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The Road to Net Zero With the South Australian Government

The South Australian Government and Salesforce have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help government and business accelerate the state’s journey to net zero.

Of the many issues facing humanity today, the climate crisis is the most urgent. Greenhouse gas and particularly carbon emissions impact every nation, city, business, family and individual, and as Australians we know the time to take action with expediency is now. With that spirit in mind, Australian state and territory governments are looking for new ways to hit emissions targets sooner, while Salesforce is leading the way on several fronts to accelerate the world’s businesses to net zero. 

For those new to the concept of net zero, it essentially involves the fulfilling of two simultaneous tasks: reducing the carbon released into the atmosphere, while also taking carbon out of it, so that our actions even out to equal no (or a ‘zero’) carbon footprint. 

In South Australia, the initial target is to see at least a 50% reduction in 2005 emissions levels by 2030, and like most other states and territories, net zero emissions by 2050. Thanks to the state government’s new agreement with Salesforce and adoption of Net Zero Cloud, the effort to reach those targets now has extra support.

The whats and hows of Net Zero Cloud

Net Zero Cloud is Salesforce’s signature sustainability platform. It is a powerful piece of technology that facilitates ‘carbon accounting’ — that is, tracking, measuring and taking insight-driven action on emissions, and doing so at scale. 

For entities such as government agencies or businesses, Net Zero Cloud not only allows for a clear view of both environmental impacts and solutions, but it integrates data, provides insights and sparks action at an unparallelled pace. Processes that once took months of juggling disconnected data sources, can now be completed in one place, in a matter of weeks. 

Over recent years, Salesforce led by example by putting its signature sustainability technology to use and in September 2021, both achieved net zero across its entire value chain and reached 100% renewable energy for its global operations. At the same time, Salesforce has enabled organisations of all sizes across many industries to move towards or achieve net zero sooner.

Salesforce has always been known to provide products that simplify and save time, but in the case of Net Zero Cloud, increased efficiency has real-world benefits.

The plan for net zero sooner in SA

South Australia’s collaboration with Salesforce is significant for a number of reasons. Being the first collaboration of its kind adopted by a government anywhere in the world, it means that we will witness first-hand the impact the platform can have when so deeply implemented into an entire region. The South Australian Government is actively setting a new standard in public accountability reporting for carbon emissions. 

Salesforce Net Zero Cloud, combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, will be piloted by the SA Government to deliver the sophisticated tools and data sources required by companies to reduce their carbon emissions and take climate action.

The government has proposed a number of workstreams via the use of Net Zero Cloud to take such climate action. These include:

Sector-wide reporting

The tracking and measuring of the government’s decarbonisation efforts and its journey towards net zero at a sector level.

Departmental deep dives

A comprehensive and forensic investigation of scope 3 emissions within single departments, to demonstrate the potential for wider excellence and impact.

Private sector collaboration

Incentivising and creating opportunities with leading private sector organisations to adopt Net Zero Cloud and reap its benefits, primarily the acceleration of decarbonisation efforts.

Product improvement

Building upon an already solid foundation by collaborating with Lot Fourteen partners within the ecosystem to enhance the capabilities of Net Zero Cloud. These partners may include the Australian Institute for Machine Learning.

South Australia, where the grass is getting greener

South Australia has always been at the forefront of sustainability in Australia. It was the first state to commit to halving emissions by 2030, and to create and supply homes with blended renewable hydrogen. It was the first state to ban single-use plastic and plastic supermarket bags, as well as implement a container deposit recycling scheme.  The agreement and its associated initiatives is a logical continuation of this trajectory. 

As South Australia continues to establish itself as a world-leading green economy, initiatives like this MOU underscore the state’s ambition to become an Asia-Pacific hub for net zero carbon services. The state continues to attract innovators and create high-tech sustainability employment. Case in point — over the next five years, Salesforce and its ecosystem of partners will add over 100 new Adelaide-based jobs. 

It’s convenient that for a place previously dubbed the “festival state”, this project and South Australia’s acceleration to net zero is being celebrated by all involved, including Premier Steven Marshall.

In fact, let’s have Mr. Marshall’s celebratory words take us home:

Barry Dietrich

Barry Dietrich is Senior Vice President and GM, Public Sector, APAC at Salesforce and the Executive Sponsor of Outforce for Salesforce Australia and New Zealand. Barry has over 25 years experience in the IT Enterprise and public sector space. He recently lead Enterprise sales for New Zealand and Public sector at Salesforce where he managed the implementation of the Salesforce platform with Service NSW and NSW Family and Community Services . Prior to joining Salesforce, Barry worked on the largest Public Private Partnership deal in South Africa, which saw the creation of the world's first completely paperless and filmless IT hospital. Barry tweets at @BarryDietrich.

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