Salesforce, a leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform, has recently introduced the SASB Report Builder to its Net Zero Cloud. This Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering is a comprehensive environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) data management and reporting platform. The new addition enables Net Zero Cloud customers to automate the disclosure of SASB-compliant data, specifically tailored to industry-specific metrics such as hardware environmental footprint, supply chain labor conditions, and data privacy.
The SASB Standards Board, a non-profit organization focused on normalizing ESG reporting, has stated that over 600 companies in the S&P Global 1200 Index utilize the SASB Standards. These standards facilitate the disclosure of data related to potential sustainability risks and opportunities that may impact cash flows, access to finance, and capital costs over the short, medium, and long term.
SASB Standards encompass 77 industries, including e-commerce, software and IT services, cars, and real estate. While Salesforce's SASB Report Builder currently offers templates for 14 sectors, the company plans to expand its coverage to include more industries such as consumer products, financials, services, technology, and communications.
Furthermore, Ari Alexander, the general manager for Net Zero Cloud and Marketplace at Salesforce, emphasizes the importance of simplifying sustainability reporting in a complex regulatory landscape. As compliance requirements continue to grow, ESG reporting has gained significant attention. However, once organizations comprehend the importance of these numbers, there is often a significant amount of work involved in meeting reporting obligations.
The SASB Report Builder is the third reporting template within Net Zero Cloud's Disclosure and Compliance Hub. The platform already incorporates templates for the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Global Reporting Initiative. Later in the year, Salesforce plans to introduce a fourth template based on European Sustainability Reporting Standards and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. These templates aim to automate reporting processes for various criteria, making it easier for organizations to meet their sustainability reporting obligations.
Customers, suppliers, employees, and investors are increasingly exerting pressure on companies to disclose sustainability information. Moreover, organizations are facing regulatory requirements and the risk of financial penalties for noncompliance. Compliance with international boards and government authorities further complicates sustainability reporting.
Alexander acknowledges the challenge faced by companies, describing it as an "acronym soup of expectations and possibilities." Employees often spend significant time completing extensive questionnaires related to these requirements. As a result, organizations are seeking ways to simplify the reporting process.
Additionally, Industry analysts have praised Salesforce's efforts to democratize carbon accounting through its Net Zero Cloud product. By providing a user-friendly SaaS platform and offering data collection and automated reporting on templates, Salesforce aims to simplify the quantification of carbon footprints and link this data to financial key performance indicators (KPIs). However, some experts highlight the need for Salesforce to expand its coverage of industrial sectors to avoid alienating customers in industries not currently addressed.
Salesforce recognizes that Net Zero Cloud is still evolving and will require further development to become a comprehensive sustainability reporting platform. As the company continues to add templates and gain insights from client engagements, the platform's functionality will improve. This is especially important as organizations begin reporting Scope 3 emissions, which encompass all emissions across an organization's value chain, including those from suppliers.
The move towards reporting Scope 3 emissions is particularly significant for smaller companies, as they can be affected by emissions from partners and suppliers in their value chain. This motivation to comply with reporting obligations is driving the demand for accessible and efficient carbon accounting solutions.
While there is room for expansion and improvement, Salesforce's efforts to democratize carbon accounting and simplify sustainability reporting are commendable steps towards a more sustainable future.