“We need everyone in the tech industry to sign up to 100% renewables,” GCAS urges

21 tech firms have pledged to urgently reduce their emissions by 2020 - and they want you to do the same

Climate change is an inconvenient truth in the tech industry. This week, the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in California saw 21 tech firms, led by Salesforce, pledge to decrease their emissions with Christiana Figueres’ Mission2020 group.

The Step Up Declaration

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said, “We have to have a big tent — including business, governments, NGOs, and activists. Each and every one of us has to step up. Every CEO has to step up. Businesses, companies like mine, can be the leaders in the fight on climate change.”

21 companies including Uber, Bloomberg, HP, and BT signed the aptly named “Step Up Declaration.” The pledge is a dedication to “harnessing the power of emerging technologies and the fourth industrial revolution to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors by 2020.”

Sustainable Salesforce

Patrick Flynn, sustainability director of San Francisco-based CRM company Salesforce, leads the alliance. He said that the 21 signatories have outlined how they intend to diminish their CO2 emissions before 2020.

“The declaration articulates that now is the time where even the leaders have to go further and faster and catalyse change outside their direct operations, upstream into their supply chains, and downstream into the use of their technology,” Flynn said.

Salesforce committed to place a 2022 deadline on its previously announced pledge to use 100% renewable energy. A year ago, the tech giant said it had already achieved carbon-neutrality and was halfway to achieving its 100% target.

In order to do so, the company will enter into virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) for renewable energy. CEO Marc Benioff said that Salesforce had just signed its largest VPPA yet, which is a 15-year agreement for wind energy in Illinois.

BSR’s Future of Internet Power initiative

In addition to the Step Up Declaration, Salesforce is leading another collective of companies towards sustainability. Those who sign up to the Corporate Colocation and Cloud Buyers’ Principles will ideally buy from energy providers that meet a certain criteria.

This includes investing in renewable energy and allowing customers to collaborate on energy efficiency improvements. Moreover, companies should provide monthly data on consumer’s energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

The companies involved are part of BSR’s Future of Internet Power initiative. The scheme is working to power the internet by renewable energy alone.

Tech giants Facebook, eBay, LinkedIn, and Adobe have already signed up to the initiative. The collective insists “Not all electrons are created equal. We want green electricity powering our operations.”

Benioff declared: “We need every company in our industry to commit to net zero plus 100% electricity. It’s all right in front of us. We can do it. Every company can leverage [renewables] right across their supply chain.”