Marc and Lynne Benioff, Salesforce donate $300M to encourage climate action

Marc and Lynne Benioff announced a $200 million donation this morning to combat climate change and encourage others to take action. Marc Benioff’s company, Salesforce, threw in $100 million more for a total donation of $300 million.

The Benioffs’ portion is divided into two tranches, with $100 million going to the Benioff Time Tree Fund and the other $100 million going to Time Ventures, the couple’s venture firm, to invest in promising startups working to build products and services that battle climate change.

“The Benioff Time Tree Fund will focus on indigenous and community-based forest management and mitigating the increasing impacts of climate change on the most at-risk communities and natural ecosystems in emerging and developing countries,” the organization said in a statement.

Marc Benioff said that it’s going to take a concerted and combined effort by various constituencies to fight climate change, and tree-planting efforts are a big part of that.

“We can succeed in arresting climate change if every government, company and individual makes it a priority to protect and preserve our planet. We have to sequester 100 gigatons of carbon and reforestation is critical in making it happen,” he said.

In addition, the Time Ventures component plans to invest $100 million in eco-focused startups. This comes on top of another $100 million the couple’s firm has invested since 2014 in companies like DroneSeed, Loam Bio and Mango Materials, according to the firm.

Salesforce has already stated that it has achieved Net Zero and announced commitments to grow 30 million trees this year at Dreamforce, the company’s customer conference, in September. This additional $100 million is being distributed to several initiatives, including grants over the next decade to help nonprofit organizations working in areas like ecosystem restoration and climate justice. Furthermore, the company plans to donate technology and commit to 2.5 million in volunteer hours at organizations working on climate action.

Suzanne DiBianca, chief impact officer at Salesforce, said that the company’s actions to achieve Net Zero is a first step, but the additional money is aimed at helping other groups.

“We want to empower those who are working to accelerate climate action and help those who are most impacted by climate change. We need bold and urgent action if we are to reduce emissions and deliver a healthier, more resilient, Net Zero world,” she said.

The company has achieved Net Zero emissions through a combination of using renewable energy and purchasing carbon offsets when that’s not an option.