Out of control fire on Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains was part of the Ruined Castle Fire which was started by lightning strike during the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season or Black Summer. Climate change is causing prolonged droughts and increasing bushfires

There are three key actions leaders must take if their businesses are to be platforms for positive change in the world:

  1. Be transparent and vulnerable on this journey
  2. Drive and celebrate incremental change as well as large innovation
  3. Empower champions

It’s not enough to say we support sustainability and hope the rest will take care of itself. Leadership must be accountable and transparent about concrete actions being taken and commitments being made, and how we are tracking, reporting and improving progress.

For example, Salesforce has committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we publish our progress. Globally we’ve been making a positive impact in eight of the SDG areas through our corporate and employees’ efforts:

  • No poverty
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Climate action

This transparency also requires vulnerability – admitting and accepting that there’s work to be done and we can’t do it all in one day. We at Salesforce are on a path to 100% renewable energy and we have a plan to get there by 2022 – we know there is more work to do and are committed to doing it.

Speedy innovation is great, and it’s part of our reason for being – we put Sustainability Cloud under the ‘innovation’ umbrella. But we also celebrate and drive this incremental change.

Leadership’s long shadow gets longer when champions stand alongside the leader – this requires both the wallet and calendar I mentioned earlier. One way to empower champions at all levels and across all functions of an organisation is to enable employees to give the company’s resources to projects they are passionate about, within and outside the organisation.

One of our largest employee resource groups, Earthforce is a global community of 9,000+ employee volunteers who promote and celebrate environmental responsibility at Salesforce. This group has driven incredible change in our offices and practices.

Climate change is one of the biggest and most complex challenges that we’ve ever faced. Climate change impacts everyone – every individual, company and nation – and those with the least are often impacted the most. Combating climate change is everyone’s job, because it’s everyone’s planet.

Pip Marlow is CEO ANZ at Salesforce. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Track, analyse, and report environmental data to help reduce your carbon emissions and drive sustainability – tangible steps towards carbon neutrality. Find out more about Salesforce Sustainability Cloud.

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