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Net Zero Reporting Rules Could Get Tougher — Get Ahead of Them Now

wind farms
Stakeholders are ratcheting up the pressure on companies to report more transparently on sustainability initiatives. Other countries have already taken steps toward greater accountability. [chungking / Adobe Stock]

The U.S. lags behind other countries in mandating corporate sustainability reporting. But tougher rules could be coming, and organizations will need to adjust.

The big picture 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission appears likely to scale back climate risk disclosure rules for public companies, but that doesn’t mean your company shouldn’t prepare to eventually disclose this information. 

That’s because California lawmakers have proposed bills requiring companies to, among other things, disclose greenhouse gas emissions, including scope 3 emissions stemming from their supply chains. 

Why does that matter? 

California often leads the nation when it comes to social, environmental and other issues. A few examples: its landmark 2019 data privacy act, which was replicated in several other states; the 2022 social media transparency measure; and the University of California’s move to replace standardized entrance exams

Your next move 

Get a grip on your carbon footprint, using technology to track and manage all carbon emissions data. Doing so is an imperative for the planet, and it’s good for business. Decarbonizing the economy will ultimately generate trillions to the economy and countless jobs. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Salesforce can help you prepare

Mandated sustainability reporting appears likely, so organizations will need to get a handle on their carbon footprint, from a historical perspective and relative to their industry. 

Carbon accounting 101

Why and how should you account for your carbon? With so much to know, where do you even start? This simple primer lays it all out.

Salesforce is uniquely qualified to help organizations do just that. You may ask yourself what an enterprise tech company knows about tracking emissions. It turns out, quite a lot. In 2017, as part of a move to streamline the tracking of our own emissions we developed a carbon accounting tool that enables businesses to quickly track, analyze, and report reliable environmental data to help reduce their emissions, including scope 3 emissions. 

Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that have an impact on its overall footprint. Examples include employee travel and commuting, production of purchased materials, and use of its products and services. They account for the majority of emissions for large businesses. 

Here’s how to get a grip on your carbon footprint. 


Net Zero Cloud tracks and manages all carbon emissions data, which flows into one platform to give stakeholders an accurate picture of their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. This is enormously important. Scope 3, which includes emissions generated outside of an organization’s owned and operated assets — for example, everything generated by partners, suppliers and customers — accounts for the majority of a typical company’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

“If you don’t [measure scope 3 emissions] you cannot say that you are a leader,” said Ofer Ben-Dov, sustainability practice lead at Traction on Demand, North America’s largest dedicated Salesforce consulting and application development firm. “That’s a big change. The other big change … is in the mentality and the actual requirements coming in from the  financial sector, because this is a game changer.” 


After you have clarity into emissions, the next step is setting targets for where you need to be, enacting a climate action plan for getting there, and fully integrating the plan into the business strategy.

“Salesforce helps manage analytics and reporting, and Tableau creates visualizations that climate practitioners can share with the C-suite to impart information that is meaningful and digestible,” said Anuraag Jhawar, senior analyst of global ESG reporting at Salesforce. 

He added that Salesforce has open sourced a lot of its sustainability strategy, with white papers, playbooks, sustainability-at-home guides, and a sustainability exhibit that has been added to all supplier procurement contracts. The exhibit, which has been shared as a blueprint that other organizations can adopt, is a commitment that’s incorporated into supply chain contracts to help suppliers reduce their carbon emissions. We also released a climate action plan detailing six sustainability priorities: emissions reduction, carbon removal, ecosystem restoration, education and mobilization, innovation, and regulation and policy.   

Collaboration and transparency

To affect meaningful change, organizations need to collaborate with partners, suppliers, and customers. To that end, we’re already working with customers to help them calculate their carbon footprint as it relates to their use of Salesforce. 

“Our customers are asking us for sustainability information,” said Jhawar. “They want to know about the emissions associated with their use of Salesforce. In the past they may have only extrapolated that information but now we can say with a higher degree of certainty what that figure is.” 

With the latest iteration of Net Zero Cloud, you can track, analyze, and report on carbon emissions and waste management data across your business ecosystem, including suppliers. Get investor-grade dashboards that satisfy the C-suite and keep your enterprise compliant. Net Zero Cloud also works with Tableau for data visualization, MuleSoft for complete integration into Customer 360, and Slack to collaborate with your stakeholders.

Many companies have been measuring emissions and touting their environmental cred for years. But without universally-accepted standards, mandates or audits, the impact has been muted. “During this same 20-year period of increased reporting and sustainable investing, carbon emissions have continued to rise, and environmental damage has accelerated,” wrote Kenneth Pucker, senior lecturer at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, in the Harvard Business Review. 

Businesses have a huge role to play in controlling global emissions and reversing at least some impact of climate change. Federal regulators are inching closer to formalizing some manner of sustainability reporting, expected this Spring. At the same time, the big four accounting firms are beefing up their auditing ranks with ESG experts in anticipation of new disclosure rules. 

Businesses will for the first time be held accountable for their sustainability claims, while stakeholders will get the transparency and accuracy they have long demanded. 

You need to be ready. 

Reduce costs and emissions all at once

Take the guesswork out of your sustainability efforts. Technology can help you easily track, analyze, and report on environmental data.

Lisa Lee Contributing Editor, Salesforce

Lisa Lee is a contributing editor at Salesforce. She has written about technology and its impact on business for more than 25 years. Prior to Salesforce, she was an award-winning journalist with and other publications.

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