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ESG in Action: How Financial Sponsors & Corporations Can Contribute

By Jill Harrison 04.01.21 Environmental technology concept. Sustainable development goals. SDGs.
Reading time: 2 minutes

In December 2020, I had the pleasure of helping to host our first annual Silverline Capital Markets & Innovation Summit with industry thought leaders from Nasdaq, Refinitiv, Salesforce, Equilar, and more. The goal of our event was to opine on all that happened in 2020 and share our priorities and predictions for the year ahead in the important fields of ESG, data-driven deal sourcing, security & compliance, and innovation management. 

One of Salesforce’s core beliefs is that business is the greatest platform for social change. Driven in large part by the ideology of CEO Marc Benioff, the tech titan issues regular Stakeholder Impact reports and commits itself to realizing the vision of a sustainable future. Their building operations are famously ambitious — their Step Up goal is to realize 100% renewable energy by 2022. Beyond these heady, far-reaching goals, Salesforce has also committed to real hands-on climate action in a way we can all understand: planting more trees.

Investing in Diversity, Ethical AI, and ESG

In September 2020, Salesforce announced a partnership with Plant-for-the-Planet to support global reforestation initiatives and plant 100 million trees by the end of 2030. As a founding member of the Trillion Tree project at 1t.org, Salesforce has committed significant time, resources, and their technology to power this change. Eighteen months ago, I was introduced to  Plant-for-the-Planet founder Felix Finkbeiner and CTO Sagar Aryal through Salesforce. While Silverline and Salesforce have partnered for a decade on some incredible volunteer projects through our Silverline Cares program, I knew this was going to be something special. These brilliant young leaders are changing the world, and it’s our job to help however we can.

I was honored to host this Innovation Summit session as an intersectional discussion about the role of diversity & inclusion in VC & PE, how intentional sponsorship leads to greater ESG impact, and how firms can respond to the environmental call to action we so desperately need. Joining me for the discussion were these incredible individuals: 

Here’s the full discussion, on demand.

The discussion was nuanced, rich, and far-reaching —  including insights about how Tessera Venture Partners’ commitment to diversity has led to unicorn valuations, how Salesforce’s AI research sets intentional goals of creating equity and reducing bias, and how an ESG-first mindset can shape the entire product development lifecycle. 

My personal highlight? Sagar took us on a tour of the amazing Tree Planting app he and his team have built, which is helping Salesforce track and measure their progress to plant 100 million trees

Curious how your organization can get involved with the call to environmental action and increase our return on impact? We’d be thrilled to put you in touch or help integrate their app into your product or processes. Send us a note today!

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