Why Salesforce has Joined US$1bn Carbon Removal Scheme

The Salesforce HQ in New York
Tech giant Salesforce is the latest big recruit to Frontier, an advance market commitment by Meta, McKinsey and others to buy US$1bn of carbon removal

Salesforce has joined the likes of Meta, McKinsey & Co and Alphabet in a scheme that aims to buy at least US$1bn of carbon removal by 2030.

The tech company is committing US$25m to Frontier – an advance market commitment founded by the businesses alongside Stripe and Shopify.

Salesforce said: “Through this membership, Salesforce will commit US$25m to accelerate, scale, and commercialise the most promising carbon removal technologies.”

The four other lead members are Autodesk, H&M Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Workday.

Jamila Yamani, Salesforce's Lead for Carbon Removal

Why has Salesforce got on board?

Jamila Yamani, Salesforce's lead for carbon removal, explained the urgent need for the carbon removal industry to grow.

Jamila said: "This industry needs to scale. It needs investment early on, so that the technologies that we're seeing today can be accelerated, and can be commercially available to all buyers by 2030 and later.”

She added: "We really see corporate procurements as a way to kind of catalyse a new renewable energy market because we're going to need clean electricity available to us all over the world, not limited to the United States.”

Salesforce has also contracted with Qualitas Energy, a leading global platform for investment, management and development of renewable energy, to expand its renewable energy portfolio with a new 27-megawatt (MW) solar portfolio in Italy.

It said: “This marks the first European virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for Salesforce, and will help to uphold the company’s 100% renewable energy commitment.”

Salesforce also announced US$3.95m in new unrestricted philanthropic grants to seven organisations focused on advancing clean energy solutions.

Frontier's impact so far.

Why does it matter?

Salesforce explained that, in order to avoid the harshest effects of climate change and stay on track for 1.5C, it “will not be sufficient to reduce emissions”.

It added that:

  • 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.
A melting iceberg

Maximising impact

Frontier, a wholly owned subsidiary of fintech company Stripe, is designed to accelerate the development of carbon removal technology by providing a market for it.

While companies could sign their own deals with carbon offset start-ups, the feeling is that, by pooling their resources, they send a louder message to the market.

Salesforce’s US$25m commitment will amplify the sound.

The company said: “By joining Frontier, Salesforce is actively working to fulfil its FMC commitment to contract for US$100m in CO2 removal solutions. 

“Frontier’s team of experts will facilitate US$25m of purchases from promising, early-stage carbon removal companies on behalf of Salesforce, focusing on solutions that store carbon for more than 1,000 years, have a path to affordability at scale and avoid competing for arable land.”

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Sustainability squared

For Salesforce, carbon removal is one component of its overall climate change mitigation strategy.

Jamila said Salesforce also focuses on grid decarbonisation, nature restoration, sustainable aviation, decentralised renewable energy and more.

It has also committed to cutting its absolute emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and to "near zero by 2040," Yamani says.

"It's an all of the above moment where we're leveraging all of the tools that we have to build a portfolio that can help decarbonise the planet. It's not a one silver bullet approach, and it's never meant to be.”

Solar panels

Solar power play

Salesforce’s 15-year VPPA with Qualitas Energy will deliver a new solar portfolio across six Italian regions.

Key points include:

  • It is expected to generate enough electricity to power over 4,200 homes annually and save over 21,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year, with the projects coming online in 2024 and early 2025
  • As part of the contract, Qualitas Energy will deploy approximately 400,000 Euros to a community fund to support municipal projects and NGOs
  • Identified municipal projects are based on community needs and include activities such as the requalification of urban trees and the regeneration of parks, green areas, and bike paths.

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