At a time of huge disruption, how can businesses ensure they continue on the most sustainable footing? Which-50 interviewed Salesforce ANZ CEO Pip Marlow who said the bushfire crisis and coronavirus pandemic have forced deeper consideration of sustainability measures. 

“Sustainability has never been a more important lens for viewing how we operate globally and in ANZ. We have always looked at how we contribute in this way, and on the back of the recent fires and now in the face of COVID-19 we are taking an even deeper look at how we respond and adapt,” Marlow said. 

“For me right now it’s about asking myself, ‘how can we help customers and our people work smarter and work better given this new context we are operating in?’ For us, to answer that question, we also have to have a good look at how we are adapting ourselves.”

Pip Marlow, Salesforce
Pip Marlow, CEO, Salesforce ANZ

For example, Salesforce recently extended its volunteer time-off programs. Employees can now use up to 27 volunteer workdays, up from the original seven days, to donate their time to help support bushfire recovery.

“I feel really passionate about our employees coming together to give back— it demonstrates that our business is willing to walk its talk on its values – and that’s appealing and empowering to customers and employees alike.”

Marlow noted that a sustainable business model requires thinking about the bigger picture, which means considering all stakeholders — employees, customers, community and the planet. 

“[This] is the key mindset behind businesses not only doing well, but doing good for the world.”

During Salesforce’s virtual world tour last month — a 10,000 in-person event which was switched to a virtual event in just 10 days — the company outlined the six Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations it is focusing on in Australia and New Zealand.

  • Salesforce’s quality education program has donated more than $90 million to support schools around country;
  • Committing to 100 per cent renewable energy use by 2022;
  • Sustainable cities program which includes the launch of our new Salesforce Tower in Sydney;
  • A $10 million equal pay initiative as part of a gender equality program;
  • The creation of more than 1,000 new jobs as part of Salesforce’s decent work strategy;
  • A climate action program which includes increasing use of more renewable materials.

Company Culture 

Marlow, who joined the CRM company in October 2019, said when she was exploring the potential of working for Salesforce she spent most of her time considering the company’s culture: the set of values that binds it as a team. 

“I knew it was a strong company, great products, that was easy to see. I wanted to however be sure about the culture and was it one where I could do my best work. It wouldn’t make the company bad if the culture wasn’t for me, there are many types of successful cultures, but the older I have got the clearer I am on what brings out the best in me.” 

“I firmly believe that businesses need to be centred around culture. Culture has its foundations built on a set of values, and a common set of values is what binds us as a team. In clearly articulating your culture and being clear of the standards you are expecting people to have around your values the better it is for your people. When it comes to recruiting that clarity allows you to attract the type of employees who want to work in these ways.”

Leaders must spearhead these values within their organisation and working with other brands and organisations to tackle these issues.

“It’s critical they’re making sure their company is bringing the values to life, not just listing them on the website or annual reports.” 

“It’s only together can we create a better model that benefits all stakeholders – including our shareholders, communities, future generations, and the planet. Businesses need to play a vital role in improving our society and being truly committed to creating a more equal and sustainable future.” 

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