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Leading Through Change

Accenture and Salesforce Challenge You: Put Sustainability First for 2.5x Better Performance

Research shows that prioritizing sustainability gives organizations more results because customers want it, and employees rally around it.

Julie Sweet of Accenture

Companies are tackling bigger issues than simply the bottom line, including what it means to run a business that’s a platform for change. Join the global conversation for impactful corporate sustainability with Julie Sweet, chief executive officer of Accenture, and Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive officer of Salesforce, as they tackle the issues of the modern C-suite that make a broader impact than sales: diversity, re-skilling, environmental responsibility, and mental health.

Julie Sweet of Accenture and Marc Benioff of Salesforce on Leading Through Change

If you’ve watched this episode of Leading Through Change, or even if you haven’t, here are a few highlights from the episode:

How are wellness and mental health important right now?

Julie Sweet reported that prior to the crisis, Accenture was already working with Arianna Huffington and Thrive Global to create a program about mental wellness. Accenture has had 150,000 of their 500,000 employees engage with the program, and nine out of 10 found it helpful. Marc Benioff stated that a third of Salesforce employees self-reported mental health challenges in the first quarter of the pandemic. He, too, had to double down on meditation practice and exercise, and spent more time talking to family, friends, and professional counselors (and watching the company wellness program, B-Well Together). Too many CEOs feel they’re invincible, but the reality is that we all face some challenges.

Talk to us about the Salesforce and Accenture commitment to sustainability.

Benioff and Sweet have been at the World Economic Forum for several years focusing on sustainability issues. And in October 2020, Accenture announced they will have net zero emissions by 2025 and use 100% renewable energy in all of their offices around the world. 

Corporate sustainability practices have too often been just in a portion of the organization. Salesforce and Accenture are combining their sustainability services, including Sustainability Cloud and Salesforce Customer 360, to bring sustainability to the front office, customer engagement, and to provide the insight that companies need to embed sustainability into every part of their business.

Of course sustainability is essential for the future of the planet. But Accenture research showed that when you put technology and sustainability together, companies perform 2.5x better, in large part because it’s what customers want. More research also showed that one out of every two employees believes that after the pandemic, it will matter more whether their company has sustainable practices and a focus on inclusion, diversity, and re-skilling. These are the things that matter to attract the best talent.

OK. So how can companies get started shifting toward sustainability?

Prioritize the business initiatives, but do so with sustainability embedded. Accenture research from May 2020 found 56% of companies said they were investing in digital transformation. Just a few months later, it was 80%. As companies are growing and thinking about how to prioritize, the point is to invest and rebuild and re-imagine with sustainability front of mind. Don’t try to pick between sustainability and inclusion, diversity, and re-skilling. Take the priorities of your business, and then embed these ideas around inclusion, diversity, and re-skilling. It’s a huge shift for many companies, and we’re here to help.

This post is the latest installment of Leading Through Change, our video conversation series with industry and thought leaders who use Salesforce products to transform the way they work.

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