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Sustainability

Salesforce Launches New Initiatives to Grow Sustainable Ocean-Based Carbon Markets

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Salesforce and global environmental NGOs will co-lead effort to help define high-quality blue carbon projects and credits 

Salesforce joins ORRAA to help drive their commitment of $500 million to strengthen climate resilience of coastal communities

Salesforce hires UN leader Tim Christophersen as incoming Vice President of Climate Action

Today at the Our Ocean Conference convened in the Republic of Palau, Salesforce announced a global collaborative effort aimed at driving consistent standards around high-quality blue carbon projects and credits. 

Blue carbon is the carbon captured by ocean and coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves and seagrasses, that is increasingly used by companies to offset their carbon emissions on their paths to reach net zero by 2050.

As businesses, investors and governments look to scale the blue carbon market, it’s critical that investments are made in high quality projects while also yielding community leadership, transparency, and standardization.

“We want to leverage the power of nature to capture carbon and fight climate change. As investments in the blue carbon market grow, we must ensure that projects truly safeguard biodiversity, protect coastal and marine ecosystems, and ultimately improve the livelihoods of people in local communities,” said Whitney Johnston, Ph.D., Director of Ocean Sustainability at Salesforce. 

The initiative will be co-led by Salesforce and leading environmental organizations, including the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action, Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy, along with the Meridian Institute, to support the stakeholder engagement process. A draft set of principles and definitions will be circulated for public comment in June 2022 at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon. 

As Salesforce decarbonizes its business, we’re leveraging technology, philanthropy, mobilization, policy, and investments in nature-based solutions to reach our climate goals”

Dr Whitney Johnston, Director of ocean sustainability, salesforce

As part of its ongoing commitment to help develop the emerging blue carbon market, Salesforce set a goal to purchase 1 million tons of high-quality blue carbon credits, equivalent to more than $10 million USD, over the next four years.

“As Salesforce decarbonizes its business, we’re leveraging technology, philanthropy, mobilization, policy, and investments in nature-based solutions to reach our climate goals,” said Dr. Johnston.

Salesforce joins ORRAA to increase investment in ocean protection

Several factors — including pollution, over-extraction, habitat damage and climate change — have imperiled the ocean economy. By 2050, 800 million people globally will be vulnerable to coastal flooding and storm surges from rising sea levels. Coastal ecosystems, like reefs and mangroves, serve as powerful buffers against storms and flooding, and support livelihoods, food security, and culture. However, less than 1% of the total value of the ocean has been invested in sustainable projects through philanthropy and official development assistance. 

That’s why Salesforce is joining ORRAA, a multi-stakeholder collaboration with a goal to drive at least $500 million of investment into coastal projects by 2030. The United States also announced its support for ORRAA, including a $1 million contribution.

“At the moment, there are too few on-the-ground solutions which can be a source for high-quality, verifiable blue carbon credit products ready to go to market, and no clear benchmarks or definitions of what a high-quality blue carbon product is – or should be,” said Karen Sack, Executive Director, ORRAA. “It is also important to develop demand-side guardrails to ensure that blue carbon credits are additional – not an alternative – to efforts to reach net zero. We are delighted that Salesforce is joining ORRAA and to be working jointly with them and other partners on this effort.”

Since founding the Ocean Sustainability Program in 2021, Salesforce has given nearly $3 million through philanthropy to organizations working to conserve and restore coastal and marine ecosystems.

Salesforce hires former UN head of nature based solutions 

Salesforce has hired global sustainability leader Tim Christophersen as the incoming Vice President of Climate Action to drive Salesforce’s strategy around nature-based solutions to climate challenges, and accelerate the company’s international sustainability work. 

Tim Christophersen, Salesforce’s Vice-President of Climate Action

“Science tells us that it’s now or never to take climate action. We’re already experiencing the first effects of climate change, from extreme weather events and wildfires, to rapid loss of biodiversity, and growing global inequality,” said Christophersen.

“Businesses can quickly and decisively scale up all the right solutions now for people, nature and climate laid out by the latest IPCC report. That’s why I’m proud to join Salesforce and leverage its full power on behalf of our planet.”

Before joining Salesforce, Christophersen served as the head of Nature for the Climate Branch, and Coordinator of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration at the United Nations Environment Programme. He holds a degree in forestry from the Dresden University of Technology in Germany, and will be based in Denmark.

More information

  • Register here to follow and participate in the blue carbon market principles stakeholder engagement process. 
  • Join the #TeamEarth community and find opportunities to take action here.

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