Salesforce also offered tips about right-sizing generative AI and granted $2 million to AI nonprofit contest winners.
Salesforce is adding environmental, social and governance report writing and other features to Net Zero Cloud, a tool to help companies reach environmental sustainability goals. Plus, six nonprofits will receive funding for social impact driven by generative AI, Salesforce announced at the Dreamforce event held in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Net Zero Cloud aims to make ESG reporting easier
Einstein AI generative writing features are coming to Salesforce’s sustainability solution Net Zero Cloud in spring 2024, the company announced at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.
SEE: What is ESG, and why does it matter? (TechRepublic)
“Equipped with Einstein, Net Zero Cloud will help simplify the process of reporting ESG data, offering a valuable solution that any company can leverage towards achieving net zero,” said Ari Alexander, vice president and general manager of Net Zero Cloud at Salesforce, in a press release.
Net Zero Cloud can generate reports for environmental impact across scopes 1, 2 and 3 and for social and governance metrics, as well as reports aligned to standards including the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, CDP Worldwide, the Global Reporting Initiative and the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.
CSRD Report Builder and Materiality Assessment feature
Einstein has been trained on specific reporting requirements and will suggest responses accordingly.
The EU’s CSRD, which goes into effect for certain companies in 2024, will require companies to disclose scope 3 emissions, climate-related financial risks and societal impacts. Net Zero Cloud’s CSRD Report Builder automatically creates the type of reports the directive mandates.
SEE: Artificial Intelligence: Cheat Sheet (TechRepublic)
A Materiality Assessment tool fulfills another requirement of CSRD: the “double materiality” assessment. With it, companies can rank the ESG topics that are most important to their company and stakeholders and present the results as scores.
The CSRD Report Builder and Materiality Assessment feature are expected to be available globally in October 2023.
Making up for the energy drain of generative AI
Customers are aware that generative AI takes an enormous amount of electricity to run, Sunya Norman, vice president of ESG strategy and engagement at Salesforce, said during a press briefing in advance of Dreamforce. Therefore, Norman advises companies to do the following in addition to adhering to the guidelines Net Zero Cloud assists with:
- Right-size their AI models.
- Use data centers powered by clean energy.
- Use efficient hardware.
- Look into green code as well as using Einstein for reporting. Green code is Salesforce’s term for the practice of building sustainability into software development, system architecture and other technological development.
Winners announced for $2 million AI for Impact Accelerator
The six nonprofit organizations that will receive prize money from Salesforce’s AI for Impact Accelerator initiative to use generative AI for social good are Beyond 12, CareerVillage.org, CodePath.org, College Possible, Per Scholas and the Teacher Development Trust. CareerVillage.org has a global scope; the Teacher Development Trust is based in the U.K.; and the rest of the nonprofits are based in the U.S.
- Beyond12 will use AI to discover and customize content from college websites to help students from under-resourced communities graduate.
- CareerVillage.org runs an AI “career coach” that offers personalized advice.
- CodePath.org wants to scale its internal AI applications, including AI “coworkers” and a streamlined data terminal.
- College Possible will use an AI-driven platform to provide custom recommendations to coaches helping students from under-served communities.
- Per Scholas will leverage generative AI to help students write resumes and cover letters for the tech industry.
- The Teacher Development Trust plans to coach teachers using AI-generated role-playing scenarios.
The $2 million AI for Impact Accelerator prize money will be distributed across these organizations. In addition, each organization will receive a 24-month contract for donated Salesforce products, six months of coaching from Salesforce personnel and one-on-one coaching for 12 months.
“Our latest accelerator aims to empower participants to push the boundaries of innovation and drive forward AI-focused solutions that better serve their communities,” said Becky Ferguson, chief executive officer of the Salesforce Foundation and senior vice president of philanthropy at Salesforce, in a press release.