PPAI Magazine May 2023

Voices | Responsibility ESG, OR ENVIRONMENTAL social governance, is changing the way publicly traded corporations view their balance sheets. Activist investors have driven this movement predicated on the concept that corporations should value purpose alongside profit, and both the investment community and legislators have proved to be enamored of this concept. Those publicly traded corporations, such as cloudbased software company Salesforce, are increasingly looking to their supply chains to align with and support their efforts. Private companies should be taking note of this evolving ESG landscape, too. Recently I had the opportunity to catch up with Louisa McGuirk, senior manager of sustainable procurement for Salesforce. I first met Louisa when she joined us as part of a corporate social responsibility panel during the 2022 PPAI North American Leadership Conference, where she shared the visionary work Salesforce is doing in the sustainability space. Words matter, so at the outset of our conversation, I asked Louisa about the terminology Salesforce uses in its work. At Salesforce, “ESG” is most often used in relation to reporting and accountability to stakeholders, while “sustainability” describes its work to accelerate global progress to net zero and create a naturepositive future. As a corporation, Salesforce believes business is the greatest platform for change and has an obligation to address what it considers to be a climate emergency. Salesforce has net zero residual emissions today and has set ambitious targets to reduce and compensate for greenhouse gas emissions across its full value chain in pursuit of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius for a future that avoids the worst impacts of climate change. To accomplish this goal, Louisa is working beyond Salesforce’s four walls to drive a sustainable reaction down the supply chain. The beauty in this approach is in its ripple effect. Salesforce cannot reach net zero without the engagement of its suppliers, its suppliers cannot meet net zero without their suppliers, and so on. That’s where companies like those in the promotional products industry begin to fit into this conversation. According to Louisa, at least 90% of Salesforce’s greenhouse gas emissions Reducing carbon emissions is one step on our journey toward a nature-positive future. by Anne Stone, MAS, CAE The Race To Net Zero 3rdtimeluckystudio / Shutterstock.com 32 • MAY 2023 • PPAI