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Beware the Carbon Cowboys! Salesforce Chief Impact Officer Suzanne DiBianca on helping customers with carbon credit strategies

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan September 20, 2022
Salesforce is committed to helping customers get carbon credit programs up and running as part of their sustainability drives.

Suzanne DiBianca

There’s some bad news for dedicated collectors of corporate conference swag at Dreamforce this week - basically, you’re not getting any from Salesforce. Why? Well, according to Chief Impact Officer Suzanne DiBianca, we’re living in an “over-swagged world” and it’s time things changed:

I'm really excited that for the first time, instead of giving out a bunch of swag and backpacks and water bottles, we're actually giving attendees the opportunity to offset any travel-related emissions that may have occurred by attending the show this week. It's going to be the most sustainable in-person Dreamforce ever.

As Madeline noted in her preview of this week’s Dreamforce, sustainability is a big deal on this year’s agenda. DiBianca says:

We are in an ‘all hands on deck’ moment to mitigate climate change. Earlier this year, we established sustainability as a core value in our company, something that we did not do lightly. We've been working very hard all year to make sure that we operationalize it in every single business unit and you'll really see that come to life at Dreamforce this year. We have a Net Zero Summit as part of Dreamforce and it will bring together incredible climate luminaries, like Jane Goodall and Al Gore. We've got over 50 sessions on sustainability and how to get to Net Zero.

Salesforce’s commitment to sustainability focuses on three aspects of climate-related strategy, she adds:

First, Salesforce is a Net Zero company today. We're powered by 100% renewable energy, and the big shift that we really made in the last 12 months is to help all of our customers also to get Net Zero with Net Zero Cloud.

Second is leading the nature of positive movement. The forests really are the lungs of our planet and it's why we founded Salesforce itself has committed to growing and restoring 100 million trees around the world. We're almost halfway to that goal in a really accelerated fashion.

And finally we're energizing the ‘ecopreneneur’ revolution. That's why we co-founded an effort with Deloitte and the World Economic Forum called Uplink. It's sourced over 50,000 incredible ‘ecopreneurs’ that are really working on bold climate solutions and there'll be hundreds of them this week here at Dreamforce.

Carbon Cowboys

It’s those ‘ecopreneurs’ who are part of the trigger for a new initiative announced today - the Net Zero Marketplace, pitched as “a trusted platform that makes carbon credit purchases simple and transparent, allowing organizations to accelerate climate positive impact at scale.”

What does that mean in practice? The problem this new offering sets out to address is that while organizations may lay out their Net Zero commitments in public - essentially de rigeur in this day and age - too many don’t know how to build a carbon credit portfolio.

Carbon credits are a tool used in many organizations’ climate strategies. After passing a series of verifications against global standards, carbon credit schemes issue credits that can then be sold on.

There are many of these around, but assessing and verifiying them can be complicated. Hence the new Marketplace, DiBianca explains:

There are so many incredible ‘ecopreneuers’ out there that you have to be a little careful in this market. We call it the era of the ‘Carbon Cowboy’. It's really important that quality is king.

Salesforce has a team of scientists internally who do deep due diligence on the firm’s own suppliers, but has brought in third party raters for the Marketplace, such as Sylvera, who can provide their own expertise. Salesforce is not in the auditing business, emphasizes DiBianca, but is well-placed to enable others to provide such services:

I think Salesforce is the best company to do this, as the most trusted, the most transparent platform. We have hundreds of thousands of customers that we can enable to take climate action. We're a B2B CRM company, but we're an ecosystem company fundamentally with our AppExchange partners. We have always been in a much broader tent in which we can make a difference. We know that trust and transparency, especially in the carbon credit markets, is really, really critical. We want, through Trailhead and some of the really open platforms that we have all around our products, to really be able to enable climate action at scale.


Built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Net Zero Marketplace aims to assist buyers, who want to know that their chosen carbon credit programs are having a positive impact, by linking them up with ‘ecopreneurs’ and providing both a catalog of third-party rated carbon credits and a convenient way to purchase them. DiBianca says:

It connects buyers looking for high quality carbon credits with ‘ecopreneurs’ all around the world who provide these credits, within one trusted platform. It provides unprecedented transparency by aggregating third party ratings and showing pricing for carbon credit projects. It's open to everyone. It's not locked behind expensive paywalls or account registrations. You don't need to be a Salesforce or Net Zero Cloud customer to use the marketplace, although it will easily integrate with that data.

At launch in the US next month, Net Zero Marketplace will have nearly 90 projects in 11 countries with millions of credits to buy.  It will also have a Climate Action Hub, says DiBianca:

It’s where anyone - businesses and individuals alike - can learn about and take action on climate issues. We've learned that learning about climate is top of mind for people today. New global research that we launched this week revealed that seven in 10 people surveyed wish they had more sustainability-related knowledge and qualifications, which is why we built content on Trailhead to educate people on all kinds of various sustainability efforts and skills. And you can find those right in the marketplace itself.

My take

Walking the walk.


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