CRM firm Salesforce has announced the launch of its own carbon credit marketplace, aiming to pave the way to net-zero emissions for businesses of all sizes.
At Dreamforce, the company’s annual conference, Salesforce offered a first glimpse of its new Net Zero Marketplace, which would make purchasing carbon credits easier and more transparent.
Built on top of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, the new marketplace connects buyers to a selection of pre-screened carbon credit providers, whose projects have been audited by third-party rating agencies. The providers are involved in projects ranging from forest conservation to tree planting, wind farms and more.
Controversy over carbon credit
While most companies are united in pushing for net zero as a means of mitigating the industry’s warming effects on the planet, using carbon credits to offset emissions is a contentious issue.
Some argue that offsetting simply does not have the desired effect as it opens the door to greenwashing and therefore discourages organic reductions in emissions, while others have expressed concern about the risks associated with bad, fraudulent and double credit.
While Salesforce acknowledges these thorny issues, the company believes it has found the best possible solution in the circumstances.
Speak with Slice Mag Proexplains Ari Alexander, head of Salesforce Net Zero Cloud, that the company has come to the conclusion that society cannot afford to wait for a mature carbon offset industry to emerge, that’s how urgent the situation is.
“There are competing ideas about what quality means in today’s carbon offset market. It’s not up to us to define what quality looks like; there are tens of thousands of experts hotly arguing about what standardization around quality should look like,” he said. .
“The role we can play is to shine a light on the market and help it reach a place of greater transparency, trust and quality.”
Pressed at the possibility that the Net Zero Marketplace could inadvertently help distribute poor-quality credit or even fraudulent credit used to relieve companies of the responsibility to take real climate action, Alexander told us it was a case of both not or.
“We strongly believe that companies must thoroughly decarbonise and devise aggressive plans to do so. But we also recognize that we cannot afford to wait for certain actions that are beyond their control. The hard truth is that no company today can decarbonize exclusively through its own decision making – it’s a very complex value chain.”
“We think carbon credits play an important role in taking climate action now, as part of the short, medium and long-term planning that involves deep decarbonisation in the places you control.”
Another benefit of the market, Alexander argued, is that it allows smaller companies that may not have the resources or expertise to build a portfolio of carbon credits. He told us that the marketplace will be “the first of its kind” when it comes to democratizing access to compensation.
In the future, the marketplace may even be opened up to individuals who want to offset their own personal carbon footprint. While Salesforce doesn’t allow people to buy carbon credits on their own behalf (to protect against those who may want to take advantage of credits in secondary markets), it can allow employees to buy credits through their company.
The Salesforce Net Zero Marketplace will go live in the US next month and will be rolled out to other markets in 2023.