Salesforce Accelerates Fight Against Climate Change with New Trees, Oceans, and Youth Programs

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New tree equity and global urban reforestation initiative engages youth and ecopreneurs to grow urban forests and green cities across Canada, Europe, India, South Africa, and the United States;

The company also announced a blue carbon program and a goal to purchase 1 million tons of blue carbon credits over four years

Suzanne DiBianca, Salesforce

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Just ahead of COP26, the UN climate change conference in Glasgow, Salesforce has announced two new, natural climate solutions: a global tree equity and urban reforestation initiative in partnership with American Forests, One Tree Planted, and SUGi; and a blue carbon program to protect and restore oceans and coastal ecosystems.

In addition, Marc and Lynne Benioff and Salesforce announced a $300 million investment to accelerate 1T.org — a global movement to restore, conserve and grow one trillion trees by 2030—and advance climate justice initiatives.

 Tree equity is defined as having enough trees and green canopy in a specific area or region so everyone can experience the health, climate, and economic benefits that trees provide. Neighborhoods lacking in trees can be 5 to 7 degrees hotter, and some as much as 22 degrees hotter than neighborhoods with sufficient tree cover. 

Salesforce’s tree equity and urban reforestation initiative aims to mobilize and engage ecopreneurs, local organizations and volunteers, including Salesforce employees, in cities across Canada, Europe, India, South Africa, and the United States with limited access to green spaces. 

“Trees are one of the most powerful green infrastructure solutions we have to fight climate change, advance equity, and create tangible benefits for all people,” said Suzanne DiBianca, EVP Corporate Relations and Chief Impact Officer, Salesforce. “We’re proud to apply our resources to make cities greener and healthier for vulnerable communities around the world, help reduce absolute emissions, and support ecopreneurs who are creating innovative solutions to advance climate justice.”

“In partnership with bold leaders like Salesforce, we are beginning to right this wrong,” said Jad Daley, president and chief executive officer of American Forests. “Through our tool, Tree Equity Score, we can identify the neighborhoods with vulnerable populations that need trees the most. This creates a roadmap for public and private investment for tree planting and protection in places that urgently need the benefits trees provide.”

Salesforce’s investments in nature solutions like trees and oceans, help deliver on the company’s goal to conserve, restore and grow 100 million trees by 2030, and builds on our Net Zero and other climate strategies to reduce emissions as outlined in our Climate Action Plan. 

Tree equity initiative focuses on climate justice and curbing climate change

Trees are a powerful infrastructure solution — they help cool air temperatures, can create jobs, and are incredible purifiers that extract carbon from the air. Projects will start this year through the end of 2022:

  • Canada: Working with four local schools, youth will learn about the historical roots of environmental justice and how trees are a solution for creating equity; and plant 720 large trees around the Claireville Dam Restoration Site in Toronto. 
  • Europe: Summers in Europe are becoming increasingly hot due to climate change. Microforests will be established in Paris, Glasgow, and London. With the goal of 10,000+ trees, the project will engage youth and volunteers in planting events, including an ultra-biodiverse microforest in Paris that features over 24 native tree species. 
  • India: With the goal of planting 5,000 trees across Delhi, this project focuses on youth engagement at schools with hands-on tree planting events and in-classroom learning to inspire a new generation of ecopreneurs. 
  • South Africa: This ecopreneurship project will create one centralized school-based tree nursery and engage students in planting 5,000+ trees on school campuses across Johannesburg. Students will learn about the nursery business model and how to plant and grow trees in a changing climate. 
  • United States: Efforts will focus in Dallas, TX; Phoenix, AZ; and, Pawtucket and Central Falls, Rhode Island — areas with low tree canopy that are experiencing extreme heat — and plant more than 1,700 trees across underserved communities.

Since announcing our goal of 100 million trees in 2020, Salesforce has funded more than 43 million trees in less than two years.

 Salesforce envisions pathway for blue carbon market and mobilizes ecopreneurs

As part of Salesforce’s commitment to oceans, we’re launching a blue carbon program to conserve, protect, and restore coastal and marine ecosystems. This initiative will help develop the nascent blue carbon market, and includes a goal to purchase 1 million tons of high-quality blue carbon credits, equivalent to more than $10 million USD, over the next four years.

More than 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods, and 80% of global fish populations depend on healthy mangrove ecosystems in order to thrive. Mangroves also provide more than $80 billion in flood protection benefits annually by stabilizing shorelines, preventing erosion, and protecting the land and people from sea level rise and extreme weather events. 

“Mangroves and other coastal and marine ecosystems are critical in the fight against climate change, and we need to do everything in our power to protect them,” said Dr. Whitney Johnston Ph.D., Director of Ocean Sustainability at Salesforce. “We are launching a blue carbon program at a time when it’s most critical for our planet. Coastal and ocean ecosystems deliver an outsized benefit in protecting our communities and marine life, they create jobs, and are essential for sustenance for millions of people around the world.”  

Key actions of Salesforce’s blue carbon program 

Salesforce’s blue carbon program delivers on the company values and goals of equality and climate justice, carbon sequestration, and supporting ecopreneurs by focusing on these key areas:

  • Blue carbon market: Working through the Business Alliance to Scale Climate Solutions, we aim to mobilize, educate, and coordinate corporate buyers to conserve and restore blue carbon ecosystems through voluntary carbon markets. This work focuses on scaling the supply of high-quality blue carbon credits by improving policy and advancing equitable access to global carbon markets by local and indigenous communities.
  • Policy: Nature plays a critical role in combating climate change, and that is why we support the coastal resilience and restoration investments proposed in the reconciliation package. As climate change and sea-level rise accelerate, extreme weather events are becoming more intense and frequent. We need policies in place that support robust investments in coastal restoration and resilience projects that protect communities, help sequester carbon, and also create good paying jobs. 
  • Ecopreneurs: Mobilizing ecopreneurs around the world through platforms like UpLink. UpLink’s challenges like the Ocean Finance, and the Blue Carbon Challenge launching at COP26, focus on mobilizing the right financing mechanisms for a sustainable management of the ocean. These are examples of how we can drive forward innovative ideas to grow the blue carbon market.

“It’s time to forge a new relationship with the ocean — one in which effective ocean protection and sustainable economic production and equitable prosperity go hand-in-hand,” said Kristian Teleki, Global Director, Ocean Programme, World Resources Institute and Director, Friends of Ocean Action, World Economic Forum. “I’m excited to see Salesforce demonstrate bold leadership by launching this new ocean sustainability program. This is precisely the type of transformative action and leadership we need to see more of from the business world.” 

Mangroves are an important part of that effort. Salesforce has partnered with One Tree Planted to restore, conserve and grow 148,000 mangrove trees in the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. The project starts in the highland forests of the Talamanca Mountains, and extends through lowland tropical forests and grasslands, to coastal mangroves. The restoration work on land ultimately delivers improved water quality for the coral reefs in the sea. The ‘ridge-to-reef’ ecosystem connectivity enables species to adapt to climate change over time, and demonstrates a climate-forward, holistic conservation approach from land to sea.

Initiatives like these demonstrate how forests, communities and the ocean around the world are each interconnected, and that protecting them is paramount as we face the climate crisis. Everyone — governments, investors, businesses, individuals — must step up to this massive challenge and work together, today, to take action on climate. 

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