Why Sustainability is Good for Business

By Mark Hawkins, Chief Financial Officer, Salesforce

At Salesforce, we believe that companies can do well financially and do good in the world. Our customers look to us not only as the world’s #1 CRM provider globally, but as a leader in all that we do — including sustainability.

This week, we announced two important milestones in our journey to make Salesforce a more sustainable company. I’m proud to share that we have achieved net-zero greenhouse gas emissions — fulfilling the commitment we made publicly in 2015 — and we are now delivering a carbon neutral cloud for all of our customers.

These achievements reflect Salesforce’s commitment to harnessing our culture of innovation to foster a better world for all of our stakeholders, and they also make good business sense.

According to a 2013 study conducted by the World Wildlife Fund and the Carbon Disclosure Project, U.S. companies, excluding utilities, could save up to $190 billion by 2020 just by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an average of three percent per year.

As a cloud pioneer serving more than 150,000 customers around the world, Salesforce’s most significant and direct environmental impact comes from our data centers, which run on electricity. Our multi-tenant infrastructure already allows our customers to share computing and storage resources, all within a trusted environment, and we’re working hard to identify additional ways to reduce the energy consumed by our data centers.

Over the past five years, we have taken proactive measures to work with data center providers that use clean power and consistently improve utilization, all while sourcing more efficient systems to further drive down electricity and other costs.

Not only do these efforts positively impact the environment, they positively impact our bottom line. When we improve the efficiency of a data center, it costs less for us to operate that facility. For example, driving more efficient use of electricity in our data centers lowers our utility bills.

But we’re not stopping at our data centers. We’re also exploring other ways to reduce our carbon usage, such as by shining a light on employee travel, which comes at a cost to both the company and the environment. This year, we will begin reporting our travel volume and associated carbon impact to employees. While some business travel is unavoidable, we hope increasing transparency around how much we travel will help employees make more informed choices.

We’re also making important changes to the way we design our offices. Recently, we awarded a contract for new tables in the conference rooms and huddle spaces in our new Salesforce Tower Indianapolis to a local supplier. Not only did the company meet our sustainability standards for the materials it used, but by going local, we avoided the environmental impact and the fees associated with shipping and scheduling deliveries with a non-local supplier.

As CFO, our commitment to sustainability is only natural as we continue to grow. It requires a rigorous focus on reducing waste and increasing efficiency — two things that are good for our business.


Originally published at www.salesforce.com.

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