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People 'n' Issues

Make every role a sustainability role

All businesses must accept that no one is spared from climate change, writes LINDA SAUNDERS, Salesforce director of Solutions Engineering Africa.

The increasing frequency and unpredictability of extreme weather events demonstrate that no one is spared from climate change. To help mitigate this crisis our planet urgently needs smart solutions. Every organisation, government and individual have a role to play.

For companies, their brand, reputation, and financial position all depend on having tangible climate action plans.

To avoid the most severe effects of climate change and ensure critical climate goals stay on track for a 1.5-degree future, it will not be sufficient to reduce emissions. 

Large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO₂) currently present in the atmosphere and oceans must be removed. Public and private entities need to make investments to scale and deploy clean energy technologies like renewable energy. 

Everyone must support organisations at the forefront of the clean energy transition so all communities can thrive economically and environmentally.

Salesforce has signed three major climate investments to accelerate a just energy transition. The company has joined Frontier, an advance market commitment (AMC) to collectively buy more than $1-billion of permanent carbon removal by 2030.

Through this membership, Salesforce will commit $25-million to accelerate, scale, and commercialise the most promising carbon removal technologies.

Combining long-term strategy with short-term action

The first priority in their net zero journey must be to reduce emissions. Each organisation should set a 1.5 C goal aligned with science-based targets while focusing on deeply reducing its absolute scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

However, reaching these targets is dependent on long-term systemic changes that will take time to perfect. Companies therefore need solutions today that can have a more immediate impact whilst they work towards their long-term emission reduction goals.

Investing in high-quality carbon credits – when made and used well – can play a critical role in an organisation’s comprehensive climate strategy. Businesses aiming to achieve long-term emission reductions can complement their efforts with high-quality carbon credits. Projects can include forest conservation, tree planting, wind farms, solar cookstoves, or better farming methods.

Closing the sustainability talent gap

To reach a net zero future all roles should be sustainability roles. We’re going to need an army of qualified individuals working together – from carbon accountants to scientists to ecopreneurs. Yet despite both good intentions and pressure to meet ambitious climate goals, businesses are facing a severe shortage of sustainability talent available to help meet their commitments.

By upskilling existing workers who want to make the jump into sustainability careers, companies can source talent for hard-to-fill roles, while helping employees work towards something they’re passionate about.

Understanding personal and corporate sustainability

As sustainability continues to stay at the forefront of stakeholders’ minds, it’s imperative that business leaders combine short term solutions with long term changes to how they operate.

Through re-evaluating how to create sustainability roles, hire and retain sustainability talent – by providing the right tools and training – they can ensure everyone can become part of the movement towards a net zero future.

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