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Upskilling the Workforce for a Sustainable Future

Sanket Atal

May 26, 2023

Even as a child, I was conscious of my habits and their consequences on my immediate environment. But, I also witnessed varying attitudes toward the environment growing up around the world — from Thailand to the United States to India.


Today, sustainability is a global imperative for all of us, including corporate organizations. (In fact, here at Salesforce, sustainability is one of our core values!) As the Site Lead for Salesforce India Operations, I have a personal responsibility to help us be more sustainable.


However, per the Salesforce Sustainability Talent Gap 2022 Report, the lack of sustainability-aligned talent is the biggest barrier to a carbon-free economy. The good news? Employees are aware of this challenge — and 67% of employees are keen to integrate sustainability into their existing roles. 


By investing in sustainability training and upskilling, businesses can get qualified candidates for difficult-to-fill positions — while employees can work on causes they’re passionate about. Yep: it’s a win-win.


“Over 8 in 10 global workers want to help their company operate sustainably.”



Engaging Employees with Sustainability Initiatives

Here are 4 key steps we can all take for a more sustainable future:


1. Acknowledge the role of all individuals in addressing the climate crisis: Sustainability goals should not be limited to leadership or a single team — instead, organisations must build frameworks to align individual employee roles to sustainability. For instance, members of a Rewards and Recognition committee should consider the sustainability of the gifts they hand out.

It also helps for organizations to have structures in place to deliver on net zero goals. Here at Salesforce, we have an integrated philanthropic approach: the 1-1-1 model. We ensure that 1% of our equity, 1% of our product, and 1% of our time is used to positively impact the communities around us — including the environment. This model allows each employee to realise the power they possess to make a difference.

2. Empower employees with the right platforms, tools, and training: While we’re still determining how traditional roles can be redesigned to include sustainability-focused KRAs (Key Responsibility Areas), it’s vital to explore all possibilities through powerful platforms, tools, and training. For instance, organisations can leverage Salesforce Trailhead, which offers a series of modules on sustainability that allow employees to get self-trained in areas that appeal to them.

In addition, employees need to understand their individual and corporate impact on the environment. Using tools that simplify measuring carbon footprint — such as Salesforce Net Zero Cloud — can help users understand every activity and decision’s impact.In addition, employees should be empowered to find communities of like-minded allies for the environment. At Salesforce India, we have a local chapter of Earthforce — a global employee group focused on driving sustainability.

“88% of employees believe there is little investment in sustainability training.”


Sanket and others at a lake reservoir smile.
Sanket Atal at a Lake restoration project with his team

3. Harness the growing relevance of sustainability-focused roles: Sustainability-focused roles are here to stay and grow, and organisations must look at hiring sustainability experts as a critical investment. These experts can drive and accelerate the creation of a “green” framework – including defining KRAs to focus on green efforts. For instance, a Carbon Accountant can help drive transformation that unlocks growth.

At Salesforce, we have a Chief Impact Officer who is the global leader overseeing all our impact efforts, including sustainability. Additionally, all Salesforce senior leaders have ESG (that’s Environmental, Social, and Governance) goals integrated into their annual planning. The idea is to have talent aligned to sustainability at all levels.

People smile on stage at the Salesforce Run.

Seizing the Talent Alignment Opportunity

A sustainable future calls for organisations to enhance employees’ skill sets, transform mindsets, and provide the right environment. This is key to ensuring that employees are not just equipped to make an impact, but inspired and empowered to unlock long-term growth.


At Salesforce, we’re working toward a more sustainable future — helping to build and inspire the communities around us. Our Trailblazer community in India is committed to the cause; will you join us?



Are you looking to diversify your skill set and take your career to the next level? Join the Salesforce Talent Community to stay connected with us for the latest news, events, and open opportunities.