Salesforce continues to offer new products in a growing demonstration of the relevance of its platform to businesses and society at large.
Lately, they’ve been focusing on the COVID-19 crisis with products like the recently introduced Salesforce Anywhere, which helps businesses better organize their suddenly distant affairs resulting from people working remotely. They also presented Work.com, a package specifically geared towards reopening in these times and new ways of working.
Both packages take advantage of reassembled out-of-the-box components to do new things, and both rely on analytics as the glue that holds things together.
But if you also remember a pre-COVID world and feel like coming back to it, you might also remember that it has its own set of challenges that threaten humanity, for example the climate crisis. . They also have a package for that – Salesforce Sustainability Cloud – and it’s based on their platform again.
One thing that I hope to come out of this crisis is accepting the platform as the foundation of everything to do with business applications, and that doesn’t stop with Salesforce. While they’ve done the most to hit the rig drum, there are plenty of other credible rigs out there as well. For example, Oracle and Zoho – and both have behind-the-scenes ads.
To understand the sustainability cloud, it’s helpful first to understand which part of sustainability Salesforce has taken a bite out of, because that’s a big topic.
As someone who has spent years understanding and writing about the issue, it is fair to say that it is a vast, if not massive, subject; and a first attempt to create an app will not solve all the problems.
Sustainability Cloud is best understood as a carbon accounting solution that allows organizations to audit and take action on their carbon emissions more quickly.
It covers a lot; from an organization’s travel and transportation to the use of its raw materials, and packaging helps a business report quickly on its carbon intake and disposition. Kilometers driven and driven, electricity consumed and its production sources, and raw materials such as resins and fuels used in production are all easily counted and converted into emissions by the system.
With this basic information, employees can perform analysis, and managers can take appropriate action regarding consumption or even determine when to buy offsets in the market.
They can also report to clients, investors and regulators on their sustainability efforts. More importantly, with Sustainability Cloud, users can begin to extrapolate future usage and the benefits they can derive from switching to cleaner energy sources – requiring little change in infrastructure and costs.
That’s a lot (and not enough frankly) but above all it’s a start, especially because it gives people visibility into processes that many organizations rarely think about because they don’t have the basic information.
Much remains to be done and the company is taking input from its customers and partners to take the system to the next level. For example, as important as carbon monitoring is, this activity still plays a role in climate protection. We live in a world where there is already too much carbon in the environment, so efforts to slow the process of emissions are not likely to score many hits, and we need hits.
Measure for the future
There is an old Peter Drucker business maxim that says “you can’t handle what you can’t measure”. If you can measure your carbon footprint, there is something you can do. You can take responsibility and buy offsets or plan to transition from higher carbon processes to low carbon ones, and even wean your business off carbon all together.
From my research, I would say that we are going to be stuck in a carbon economy for many decades. I see no credible alternative to carbon-fueled air travel and the myriad uses of fossil fuels in defense. Fossil fuels also serve as raw materials for advanced materials, pharmaceuticals, paints, varnishes, resins and more. With all of this, we need ways to accurately calculate and bring carbon sinks online to prevent the problem from worsening or even reversing some of the damage already done.
At the same time, there is also the very real problem of carbon depletion, running out of raw fossil fuels in the ground. So the trick for the future of the planet is not only to emit less, but also to conserve what we have. Carbon accounting is a key element of both. The first iteration of Sustainability Cloud might seem insignificant, but it sits at the crossroads of many things that come next in the quest for climate fixation.
At some point, we’ll also need apps that tell us what’s left in the ground, how to best use it, and how to replace alternatives. The Salesforce Sustainability Cloud is a good start to all of this, especially since it’s platform-based and includes powerful analytics.
If Drucker was alive today, he could say that if you can imagine a technological solution, you can build it, and that’s a great place to be.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.