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Why transparency and collaboration are critical components of investing in our planet’s future

By Linda Saunders, Head of Solutions Engineering, Salesforce South Africa 

Apart from dealing with humanity’s greatest pressing issue, climate change, businesses, governments, and society as a whole face significant challenges as we emerge from the global epidemic. The last two years have provided a stark reminder that we are all interconnected, and that protecting our stakeholders, including our planet, has never been more important. The theme for this year’s Earth Day, “invest in our planet, since a green future is a wealthy future,” appeals directly to each of us.

Linda Saunders, Head of Solutions Engineering, Salesforce South Africa 

It is no longer enough for businesses to just create excellent consumer products and make a profit. People desire improved action and transparency in how companies monitor sustainability and societal effect, as evidenced by the fact that 52 percent of respondents to Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer say businesses are not doing enough to combat climate change.

At Salesforce, we believe Net Zero is a continuous journey, requiring a company to commit publicly to the shared, global goal of achieving Net Zero, in line with a 1.5°C future.

A credible and actionable climate action strategy is essential for creating trust. All businesses should ask themselves three critical questions. To begin, consider what they do and why they do it in terms of products and services. Second, how do they achieve it, specifically in terms of their business strategy and value chain? Finally, who do they have an impact on: employees, consumers, or society?

Businesses may visualise their quickest path to Net Zero and maintain the greatest levels of responsibility with the support of data-driven and collaborative solutions. By inviting people to join them on their journey, they can serve as an excellent vehicle for positive change.

Investing in transparency and employee empowerment

In this new era of climate accountability, organisations’ carbon data will need to be as trusted as their financial data. However if you can’t see the data or understand your own data, it’s hard to address the problem. To ensure carbon emissions are tackled in an impactful way, it’s important for businesses to invest in the right tools to track them.

Organisations may enhance their carbon emission predictions and visualise their progress toward meeting their climate action pledges by using trusted reporting, in-depth insights, and what-if analysis. They can build a well-defined pathway for decreasing emissions in line with globally agreed-upon targets by aligning their targets with the most recent climate research.

At Salesforce, we took initial steps eight years ago when we released our first Stakeholder Impact Report — a major move towards transparency. And each year, we aspire to improve the rigour of our disclosures to address rising stakeholder expectations and evolving best practices.

When it comes to waste management, with a single source of truth companies can upload and track hazardous and non-hazardous waste management data and treatment methods like landfilled, composted, or combusted — all in one place.

Beyond operations, it is necessary for employees to feel empowered to contribute to Net Zero on a daily basis. Consider travel programs. Capturing, analysing, and reporting reliable environmental data in a timely manner can assist corporate travel customers in reducing their business travel emissions and meeting corporate sustainability targets.

Optimising employee travel planning systems to promote low-emission modes of travel, such as mode of transport, length of stay, and energy use on-site, can help scale employee engagement, education, and behaviour change.

Investing in ecosystems, supply chain sustainability 

Suppliers have long been a vital part of the carbon reduction equation. Climate action is most effective when we collaborate with our customers and suppliers, prioritising data-driven climate action at all levels and strengthening the integration of sustainability into every area of the supply chain.

A company’s carbon emissions portfolio must be considered and accounted for in order to adopt an effective climate policy. Providing suppliers with the tools and assistance they need to take serious decarbonization steps on their own is a big part of this.

Only by investing in tools that track scope 3 emissions (indirect emissions that occur throughout a business’s value chain) on the same platform that analyses scope 1 emissions (direct emissions from owned and operated assets) and scope 2 emissions (associated with the purchase of electricity, heat, or cooling for a business’s own use) can we obtain an accurate and holistic picture of emissions data.

Investing in the future of our planet

Only by fundamentally transforming our economy, from agriculture to transportation, financial services, and consumer products, among other sectors, can we address the climate crisis.

In addition to the impact businesses can make across their operations in the fight against climate change, as we approach Earth Day 2022, it is important to harness the power of partnerships.

We can use technology to leverage the power of employees, suppliers, and society to hold companies accountable and inspire greater investment in a more sustainable future for everybody.

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