Insights from the 2022 Net Zero Summit

Salesforce recently hosted its Net Zero Summit in Washington, D.C. Among the highlights from the summit were a demo of the platform’s environmental data tracking tool, Net Zero Cloud, and the announcement of its first round of donations from its Ecosystem Restoration & Climate Justice Fund. The global climate fund was announced in late 2021 and will invest a total of $100 million over 10 years toward key climate initiatives. The first round of donations totaling $11 million will be given to 12 organizations with innovative approaches to addressing climate change through nature-based solutions.

Also on the agenda was a series of sessions on sustainability and climate action, including a panel on media perspectives on corporate ESG commitments, and a conversation with business leaders about the case for sustainable transformation.

Turning Corporate Commitments into Action: A Media Perspective
This panel, featuring journalists from Politico, Protocol, Axios, and TIME, were asked what they take into consideration when reporting on a corporate sustainability and net zero commitments. Here is what they said:

  • Actions speak louder than words. Is a company’s sustainability team setting ambitious targets while the public affairs team advocates for environmentally regressive policies? How are the company’s capital expenses allocated?

  • Does the head of sustainability report to a C-suite or senior level executive or to a lower-level executive? This hierarchy can reflect on how highly the company prioritizes sustainability.

  • What is the company’s climate action plan? Are Scope 3 emissions included as part of the company’s emissions reduction efforts? Has the company set interim targets as milestones to meet long term goal? To what extent does a company’s commitment success rely on carbon offsets?

  • Do the company’s executives have a stake in meeting the commitment as part of performance evaluation or tied to compensation?

Learn more about emissions goalsetting, key terms, and the biggest opportunities for retail emissions reduction in RILA’s Retail Climate Action Blueprint here.
The Business Case for Sustainable Transformation
Salesforce sat down for a conversation with representatives from Marriott and AT&T to talk about the drivers behind their companies’ commitments to net zero emissions.

AT&T has committed to reaching net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2035, in addition to setting Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi)-approved goals of reducing absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 63%, and ensuring 50% of its suppliers set their own science-based Scope 1 and 2 targets by 2024. In AT&T’s eyes, there has never been a better time for climate action and solutions, and technology can play a major role in decarbonization. As a part of their sustainability journey, AT&T has developed a Climate Change Analysis Tool, which forecasts the risk and impact of climate events on their company’s infrastructure and operations in the next thirty years, helping AT&T make informed decisions to better serve their customers and improve resilience.

Marriott strives to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and has committed to setting science-based emissions reduction targets across all scopes in line with the SBTi 1.5°C emissions scenarios. Marriott sees the clearest business case for sustainability in the demand and expectation from their customers, but there are multiple stakeholders that drive the business case, including their employees, owners, and investors. The hotel industry is still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Marriott took the unforeseen circumstances as an opportunity to “reprogram” their approach to sustainability. In maintaining accountability to their stakeholders, Marriott takes their own assets, as well as assets they do not own, into consideration. For example, they must accept risk and responsibility for the performance of their buildings and seek out ways to influence the sustainability- and resilience-related decisions which are often made by builders or building owners. RILA has compiled resources on how to reduce leasing barriers for energy projects and reduce costs on our Landlord Collaboration page.
RILA members can access a full list of retail companies with emissions reduction, energy efficiency, and/or renewable energy goals on our Retail GHG Targets Tracker.

Visit RILA’s page on The Business Case for CSR for a toolbox of resources to help retail finance teams understand the opportunities presented by CSR.

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