By Zuko Mdwaba
The increasing frequency and unpredictability of extreme weather events demonstrates that no one is spared from climate change. To help mitigate this crisis our planet urgently needs smart solutions. Every organisation, government and individual has a role to play.
For companies, their brand, reputation, and financial position all depend on having tangible climate action plans. Indeed, according to Salesforce research, 78% of customers say environmental practices influence their decision to buy from a company.
Combining long term strategy with short term action
The first priority in their net zero journey must be to reduce emissions. Each organisation should set a 1.5 C goal aligned with science-based targets while focusing on deeply reducing its absolute scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.
However, reaching these targets is dependent on long-term systemic changes that will take time to perfect. Companies therefore need solutions today that can have a more immediate impact whilst they work towards their long term emission reduction goals.
Investing in high-quality carbon credits – when made and used well – can play a critical role in an organisation’s comprehensive climate strategy. Businesses aiming to achieve long-term emission reductions can complement their efforts with high-quality carbon credits. Projects can include forest conservation, tree planting, wind farms, solar cookstoves, or better farming methods.
The path to purchasing carbon credits can be complex. Buyers want to trust that the carbon credit projects have a positive impact. In addition, providers of carbon credits don’t always have the traditional sales and marketing mechanisms they need to successfully bring credits to the market. This is why Salesforce recently launched Net Zero Marketplace, a trusted platform that makes carbon credit purchases simple and transparent, allowing organisations to accelerate climate positive impact at scale.
At Salesforce, our vision for Net Zero Marketplace is threefold: everyone engages in climate action; carbon credit purchases become trusted and transparent; and we energise the “Ecopreneur” revolution and scale impact.
Closing the sustainability talent gap
To reach a net zero future all roles should be sustainability roles. We’re going to need an army of qualified individuals working together – from carbon accountants to scientists to ecopreneurs. Yet despite both good intentions and pressure to meet ambitious climate goals, businesses are facing a severe shortage of sustainability talent available to help meet their commitments.
Leveraging a company’s existing workforce can be a powerful solution to solving the sustainability talent gap. According to new Salesforce research of 1,297 global workers, over 8 in 10 want to help their company operate more sustainably. While 3 in 5 are eager to incorporate sustainability into their current role, 88% said a lack of investment in training towards those qualifications is stopping companies from reaching their sustainability goals.
By upskilling existing workers who want to make the jump into sustainability careers, companies can source talent for hard-to-fill roles, while helping employees work towards something they’re passionate about.
Understanding personal and corporate sustainability
As sustainability continues to stay at the forefront of stakeholders’ minds, it’s imperative that business leaders combine short term solutions with long term changes to how they operate.
Through re-evaluating how to create sustainability roles, hire and retain sustainability talent – by providing the right tools and training – they can ensure everyone can become part of the movement towards a net zero future.
(Zuko Mdwaba is the Area VP at Salesforce South Africa).
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