturer of commercial carpet tile and is setting the pace for development of modular carpet using materials and processes that take less from the environment. Salesforce uses Interface carpet in our offices around the globe, from Salesforce Tower in San Francisco to the London office and everywhere in between. Interface also uses Salesforce to bring more sustainable products into the built environment.
Since its founding in 2003, DocuSign has helped hundreds of millions of users around the world connect and automate how they prepare, sign, act on, and manage agreements, all while reducing their environmental impact. This January, DocuSign launched DocuSign for Forests—a broad commitment to protect the world's forests. DocuSign invites new and existing customers to improve their environmental and paper-use practices by taking a pledge at docusign.com/forests and by moving more of their paper-based processes onto DocuSign. In return, the company will donate an additional 1% of the expanded revenue from those customers to forest-protection causes, on top of $1.5M already committed by the company and the DocuSign IMPACT Foundation. DocuSign has also embedded a calculator into its core eSignature product to showcase how people are reducing waste and positively impacting the environment.
Unilever is another Salesforce customer driving positive change and sustainable growth through its business, brands, and partners. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets ambitious targets to inspire innovation. Some of its recent highlights include:
- Testing new investment models and partnerships to help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Supporting new technology that gives consumers greater information about what's in their products.
- Launching, acquiring, and developing brands taking stands on packaging, sourcing, and waste.
Just as Salesforce revolutionized corporate philanthropy in the form of Pledge 1%, we are now in the position to lead the way for the next evolution of this movement—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.
We know we don’t have all the answers, and there isn’t one way to solve these problems. But we hope you’re inspired by our sustainability journey and join us! Take action on climate change by joining thousands of other companies in the We Mean Business Coalition.
- B Team: Net-Zero by 2050
- Salesforce: Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Gold Standard
- We Mean Business Coalition
- Salesforce Impact Fund
- Step Up Declaration