San francisco California. Companies are looking for solutions that allow them to have visibility over the emissions they generate, and a solution is emerging from Silicon Valley. The American technology company Salesforce, based in San Francisco, has expanded its Net Zero platform so that companies can not only quantify their emissions, but also offset them by purchasing carbon credits within a marketplace .
Marc Benioff, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce, said at the last Dreamforce that carbon neutrality is one of the great challenges that companies must face in the next decade, but poor visibility is one of the obstacles to implementing strategies effective. “Today there is no transparency for anyone,” Benioff acknowledged.
Companies and non-profit organizations sell such bonds with the promise of planting trees or protecting forests from logging primarily in emerging markets. Each bond is equal to one metric ton of carbon dioxide, and if a company buys enough bonds or credits – as they are called in the United States – to offset its emissions in a given year, it can say it is carbon neutral.
But the lack of clarity about pricing and meeting those targets is generating skepticism among corporations.
Net Zero Marketplace, which joins Net Zero Cloud, will allow companies to buy carbon credits offered by nearly 90 ecopreneurs -entrepreneurs with sustainable projects-, who support reforestation and renewable energy programs, among many others, in 11 countries America, Europe, Oceania and Africa.
“Companies will be able to select the project that best fits their objectives,” said Benioff.
Salesforce’s foray into the carbon credit business comes as companies’ goals align with increasingly ambitious climate change goals, such as reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The consultancy EY estimates that almost 200 countries have endorsed the global goal of limiting the rise in average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Reaching the goal would require global greenhouse gas emissions to be cut 50% from current levels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.
More companies are aligning with this agenda: In less than a year, the number of companies with net zero commitments doubled, from 500 in 2019 to more than 1,000 in 2020.
McKinsey & Co. forecasts that the voluntary market for carbon credits will reach 50,000 million dollars by 2030 and that the volume of credits needed worldwide will increase between 30 and 40 times from current levels to reach the scenarios proposed in the Agreement in Paris on climate change.
Carbon credits, the solution to the problem?
Patrick Flynn, global director of sustainability at Salesforce, acknowledges that the purchase of carbon credits is just one more tool and cannot be seen as the only way to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050. “We know that there is a lot of controversy around credits and that credibility is critical.
Net Zero Marketplace will not require users to have an account to browse its project listings, which will detail pricing, availability, and third-party ratings that examine their quality. Salesforce will rely on rating agencies Calyx and Sylvera for this.
“The most important thing at this time of climate crisis is to have reliable tools that allow awareness of how many emissions each movement generates within the operation and that allow suppliers (of carbon credits) to connect with enough buyers,” said Flynn .
Salesforce will launch Net Zero Marketplace in the United States this year and in 2023 it will be available in other countries.
Hugo Freytes, Salesforce Country Manager for Mexico, said that several companies in the country have already shown interest in the solution. “We tend to think that this issue (of carbon neutrality) is related to manufacturing companies and it is not. In Mexico there are already companies that have been proactive and have sought us out to see what solutions we have. This has become part of the agenda of all companies, they are all looking for the sustainability of their operations”.