Salesforce makes $25m investment pledge for carbon removal technologies

The business has made a $25m commitment to back CDR through the Frontier initiative, which was founded two years ago to help CDR innovators scale their operations by providing long-term, large-scale offtake agreements.

Other members of Frontier include Meta, Shopify, Stripe, McKinsey & Company and Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc.

Frontier aggregates demand for CDR credits and is, at present, focused on deals that will see credits changing hands this decade. The initiative also conducts due diligence processes in partnership with external advisors and reviewers, assessing whether carbon removal claims are accurate and whether CDR innovators “actively mitigate negative externalities on an ongoing basis”.

Salesforce first stated an ambition to invest $100m in CDR back in 2022. The firm is a member of the First Movers Coalition – a global initiative leveraging corporate purchasing power to help scale nascent technologies that help to address global heating. Almost 100 businesses participate in the Coalition.

A statement from Salesforce stipulates that its Frontier-enabled CDR investments will only support technologies that “store carbon for more than 1,000 years, have a path to affordability at scale, and avoid competing for arable land”.

Salesforce announced it had become a net-zero business across its value chain back in 2021 by following a three-step, iterative process: avoid, reduce, offset.

The firm will need to reduce its reliance on offsetting to meet its verified science-based targets. These entail halving Scope 1 (direct) and 2 (power-related) emissions by 2030, against a 2018 baseline; halving Scope 3 (indirect) emissions from fuel and energy activities within the same timescale and supporting suppliers representing 60% of Scope 3 emissions to set their own targets in line with climate science by the end of 2024.

Bennetts Associates

In related news, British architectural practice Bennetts Associates has committed to purchase 50 metric tonnes of CDR credits generated by enhancing soil carbon sequestration.

The credits will be generated by UK-based scale-up Restord Ltd. Restord will take residual biomass and use it to produce biochar at a facility in Cornwall. This process involves heating the biomass in the absence of oxygen. Biochar can then be applied to farmland, enhancing the ability of the soil to sequester carbon.

Bennetts Associates’ total CDR purchase agreement with Restord totals £10,000. It should receive half of its credits by the end of this year, and the remaining half in early 2025. Third-party measurement, reporting and verification will be sought.

2024 marks Bennetts Associates’ third year of buying CDR credits.

Restord founder Tom Previte said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Bennetts Associates as our first customer. Their support is more than a pre-purchase, it’s catalytic funding that’s helping get our project up and running in the UK.”

Bennetts Associates’ director Peter Fisher added: “We feel that this partnership represents a major step towards UK carbon removal solutions and underscores our dedication towards net-zero carbon.

“Operating in the built environment we see many potential benefits and synergies with CDR. Academics speculate that biochar could be a useful additive to construction material. This is something we’re keen to experiment with further, to see if biochar can be used within the earth blocks we’ve been pioneering.”

Bennetts Associates has set a net-zero target using the Science-Based Targets Initiative’s (SBTi) streamlined target validation route for SMEs. It is aiming to reduce emissions across all scopes by 90% by 2040, against a 2018 baseline. Interim commitments entail halving Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 against the same baseline.

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    I see a lot of business activity, but rarely the science behind it.
    As a scientist, chemist, this leaves me a little wary of the whole business, and to suspect that the emphasis is upon “business”, leaving the science and technology as an addendum.
    I hope I am wrong, please help!!!!

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