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Stakeholder Capitalism

Climate Week 2019: Week in Review

Salesforce executives this week joined world leaders, CEOs, government officials, and global investors in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week 2019 to declare the company’s commitment to sustainability and climate action.

In the spirit of taking action, Salesforce announced Salesforce Sustainability Cloud — a tool built on the Salesforce platform that helps companies track, analyze and report reliable environmental data to manage and reduce their carbon emissions. This product started as an internal project to speed Salesforce’s own carbon accounting process — shrinking it from a 6-month ordeal into a 6-week cycle.

In the lead up to Climate Week, more than 750 Salesforce employees across the globe — from London, Paris, Australia, San Francisco, New York and more — took to the streets for the Climate March on Friday, September 20. The march, led by youth activists, drew tens of thousands in support of climate change awareness and action.

In New York City, the skyline shone green Sunday evening to mark the start of Climate Week 2019.

Salesforce co-sponsored the Party for Good, an event celebrating the work of action-oriented decision makers united in the fight against climate change. Three hundred attendees convened to hear speakers, such as Richard Edelman and Claudia Romo Edelman of the We Are All Human Foundation and Gillian Tett of the Financial Times. The conversations centered around how leaders are putting sustainable development goals into practice as climate change is making the world hotter, more polluted and unstable.

On Monday, Salesforce Chief Impact Officer Suzanne DiBianca delivered a keynote with a moving call to corporations for action on climate change. “Technology companies are not inherently good or bad. It’s what we do with our innovations that matter,” said DiBianca. “And I believe we must pivot to ensure that our products are used for good.”

Salesforce’s Patrick Flynn, VP of Sustainability, took the stage Wednesday at Climate Week to address the role of technology in accelerating climate action (full session video available here). Flynn was joined by DocuSign’s Amy Skeeter-Behrens and Mission2020’s McKenzie Wilson to give a demonstration of Sustainability Cloud and hear about progress from the Step Up Coalition companies.

At the Salesforce Climate Action Reception on September 25, DiBianca called for businesses to use their core competencies to drive climate action, sentiments shared by fellow speakers (left to right in the photo at the top of the page) Paul Polman, former Unilever CEO and co-founder, IMAGINE; Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global; and Alexandria Villasenor, founder of Earth Uprising.

“We have all the knowledge and technologies available in order to act,” said Polman, “but there are too few actions in tackling climate change.”

The actions Salesforce took this week included:

  • Joining over 87 of the world’s largest companies to commit to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C and reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
  • Partnering with 15 global corporations — representing 900,000+ employees and more than $500 billion in revenue — to create the “Business Avengers” coalition. Together, we will focus on highlighting the crucial role businesses play in hitting the targets of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
  • Partnering with the World Economic Forum, Deloitte, and Microsoft to announce UpLink, a digital crowd-engagement platform to enable mass participation in meeting the 2030 SDGs. In support of this announcement, Salesforce President and Chief Financial Officer Mark Hawkins participated in a panel at the U.N. Headquarters to emphasize the importance of corporate action in achieving the SDGs.

Salesforce closed out Climate Week with a bang — or rather, a bell. Hawkins joined Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman of A4S, to ring the New York Stock Exchange opening bell on Thursday, September 26. This event kicked off the .launch of the US East Coast chapter of the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) CFO Leadership Network. A4S is aimed at enabling sustainable organizations that generate positive value for the economy, society and the environment. As a founding member of the USA Chapter of the A4S CFO Leadership Network Salesforce hosted the east coast launch event at Salesforce Tower NYC where Hawkins and Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman of A4S, moderated a panel with other inspiring business leaders on the role of finance in making sustainable business business-as-usual.


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