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Stakeholder Capitalism

Why Salesforce Launched a Carbon Credit Marketplace

Today at Dreamforce ‘22, Salesforce announced Net Zero Marketplace, an open destination for people and companies looking for guidance and opportunities to collaborate as they engage in climate action. 

The marketplace will be live in October, and is launching with a diverse array of carbon credit offerings — sustainable, innovative solutions that can be applied immediately to help protect the climate. 

Here, Nina Schoen, Director of Product Management for Net Zero Marketplace, discusses the marketplace and how it will make a difference. 

Q: Isn’t Salesforce known for B2B CRM solutions? Why are we launching a carbon credit marketplace?

The climate crisis impacts everyone, and every business, organization, and government has a role in climate action.  

Sure, Salesforce is typically known for B2B products and solutions, but if you think about it, we have deep expertise in building powerful platforms that connect buyers and sellers (AppExchange), and thriving ecosystems (Trailblazer Community). And by leveraging a trusted platform in Commerce Cloud, we were able to build the marketplace quickly, allowing us to scale and flex as we innovate and grow across our entire ecosystem.  

Q: What is our vision with this launch?

It’s important to mention that the first priority in any organization’s net zero journey must be to reduce emissions. Each organization should set a 1.5 C-aligned, science-based target while focusing on deeply reducing its absolute scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions

But reaching these targets is dependent on societal, systemic changes that will all take time. This means that while emissions reduction goals should be prioritized, to reach them, companies must look outside of their walls and observe what others are doing successfully. This marketplace lets them observe ecopreneurs – entrepreneurs focused on creating and, in many cases, selling environmentally-friendly products and services

Our vision for Net Zero Marketplace is threefold:

  1. Everyone engages in climate action
  2. Carbon credit purchases become trusted and transparent
  3. We energize the “Ecopreneur” revolution and scale impact

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Q: How does the marketplace work? What is a carbon credit?

A carbon credit is like a permit for the avoided CO2 emissions. An organization buys carbon credits to compensate for their emissions.  

So where do Net Zero Marketplace’s carbon credits come from? Ecopreneurs: environmentally-focused entrepreneurs who lead and drive climate action worldwide. Let’s use an example where I am an ecopreneur in Honduras. My cookstove project transitions communities from inefficient wood burning stoves to cleaner cookstoves that reduce CO2 emissions from firewood and improve the health of communities.  But, what if I’m not sure how to reach an audience with them and sell them if I choose? 

Net Zero Marketplace connects buyers with trusted carbon credit providers.  Any organization visiting the marketplace can come to the site and — without paying or signing up — can learn about carbon projects and, unlike many marketplaces out there today, can transparently see pricing and third-party ratings. 

Q: Why is a technology company in a uniquely strong position to launch a carbon marketplace with broad reach?

Companies are looking for guidance in navigating the next frontier — the frontier of climate action, just as they did when they were moving to the cloud. In our five-plus years of experience in sustainability and voluntary carbon markets, Salesforce has learned many important lessons to share with organizations on their own climate journeys.

Organizations are expected by their investors, customers, and employees to have tangible climate action plans. Their brand, their reputation, their financial position all depend on it.  

And, there are companies that are well-positioned to make a tangible climate impact. Their global reach and ability to quickly innovate and deploy capital are key strategic advantages.  

These reasons, plus our commitment to Sustainability, which was recently announced as a core value at our company, brought us here to the launch of Net Zero Marketplace.

Q: Can you share more about the partners Net Zero Marketplace is working with as part of the launch?

We’re launching with a select set of diverse partners, and as a part of this marketplace ecosystem, they all bring something unique. Some are established organizations that have been in this space for a long time. Some are newer tech players bringing innovation to the space.  Some focus on bringing investment to communities that can benefit from a new form of climate finance.

But mostly, what we’re doing together with these partners is something that’s first of its kind. No other carbon marketplace offers this spectrum of carbon projects — across project types — or this volume of credits with transparent pricing and third-party ratings. It’s been wonderful to be a part of something so bold and innovative.  

While emissions reduction goals should be prioritized, to reach them, companies must look outside of their walls and observe what others are doing successfully.

Nina Schoen

Q: What was the most exciting moment in the development of this project, when you realized this was really going to work? 

Last November, Net Zero Marketplace was just an idea – a bullet point on a slide. The team literally said “let’s go figure this out.” We started with a strategy and one month later, our engineers had a beautiful proof of concept built using the Commerce Cloud platform. 

Then we started working with our carbon credit providers and each one of them instantly validated the idea that Salesforce was uniquely positioned to scale impact. Their values-aligned interest in doing this together made me realize this was more than going to work, it was going to be incredible.  

The most exciting part for me? Seeing the carbon projects that will be in our catalog — actually seeing the faces of the ecopreneurs, the mangrove forest, the ecosystems being protected. The pictures, the faces, the locations on the map — that’s when it hits you on a whole other level.  

More information:

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