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Why Companies Need to Invest More in their Biggest Stakeholder: Planet

Why Companies Need to Invest More in their Biggest Stakeholder - The Planet

In conversation with employees from Earthforce to understand how companies can commit to becoming more sustainable.

Sustainability is not a private affair only reserved to households or individuals – businesses and corporations have a key role to play too. As our Co-Founder and CEO Marc Benioff says, ‘businesses are the greatest platform for change’.

I decided to catch up with some colleagues who are also involved in Earthforce – one of our employee resource groups dedicated to sustainability and the environment – to understand more about how companies can commit to becoming more sustainable, and why this commitment is so important.

Jason Daniel, Associate Manager, Workplace Services

Sustainability is a crucial element of Salesforce’s core values. This is important because businesses are some of the biggest agents of change, and future generations are relying on our ability to collectively prioritise environmental stewardship to preserve natural resources, adapt to a changing climate and attempt to mitigate catastrophic climate scenarios.

Salesforce’s built environment and workplace culture expresses one of our top corporate values – sustainability – by enabling our employees, customers and guests to minimise their environmental footprint in the workplace. We strategically position our real estate portfolio to be optimised for public transportation access, foster innovative, low-impact interior design and use cutting-edge construction practices that minimise landfill waste. Our office waste infrastructure promotes the sorting of recycling and rubbish (and compost where possible!) that reduces potent methane emissions generated by landfills. Green-minded Earthforce teams organise volunteer activities that range from neighbourhood trash cleanups to tree plantings and from bio-blitzes to invasive species management.

Companies can kick start their own sustainability journey by signing onto Science-Based Targets and by harnessing the power of Salesforce’s Net Zero Cloud to audit their carbon footprint all the way down to Scope-3 emissions.

Amanda von Almen, Head of Emissions Reductions

To meet the climate emergency head-on, we need every company to drive toward a 1.5°C future. Given buildings account for nearly 40% of annual global carbon emissions, workplaces play a key role in any company’s climate strategy.

Companies can address sustainability in their physical workplaces by using green building standards like LEED, BREEAM, Green Star, etc. as frameworks for delivering high-performing real estate. From negotiating green lease language to prioritising Healthy Materials in the Workplace, embodied carbon reduction, to engaging suppliers to set science-based targets. Companies that integrate sustainability into their real estate decision-making process can ensure every workplace meets rigorous sustainability standards that support the health of their people and our planet.

Of course, the definition of workplace has recently expanded. Salesforce’s Sustainability at Home guide lays out actions anyone can take in this work-from-anywhere world to ensure their workplace, wherever it is, is comfortable, productive, and most of all sustainable.

Matt Groom, Associate Solution Engineer, Tableau

We as individuals and as a species have always and will always leave an impact wherever we go. We’re almost programmed to want to leave our mark. But this has changed more recently. Now our focus is on being as low-impact as possible, and ensuring that companies around us are held to the same standard. Salesforce is one of the companies striving to set the standard for the industry, by implementing sustainable WFH strategies, promoting office waste management, and through the launch of Net Zero Cloud.

From necessity comes opportunity, and I think that companies see the difference they can make and the impact that their time and investment can have. Though the emphasis is squarely on us as citizens of this planet to make a difference in our individual lives, it is on large companies to make the changes that will ultimately move the needle in a positive direction.

The obligation and burden then is on companies to meet our expectations and enable us to work and operate in a sustainable fashion.

Emma Tuite, Customer Experience Manager, Slack

Sustainability is a strange concept when you think of what the word ‘sustain’ actually means – to keep something the same or at a level. However, in order for us to have sustainability we need to change everything and change what that level is.

In the workplace, sustainability is so important because companies have a responsibility for not only their employees but also the environment and community surrounding them. Some companies have developed a WFH strategy, while others have implemented more sustainable food menus (i.e. vegan options, fresh, locally sourced ingredients etc). Some have incorporated sustainable resources for power and heat in the offices while others have adapted to the new electric cars – having charging stations available on the premises.

Companies like our own take their sustainability further by providing employees time to volunteer for the causes that matter to them. That could be anything from planting a tree, standing up for diversity, cleaning a beach or providing support for war-torn countries. It’s literally anything that will create change and thus sustainability.

Ian Walker, Senior Director, Talent Experience

Sustainability is not just about environmental responsibility. It’s a vision for a better, fairer, scalable and more equal future for all. When my children ask me what I did to help slow down climate change, I want to be able to tell them that I not only introduced more carbon-friendly changes in my personal life but that I worked for a company that played a leading role in reducing carbon dependency.

Salesforce places stakeholder capitalism at the heart of its operations. Whether that be in driving for net neutrality and a carbon-neutral Cloud or in designing sustainable buildings and working environments for employees. So whether it’s using solar panels or LED lights in its buildings, sourcing locally produced ingredients for the kitchen, implementing cycle-to-work schemes, or encouraging VTO in support of the environment (being involved in the 1 Trillion Trees Initiative for example), there are so many ways that companies can make a positive contribution to the environment.

One of my favourite statistics is that a transaction conducted in the Cloud is 95% more carbon efficient than one conducted through on-premise solutions. When we combine our cloud-based platform with the Net Neutral Cloud, it places Salesforce at the heart of helping companies across the planet drive their own carbon reduction. I’m proud to work for a company that is not only doing its bit, but also supporting others to do theirs.

Investing in the Planet

While companies have a huge responsibility to invest in the planet, it is also down to individuals to do their part as well. But aside from the small changes we can make in our own lives, it’s vital we use our voices to inspire others and businesses to step up to these challenges to ensure we can reduce our global carbon emissions.

To learn more about Salesforce’s commitment to sustainability, check out these resources:

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