– In conversation with Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson & CEO Salesforce India

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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 – In conversation with Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson & CEO Salesforce India

A champion of women’s rights, Chairperson and CEO of Salesforce India, Arundhati was named by Forbes as one of the World’s 25 most powerful women, Fortune listed her in the top 50 globally most powerful women in business and World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, and was the first female chairperson of India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India.

Arundhati is of the belief that the new world or next normal is going to be a forever course of innovation, discovery, unlearning and relearning. As she puts it, at the moment we are in the process of the greatest change that the world has ever seen as compared to the great industrial revolution. In her conversation with Namrata Rana Director Strategy and Brand Futurescape India. Arundhati underlines that Mark Benoif, Founder Salesforce started the business as a platform for change and emphasizes on the urgency to move towards a more sustainable and net zero world.

Namrata: We need to move towards a net zero world do you really think that business can hold ground on this and it’s not just business but policies and, how business transforms to be an instrument of change?

Arundhati: I completely believe in that. And we have tried to live our values through our work. And one of the ways we do that is we have a one by one-by-one policy meaning that we contribute one percent of equity or profits to the non-profit sector everywhere every year, we contribute one percent of our products for the use by non-profit sector, and we contribute one percent of our employees time to doing voluntary work, and I think the last one is most impressive because if you ask me what is most important, it is time.

To hear Arundhati tell it all watch the video for the complete conversation

 We have to act very boldly if we are to keep the 1.5-degree target that we were talking about in Glasgow

But more than that, she says that through all of the other initiatives that we have taken throughout we’ve seen business as a platform for change for instance at the Paris agreement Mark committed that the company would be net zero by 2050.  but in 2017 itself we hit zero operations and started delivering to all our customers a carbon neutral cloud, then in 2019 we included all the emissions from things like business travel and employee commuting and just about two months back we announced that Salesforce is a net zero company. So, we are not waiting for 2030 or 2040 in order to put in our investments we are doing it right now. This year we ‘ve reached 100% renewable energy for our operations and we believe that you know this is something that’s very necessary

Namrata: Manufacturing companies have understood the fact that emissions need to be curtailed but service organizations don’t seem to understand that, they actually have a carbon footprint. How do you feel that this transformation in the services sector can be brought about?

Arundhati: There is this awareness that has to be there, in a way if you look at it,  cloud companies themselves are reducing carbon footprint because running an on-premise-server is not the most efficient way of using a server, a server has to be scoped for the peak load that you’re going to get and if you’re in a public cloud then there is far greater utilization of the server time, than if you have it on prem so a carbon footprint of a cloud implementation is far less than the carbon footprint of on-prem implementation so that itself can sort of separate out how a services company is doing things.

We also need to look at technology very, seriously but the footprint of technology needs to be reduced dramatically so that we actually get the benefits that are needed.  Except that, this entire thing is more a people-based transformation because, it is again a mindset that we are talking about and the mindset has to first accept that there is a problem and unless and until they accept that the problem is not only serious but it’s also immediate you won’t see the type of action that is required to maintain that 1.5-degree goal that we have set.

“We are seeing Climate Change on a daily basis, seeing it in the kind of natural disasters and calamities that are happening, we can’t allow this to go on. You know, we after all need to leave a world which is sustainable for our children and if we don’t take action now it’s going to be very difficult”

As I said awareness, and awareness means people and the appreciation of people about how urgent this is. I think most people understand it. But, they still feel that there is nothing that they themselves need to contribute to, now that needs to go away and maybe, I’m not sure this is the right thing to say but maybe initially it has to be mandated because what doesn’t happen on its own sometimes happens faster if things are mandated for instance how many companies are doing their sustainability reporting in their annual balance sheets,  how do we mandate it, how do we ensure that we have the technology to give the right inputs,  for instance salesforce has a sustainability cloud and a sustainability for companies,  but it does certain limited things it, does your carbon accounting for you but there is so much more to do rather than just carbon accounting.

Then there is the soil and how important it is to maintain the quality of our soil, and of the amount of soil that we are degrading right now, if that rate of degradation goes on then there will come a time when the world will go from being food surplus to food negative. And that is not something that we want to see happen.

There is a lot to be done in a lot many ways if we are looking at sustainability in its true sense and if you are looking at a world that will continue to sustain its population, it needs a broader vision

There are so many ways, in which you know this whole matter can be pushed it is not only the carbon emission it is a way of ensuring that you have a sustainable environment and for that you need participation of one another,  it cannot be done by corporates alone,  it cannot be done by governments alone,  it has to be a point where individuals become aware of how they are sort of contributing to the degradation of the environment in fact  do you know that every single toothbrush that you have used up to date is still there in this world.

That’s an unimaginable kind of situation, how do you pollute the planet in this manner,  so, there is a lot to be done in a lot many ways if we are looking at sustainability in its true sense and if you are looking at a world that will continue to sustain its population, it needs a broader vision,  it is not only each nation for itself,  we have seen during the pandemic how it spread right across the world okay, and no nation fighting on its own can stop it, it has to stop,  by the whole thing being stopped globally.

[author title=”” image=”http://”]- ET Edge Insights[/author]

 

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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