This week, join host Chris Adams in a conversation with Tereze Gaile, global Sustainability SME at MuleSoft, a Salesforce company. Together they cover topics in sustainability from her organic sustainability role at MuleSoft, to various tools that are available to aid in the decarbonization of software. They touch on resources to help you learn important concepts and skills, how to bring sustainability into an organization, and much more on this episode of TWiGS.
This week, join host Chris Adams in a conversation with Tereze Gaile, global Sustainability SME at MuleSoft, a Salesforce company. Together they cover topics in sustainability from her organic sustainability role at MuleSoft, to various tools that are available to aid in the decarbonization of software. They touch on resources to help you learn important concepts and skills, how to bring sustainability into an organization, and much more on this episode of TWiGS.
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Tereze Gaile: Sometimes, the challenge is not that they don't care necessarily, but that they have multiple conflicting priorities. And I've seen this time and time again, especially when we look at today, there's a cost of living crisis, and if an organization's bottom line is taking a hit as well, sustainability can be a really hard sell.
Chris Adams: Hello, and welcome to Environment Variables, brought to you by the Green Software Foundation. On our show, you can expect candid conversations with top experts in their field who have a passion for how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of software. I'm your host, Chris Adams. Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Week in Green Software, where we bring you the latest news and updates from the world of sustainable software development. I'm your host, Chris Adams. We like talking about green software on this podcast, but for many people working on the day to day, if you're not already in a specialized team and there isn't explicit buy-in from management yet, it's not obvious where to start if you want to see more sustainable practices incorporated into how you build software. Sometimes, it's helpful to hear from someone who's been on that journey already, to float those ideas, get buy in from higher up, and then get some time and money dedicated to figuring out how to do green software inside their organization, especially when they haven't been brought in, uh, with an explicit mandate to set up a green software practice, for example. So in this episode, that's what we're doing with our guest, Tereze Gaile at MuleSoft. Hi, Tereze
Tereze Gaile: hi Chris, very happy to be here and excited for our conversation. Thank you for the opportunity.
Chris Adams: You're welcome, Tereze okay. So Tereze, when we first spoke, I have to confess, I'd heard of Salesforce and I think most people working in tech have heard of that company, but I didn't, didn't know that much about MuleSoft and I didn't quite understand the relationship between the two. So for the uninitiated, would you take a moment to introduce yourself, just briefly outline this relationship between the two and give a bit of background about what you do there, please?
Tereze Gaile: It would be my pleasure. First of all, my name is Tereze Gaile, and I'm a technical architect at MuleSoft, a Salesforce company. I'm also MuleSoft's global sustainability champion slash subject matter expert, but more on this later. First, let's start with a little story. to get a better understanding on Salesforce and MuleSoft and how they are connected.
So Salesforce was founded in 1999 and its core product back then was Salesforce CRM or Customer Relationship Management and its vision in a nutshell was to be a world class internet company for Salesforce Automation, hence why the name. Since then, Salesforce has acquired quite a large number of organizations and a vision has evolved to include AI, data, and CRM.
So some of Salesforce's acquisitions include companies that you might have heard of, so like Tableau, Slack, and also MuleSoft, with the latter being acquired in 2018. And MuleSoft is essentially a product or integration platform as a service. Which means you can use our platform to design, build, and manage your APIs and integrations.
But something that's quite interesting is it actually started as an open source project. Back then, it was just a Java-based Mule enterprise service bus. But of course, over time, we have evolved, keeping in tune with Salesforce's own evolution. And also, we do have capability around logic process automation. At this point, maybe you're wondering why we are called MuleSoft.
It seems like a slightly name. Well, back then, data integration used to be very manual, painful process with a lot of configuring of how to connect with different components. And the core idea behind the software itself was how do you take the donkey work out of that? So hence why we're called MuleSoft.
Chris Adams: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for finally making sense of that because I really didn't understand where mule came from. But now mule is in the same place as my head as say yak shaving and stuff like that. Stuff I want to get done but might not be that much fun to do myself. Okay, great. And so last week we spoke to a Kiwi who had moved from New Zealand to Denmark, Tony van Swet from Electricity Maps. Now, as I understand it, it's the other way around. So I'm speaking to you from Berlin to, I believe, was it Wellington in New Zealand? But you started out in Europe, right?
Tereze Gaile: That's right. I was born in Latvia, but when I was seven years old, we moved over to the UK. As you can probably tell by my accent as well, I spent majority of my time in the UK. So I went through the school system. I studied aeronautical engineering at Imperial College London, and I also started my career in London too working at companies like, uh, Deloitte Consulting. Relatively recently, so 15 months ago or so, I moved to New Zealand. So yes, now I am based in the windiest little capital in the world, wellington in New Zealand, a-Tara. And it probably explains why I do have a slightly. I have a little bit of Latvian, a little bit of British, and definitely starting to pick up some of the mannerisms from this of the world as well.
Chris Adams: well. Yeah. Okay. Thank you very much for giving a bit of context. That makes a lot more sense now. Okay. I suppose I should just introduce myself too. Cause we just dive straight in without actually knowing who I am. Okay. So for people who've never listened to this podcast before, my name is Chris Adams.
I am the executive director at a Dutch nonprofit called the Green Web Foundation. I also work as the policy chair in the Green Software Foundation, which is a larger industry-based body. And I also organize an online community called climateaction.tech, which as you might imagine is about climate action in the tech sector. Okay, so before we dive into the real meat of this podcast, it's useful to know that everything we discuss, we'll try as much as we can to find a link for any kind of story or project, and we do put a lot of effort into these show notes, so if there's something that you've heard about, you found interesting, and you didn't see in the show notes on our website, please do let us know, because we would really like to make sure that there's a useful resource for other curious souls who are listening and want to find out as well.
Thank you. Okay, with that out of the way, I guess we should start. That sound okay to you, Tereze?
Tereze Gaile: Oh, absolutely. I'm very impressed with all your different titles, by the way, I'm blown away.
Chris Adams: All right. Okay. So, Tereze, you, as I understand it, you weren't brought in as an outside sustainability expert, but you've, this role that you're in has emerged somewhat organically. And I understand that basically blogging and internal comms played a part of it. Could you maybe just elaborate on that a little bit?
Because I found this interesting and useful for people who are starting out in this journey as well.
Tereze Gaile: Absolutely. When joining MuleSoft, our architects essentially have a choice what they want to specialize in, and they can pick those areas. And I personally from the very beginning chose sustainability. Why? The first reason is I wanted to embed sustainability into my professional life and not just more on a personal level.
And also very quickly it became apparent that no one else had really embarked on this path yet. So my first milestone was writing a blog post. I know it doesn't sound like a very big deal, but it was the very first thing in this space, and it was called Sustainable Engineering Practices with MuleSoft.
And another fun fact, it was actually inspired by principles.green, that Asim wrote
Chris Adams: Ah, cool.
Tereze Gaile: how many years ago, but it's probably also explains why I've been following the foundation very closely as well. And the blog itself was a catalyst in the sense that it allowed me to get connected with others across my own organization who are also passionate about sustainability and keen to be change makers in this space.
So fast forward two and a half years, needless to say, we have come a really long way. We've created a cross-functional team that essentially spans our core sustainability team, it also has members from our technology and product organization, and also from field teams like myself from customer success.
And we're really proud to share some of our milestones like, and I'm sure we'll talk about this momentarily, and other things like the Carbon Developer Dashboard and the Sustainability Guide for Salesforce Technology, our Enablement Content or Training Module on Green Code, and many other things.
Chris Adams: Okay. So it sounds like there's actual physical running code like services. There's actually some guidance that you might use in a professional engagement when you're working with a client. And it sounds like there's a bit of self service stuff for people who maybe don't have the skills or don't, don't have a, an ongoing engagement right now, but might want to learn where to start and how to get some background on it. Okay, cool. Thank you. All right. So... And maybe this is a nice way to move into the next question. So I get the impression that like lots of other organizations, there are people who've been working in various other parts of the problem in their own way inside an organization. So it's not like you're starting from scratch and there's usually someone working somewhere in your organization, but they're usually doing it in maybe an ad hoc fashion, or it might be seen as isolated heroic actions rather than something where there's an organization really getting behind it. But you also mentioned a little bit about working on a kind of client-facing role. You said you're in the field and one thing we've seen before is people talking about client work as a way to actually tap into interest that might be there as a way to even support a discussion or kind of highlight that people are caring about this outside of your organization.
If you might not know who those people are inside your company, could you touch on some of that, because I think there's a few things worth touching on. Then you actually just said, "I came in as an architect and I want to look at this and there wasn't this data, there wasn't really this proof just yet, but maybe there was a, maybe there was interest outside the organization."
Tereze Gaile: Yeah, that, even just that outline echoes a lot of the story I'll share. It's hard going from zero to a hundred in one go, right? So our strategy from the very beginning was how can we weave sustainability into our existing roles and responsibilities, essentially prove the value, and then build on that momentum.
For me, as you're well aware, I work in customer success. So, if customers are interested in sustainability, then I 100 percent have the green light to spend time on this topic. But of course, it's a little bit of chicken egg scenario. We needed to generate demand. When we initially started and we put MuleSoft and sustainability in the same sentence, people, most people had a really puzzled look on their face, like, "what do you mean? What's there?" Um, so we have to essentially, first of all, create a budding sustainability point of view. And then I relied heavily on our account teams to actually share that messaging with our customers to essentially plant a seed. So things like "actually, data centers emit as much as the aviation sector," right? I think that really gets technologists sitting up and taking notes. So it's really like to plant that seed initially. And it didn't take long at all for us to get a lot of interest. And those initial customers were integral in helping us build a more robust approach.
And also understand where are some of the gaps, what's important for them? So things like, for some individuals, they're really wanting to understand what their platform emissions are and what they can do to reduce those. Others have questions like, "Hey, I'm deploying on Anypoint platform," which is our cloud platform, essentially.
"What is, what are the emissions? What can I do to mitigate some of the adverse environmental impact?" Whereas for other customers, there might be more, let's say, thinking, not necessarily from a green code or green software perspective, but more how they can use the technology for good. It could be things like, "great, MuleSoft is an integration platform, but how can it help us with carbon reporting?" Be it with something like Net Zero Cloud, which Salesforce has, or another carbon reporting platform, right?
So it's really helpful for us then to see those two areas and actually start investing a lot more in that.
Chris Adams: Okay, cool. So one thing I think you mentioned before was this idea that, so. I know that if I'm using, say, Slack, or I'm using, say, Tableau, there's a limited amount of control over how I might use that, or how I might deploy things, right? So, I don't have the same kind of spectrum of interventions I might have available. But one thing you touched on before was, MuleSoft was an open source piece of technology. And as I understand it, there's a bit more freedom into kind of changing how you might deploy it inside an organization to have some different impact there. And like, I guess that gives a bit more wiggle room to have some of these conversations and inform and inform.
So those conversations with other people, when they're saying my priority is X versus Y, for example, maybe we could touch a little on some of that and then dive into some of the other parts. Cause as I, as I understand it, there's actually some relatively high profile external work that's come out of some of the cross functional team stuff that you mentioned before.
Tereze Gaile: Yeah, so to address the first point, MuleSoft, as I mentioned, is a, um, platform as a service. So actually you do have a lot more wiggle room. We essentially deployed these applications on, um, workers or replicas in the cloud. So, same sort of approach that you would have to managing your workloads in the cloud, if you have Google or AWS, all of that is very applicable still, whereas for most of Salesforce products, they actually are more software as a service.
So then again, the practices or the advice that we might share is very different. You know, you don't have an option where you deploy it, but you might have options how you configure your data strategy or how often you're refreshing that platform or the kind of automation you're building on top of it, like you, those best practices will be tailored or slightly different for those.
In relation to your second point about some of the things. We've created to one, raise that collective awareness and start taking customers on that journey. And the first one I'll talk about is our green code initiative. It's more than a couple of months old now, we shared it externally in May. The whole idea really behind it is "how can we help technologists reduce the emissions associated with using Salesforce products?"
And this is across the lifecycle. As I already hinted, of course, we have a myriad of different products. So as part of this initiative, we released a sustainability guide, and that has a number of those practices that basically show you what you can do, it's not an exhaustive list of every single thing you possibly could do, it's just more to raise awareness, start the conversation, and give technologists something to do already. And we're very open to have feedback and evolve it over time. But that's essentially what was a core part of this Green Code Initiative is this Sustainability Guide for Salesforce technology. And as part of this initiative as well, there was an interesting piece of research that came out, and it was, they found that 75 percent of technologists do want to develop softwares sustainably, but they don't really know how.
So it's half them had no idea. So it's really like tapping into that gap and it's early days, but I think we're quite excited to see where it goes over time as well. And the other one that I'll mention very quickly as an example, cause I think, while it's awesome to have awareness of what you can do in terms of how you can build or design applications. It's really hard to know or improve if you don't know where you are already. So you need to have that visibility. You can't improve what you can't measure, right? So, to tackle this, we release a Developer Carbon Dashboard. And it's really exciting because for the first time it's something that a customer can download on their own Salesforce instance.
Again, this is open source, so they can customize it for their org and actually get information in terms of the carbon dioxide for different parts of that core platform. So across business logic, the UI layer, API layer as well. So it's really cool because actually it's, you have that granular data now, whereas before it was, "Oh, we can estimate it" or like finger in the air.
But now actually there's a tool that can help you get that visibility.
Chris Adams: Uh, okay. Those sound quite juicy. So let's address those separately. So the first thing as I understand it, and I've got to open in just a tab here. So the sustainability guide for Salesforce specifically, this is like a PDF, about 22 pages long, and as I understand it, this is people who might be using these tools, not sure where to start, and they have some awareness or they, they have an interest, like you said, they're part of that 75% of people. And as I understand it, when I've looked through this, it's broken down into different parts. Say, uh, there's maybe something, "if you're a designer, then these are some of the steps that you might take." And when I look through this, I was actually. I'll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised to see some of this stuff because I saw things like, say, consequence scanning, some of the kind of activities that you might use as a designer at the beginning of a project to say, "how do we actually design out some of the unintended impacts in the first place, rather than actually just trying to compensate for them for them later?"
And I see a number of like other open source projects mentioned inside this. So this is actually quite cool. And, um, it's so this was, this basically talks about design part and then the architecture thing, which you might mention too, but it goes into quite a lot of detail and actually saying, "these are some of the ways that you might measure this."
And maybe we'll touch on this a little bit later. It does actually seem to refer to some of the early work. So I see Etsy cited for their work before, and I can see there's a number of concrete examples of this stuff, rather than things being entirely academic, actually. All right. So, and I'm sure the thing that I, when I read through this, there was some stuff I didn't quite understand because I don't use Salesforce myself.
So there's some mentions from specific tooling that I haven't seen elsewhere, like DataWeave or the various kinds of languages that you might be using for this. So, so, this is really helpful. I didn't realize that this was actually visible and it does actually provide a decent, it's quite readable to run through as well. So you have this here and there's chances to dive into this a little bit deeper later on in the, some of the online training tools or some of the other kinds of content that gets published for Salesforce, right?
Tereze Gaile: Yeah. So. In addition to the guide. So the guide is just one piece of how we're tackling the whole problem of, that there's just not enough awareness around, especially the intersection of climate and tech. Another thing that we have is a, we have an online learning platform called Trailhead. and the whole idea behind this is, it has a lot of content for Salesforce specific products, but it does have really nice modules on topics that are completely unrelated to anything that we really do at its core. So we will have numerous sustainability topics like creating a sustainable future, which includes soft sustainable development goals, also strategies for positive environmental impact, or how we approach sustainability with our suppliers.
So there's loads of things like that as well, among things like wellbeing and a bunch of other things. So I think It's a really powerful tool to open up that information and share it and it's free, right? Anyone can sign up to it as well, which think is really important. And yeah, any, where would you like me to go next?
Chris Adams: All right. That was good. That's helpful because this was, I was surprised by the breadth of what we had here. And I don't want this to sound like an advert for one company, but when I saw that, I was actually quite impressed by the fact that, okay, yeah, you're talking about the supply chain stuff as well as all these other things, and a lot of these seem like initiatives or projects, which didn't start at your company, but were interesting ones from other parts of the world. So consequence scanning is an activity for talking about who you're prioritizing in a design project, for example, and that came from a a group called Dot Everyone back in the late 2010s, and likewise, the supply chain stuff. You can see some of these ideas linked to the Chancery Lane project that we've mentioned on previous podcasts about, "okay, if you're going to do this, you need to be thinking about supply chain as well." So yeah, that was actually, it was nice to see some of these references to things which are not invented here, but still worthy of people's attention. So if I may, I just want to dive briefly onto the developer carbon dashboard thing, because this feels like something which is a bit on brand for our podcast. So you said it's an open source piece of tool that people deploy themselves or can deploy themselves, and there's a breakdown of different stages because in many ways, you might only, when you're working with cloud, for example, you might only see one part of it. You work without seeing stuff that's happening at, say, the end user, for example. Could you maybe talk a little bit about that part there? Cause I feel like the nerds will probably really like that part, especially if they know it's open source and they can look at some of the source code as well.
Tereze Gaile: Yeah, so I think in comparison, again, just using MuleSoft as an example, we don't have a front end, right? So the apps you create, it's more optimizing those, the underlying infrastructure, things like that. But for core, which we call things like Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, there's a myriad of different clouds, all under the hood has, um, the same sort of architecture and stack. Idea is based on how you built on top of it.
So you might have had some processes or flows, and this is really trying to give you a little bit of an insight on where some of those emissions are coming from. So, because it is a software as a service, it has a user interface component, so you might have done something, um, like really rich customization and experience cloud, had maybe heavy images or like quite complicated logic, so all of a sudden, you will see on the user interface side, more emissions from a percentage perspective, um, arising from that area, perhaps you have a lot of logic that do a lot of back end calls to different parts of the platform or different, um, external systems.
So then again you might see a spike in, um, API, API calls. And Apex essentially is one of the Salesforce's propriety coding languages, I guess. And again, you might have had a lot of Apex customization, which the dashboard will flag as, okay, maybe there are some inefficiencies or even just the fact that it's like a higher percentage than maybe another instance that you're comparing could give you an insight, like, okay, let's take a look.
Let's try and understand.
Chris Adams: Okay, cool. So basically is, so why, what it sounds like is that there are tools like Cloud Carbon Footprint or various things which look at maybe usage data, but because there's a bit of awareness of maybe a particular language or some of the architecture, it's giving more specific guidance about what you might do to mitigate some of the increases in emissions from maybe deploying a new system or something like that. Okay. So you've spoken a bit about this and about the actual, the new dashboard. You mentioned that it was open source. So presumably it's on GitLab or GitHub or Iceberg or Gitea or whatever tool someone's going to have online.
Is that the case?
Tereze Gaile: Yeah, absolutely. It's on GitHub. So any interested techie can go ahead, take a look, download, give feedback. And, um,
Chris Adams: make an issue, ask a question. Okay, cool. And as I understand it, there's a chap in the Climate Action Tech Slack, Boris. Oh, Boris, I'm so sorry for mispronouncing your name. Gamasch Boris G. So he's the person who's been leading this project and has a background working on the AI part as well. So there's, so that's, that's how I understand it.
He, he's been what he, this is mainly his baby so far that he's been spending his time putting into this and he's been leading on this. Is that the case?
Tereze Gaile: First thing I'll say, very recently, I actually had a chat with Boris around the pain of our names being mispronounced. So, he'll find this funny for sure. And, uh, for the Carbon Developer Dashboard, it was a real joint effort. So, in our core sustainability team, so he's across all of these sort of initiatives from a technical perspective.
We also have, um some of the people who are like really hands-on with the product itself, so like Kenny, I will also have people like, um, Tyson Read, who's essentially the product manager behind it. And I'm missing a lot of other people. Uh, there was, you know, I don't know, 10 or something like that. There are a lot of people involved in getting this off the ground.
So again, like a massive kudos and well done to them.
Chris Adams: Cool. All right. And that's been, that's quite new. That was launched just last month, right? Something like that? The Developer Dashboard. I think I saw a reference to it saying, "Hey, this is the new thing that's out." So it's open and there's still a chance to get some of those early kudos points for making a, I don't know, fix a typo in the docs or something like that.
Credit, commit into the project. Okay, cool. So we've spoken so far about, okay, all the nice happy path stuff. Yeah, everyone's want to be on board, you've got a client who really loves this stuff. We shouldn't kid ourselves that everyone is really into planet friendly tech, right? And we've come across pushback before. So I figured maybe we could talk about some of the common ways people push back on incorporating sustainability into what they do. And also some of the strategies you've seen work when working around some of the resistance, or even to respond to some of that pushback when people are saying, "Hey, I don't want to do X because of Y," for example, because this sounds like something you may have come across. So, yeah, if I give you the floor, maybe you could just talk about some of that part as well, actually, Tereze.
Tereze Gaile: Absolutely. Sometimes the challenge is not that they don't care necessarily, but that they have multiple conflicting priorities, and I've seen this time and time again, especially when we look at today, there's a cost of living crisis, and if an organisation's bottom line is taken hit as well, sustainability can be a really hard sell.
Reality is we're in the middle of a climate crisis. But it's still business as usual, and it's really hard to change this thinking. I think we all understand at a high level what's happening, but to actually change how we live, it's hard. But this is where I try and get inventive. So something that I've already hinted at earlier, I've tried to generate that customer demand around sustainability, that in turn means that I can start influencing our own product roadmap. So customers are interested, the more I can prove that, the more I can bring it in internally. Product managers will start prioritizing that, they'll understand how important it is. That's something that I do in, in my own remit, essentially.
Also, if customers want more granular data, then we need to do our homework. We need to start working with our suppliers, our vendors. And that actually puts pressure on them. So, for example, there have been multiple workshops between our engineering and technical teams with Amazon Web Services on this very topic.
We can't really be super transparent if we don't know what we're hosting our on top as well. Exactly. But these are just some of the ways we're tackling it at the moment, and also I will say persistence goes a long way, like for many. I've heard quite a few episodes in the past where it takes time and a few tries to find the right people or the right leader who will really elevate what you're trying to do, and individuals who are happy to partner up with you on that journey as well.
And lastly, what I will say with my Salesforce hat is sustainability is actually one of our most recent values. It's only two years, a year old, something like that. And we always have that in our back pocket as well. So to truly operationalize that value, we do have to embed it in everything. So whenever there's some kind of pushback or someone might not be on board, we're like "actually it's a core value now and we have to be accountable."
But for that, we need both top down and bottom up approaches as well to make it successful.
Chris Adams: Okay, that last thing you said was quite interesting, because it sounds like there's a series of different strategies you might use. So some of this might be the common thing that people are often like that. So there is perceived wisdom that you might lead with, "Oh, this is going to save you money. So therefore you save money and save the planet."
That's one example. And one of these, you just, the thing you just mentioned was almost like, no, this is actually more actually just an appeal to authority. So like the organization has said, this is one thing that we care about. So you're using that. That's quite similar to what Asim has mentioned as well. So this is Asim, uh, the, who now works at Intel, but previously was working at Microsoft. He was saying, when he was working at Microsoft, he would get pushback there on this, and he was basically able to say, our boss, Satya Nadella, has said we need to, uh, halve emissions by 2030, or something like that. And that allowed him, that gave him the kind of cover to basically say, "the boss says this, so even if you don't agree with me, because the boss has made this a priority, we're just gonna, you know, we, this is a, this is why it's important."
So it feels like there's different ways that you can actually make sure this is actually on the table, at least being discussed on a regular basis. And I, I like what you said about the, the, the persistence part as well, because if you've ever worked in a kind of kind of customer facing thing, you know, when you write a proposal, you propose something and then it's crickets.
And then at the end of the year, someone will come through and say, "Oh, Could you do this thing for us?" For example. That's happened a few times in the organization I work in and it does feel like you can write these things and often you won't know when it's going to come back up again. A lead might seem to go quiet and then they'll say, "oh, it turns out we've got a bit of budget or we need to spend it before the end of this financial year.
Can we please try this experiment or can we try to do a thing together?" That's nice to hear it coming from you as well. Okay, cool. Thank you. Let's, so we spoke a little bit about some of the kind of moves that you have, or some of the kind of strategies you might use, and some of the things that you've either used yourself or had else in other places. I think it's easy to, and maybe we should just touch on this idea of, okay, not everyone's super into planet friendly tech, for example, but. It's also important. There's a flip side to that. We can get a little bit ahead of ourselves and thinking there is nothing else but green code. And it's also easy when we're excited about something to overstay or get a little bit carried away with what we talk about. But there's a, there's an issue about keeping people's trust. And like you mentioned this idea about granularity and transparency. I want to be as transparent as I can, but I'm somewhat limited inside this. And there's a piece about you communicating with customers or people say, "this is what I can share with you based on the fact of what we're using." And the fact that you're communicating some of those limitations makes it easier for people to trust you. Maybe we might just touch a little bit about on say how you can sound credible when talking about sustainability because, uh, various organizations do tell this wonderful story, particularly in tech sector, like how there's zero impact and it doesn't matter what we, that we have any kind of impact because we're just gonna net out in zero or anything like that.
And we now see a real kind of shift in policy away from making these kinds of claims. And in Europe, there's almost the direction is actually quite a bit more developed. Like the idea of saying things are carbon neutral is very, it looks like it's going to be controlled a lot more. Maybe you could talk a little bit about that part because we spoke a little bit about companies being like say net zero or stuff like that and there is fact that emissions kind of grow and we need to have, be, be credible when we're talking about this, specifically in this sector. So maybe if I could just give you a bit of space to kind of share some of your thoughts or how you see this, that might be helpful for us to kind of like round some of this up with.
Tereze Gaile: That's a great question, Chris. We've actually seen this quite a lot recently in this part of the world as well, where a large number of organizations essentially will rely on offsets instead of reducing absolute emissions for their net zero claims. So, actually, I think one thing that's quite timely to share, recently the Australian Competition and Commerce Commission published guidelines on anti-greenwashing, essentially, um, and it resulted in a number of organizations taking down their sustainability claims.
And something that might be quite shocking, part of the reason why these guidelines were published was because actually when they did an investigation, over half of organizations had maybe some dubious claims about credentials. Or maybe it was slightly misleading or not very clear for the consumer.
We're definitely seeing, I know Europe is well ahead in this space but we're starting to see that a lot across ANZ and APAC as well. And this is something that I'm personally incredible mindful of. And I try to look at the bigger picture as well in terms of what's going to have the most impact. So for example, taking just a handful of long haul flights can completely reverse the good progress you're making when it comes to green code and green software.
So I think it's really important not to lose sight of that. For us, because we are a technology company, it does make perfect sense to actually focus on reducing emissions of our technology stack because the reality is, I'm not kidding when I say over half of our emissions do come from cloud technology.
And if we're serious about meeting our decarbonization goals, we do have to put our product and tech front and center. And, and yeah, like one, one of the ways how we're tracking this is through a metric called Carbon to Serve. And. I think Salesforce actually coined it, so if you're not fully aware what we mean by that, it's essentially how we measure the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions that it takes to deliver a specific Salesforce service or product.
And the reason why we have this as well, because actually in the beginning we had a lot of products and services on first party data centers, but that's changing. Like we're moving more and more of that into the public cloud, but it's very important for in those early days to actually understand what can we do to make improvements here as well.
And since establishing that metric, uh, in 2020, we have reduced it by 26. So there is good work being done, but we hope with the whole green code movement that we can really not just look at optimization of your infrastructure, but also look at software itself. And going back to just, I know we touched on a few different things here, but just a question on trust.
I can't echo enough, just, that piece around, especially in the guidelines anywhere on greenwashing or things like that, they say time and time again, just make sure that you're crystal clear in terms of communication and you tell the whole story. So maybe you're working with a customer on their green code or green software, but if that is just a small, I think it's important not to lose sight of, okay, can we help them tackle that part as well? An example of how I try to embody those principles, so whenever I work with customers to help them understand um, MuleSoft platform emissions, for example, share every single piece of source, my methodo methodology, rationale.
Chris Adams: Yeah.
Tereze Gaile: explicitly clear that this is also baby steps. Like, this is like the first time we're doing this and we want to evolve it. We want to automate it. Um, and it might not be perfect, but that's okay. We'd much rather have something that at least you're consistently tracking something, so then you can see "ok, if I adopt this practice, what's the actual impact?" And it's a start.
Chris Adams: Okay. Thanks for being so transparent and being so honest about this, because this is a thing that we've, we found as a nonprofit where we work. So we did some research on essentially tech companies and tech companies and net zero targets and things like that. And generally we found that in the top 20 companies that we saw that made up the internet usage, we basically found we had a real hard time finding information about companies talking about having absolute reduction targets between now and 2030. This stuff is not published by most large organizations. In fact, BP, the oil company, the, the company you might associate with, like feeling guilty about your carbon footprint, these guys are more transparent than almost every single tech company we had inside this. And I will share the links to this 'cause it basically means that, yeah, most tech companies are failing the BP test, where the BP test is basically reporting your Planned Reductions in Absolute Terms by 2025 and 2030. This is, feels like a fairly clear thing to be asking for that we don't see in lots of places. And I'm glad you actually mentioned that. Yeah. Okay. We have some of this and as I understand it, the Carbon to Serve metric, that's a bit like the Software Carbon Intensity metric in that it's a relative metric, right?
So it's not absolute, but it's saying "this is what we do and if we increase that we'll be able to track that" with the idea being that tracking that will result in absolute emissions over time. For example, if that's high enough that should balance out any kind of growth you might have in say activity or something like that.
That's the general idea behind that. Okay. Thanks for that.
we just come up with the last? Yeah. Okay. We'll come up to the last question now. All right. So we spoke about some of this tension inside this, and we've spoken a few times about the idea that for the most part, technologists haven't really had an incentive to like, a explicit incentive inside their organization to develop knowledge around sustainability. So this might take the form of not really being, having a solid foundation when talking about this. And like you said before, It can lead people to over index on the importance of code versus something else. So like you mentioned it being half of your organization, I know lots of consulting firms. About 40 percent I know that among the big four consulting firms, around a third to 40 percent of the emissions come from not so much their use of code, but them flying to speak to clients about code, for example.
So there is an idea that you need to be aware of and need to be thinking about some of these parts here. And I think part of this comes down to the fact that as a technologist, you've got to learn about design patterns, about how efficiency, because that's going to help in your career path, for example. And we do see a kind of growing interest in green software, so it does feel like there is now a kind of growing set of incentives to start skilling up as a technologist in green software, understanding that there's a sustainability aspect that we need to speak to. And I wanted to ask you, are there any resources that you'd recommend or you've seen people use?
Because before this call, I saw that you've got some various kind of qualifications you've listed, but you've also being very hands-on yourself, trying to create some of this stuff. So I figured I'd ask you about some of that, because that feels like a nice way for people who are listening to figure out, "okay, what can I learn for free?
Or what are the examples I can start with so I can start building some of that knowledge up so that I can either interrogate these claims or even understand what's going to be most effective in my particular context?"
Tereze Gaile: so the first one I'll mention, and genuinely this is not because I'm on environmental variables,
but The Linux Foundation for Green Software for Practitioners is awesome. So I did this when it first came out, but actually it's had such a good response internally that we're trying to work out a way to essentially get all of our engineering and technology organization to also sit this course. And again, it's not a huge amount of hours,
but it really nicely articulates the core concepts around carbon awareness, how things like energy efficiency, carbon efficiency, hardware efficiency, like how they're uh, connected and so forth.
So genuinely is, it is something that we're actually in conversations at the moment to say, "okay, how can we incentivize or encourage our own teams, and to have a look at this?" I did mention earlier a little bit about Trailhead, which is our own learning platform, and it does have content on sustainability, but we also created a very short module on Green Code, which at a high level, essentially covers some of the areas that you saw in the guide.
But I think from a personal level, I've really benefited from some that pure sustainability courses where they also teach you some of the frameworks for creating change in an organization, so the amoeba model for change, for example, or even having just that base understanding of the state of the world, how human activity's impacting global warming, and all this kind of stuff, and just like some of those frameworks that come with it, because then at least you feel equipped going into a conversation, and you know what the three scopes are for greenhouse gas protocol, and you can articulate what some of the regulation is across, at least at a high level, you don't have to be an expert, but just having some of those, you know, in your toolkit, I think it's really valuable.
Chris Adams: Okay, cool. So you mentioned a couple of things I've never heard of before. The amoeba model for change is something that was totally new to me, and I think we're going to have to add it to the show notes. And you spoke a little bit about scoped emissions, for example, which is something related to the greenhouse gas protocol, which is like the most common way of measuring organizational emissions.
We'll share some links to that as well. All right. I think we've covered quite a lot of stuff in this conversation, actually, Tereze. Before we wrap up, is there anything you'd want to discuss or just share with people before we finish up on this one?
Tereze Gaile: Final words for me, uh, being in this space can be really tough at times. So this is just a friendly reminder to look after yourself and a healthy dose of Outrage and Optimism.
Chris Adams: All right. Okay. Thank you very much for that, Tereze. We'll also share something about Outrage and Optimism as well, because that's actually something I'm really glad you mentioned that. That's one of my favorite podcasts, and it's really useful for understanding this wider thing that you mentioned as well. Thanks, Tereze. This was a really fun conversation. I'm glad we're able to actually make it despite being on other sides of the earth. Cool.
Tereze Gaile: Thanks, Chris. I really enjoyed myself and I hope there are a few nuggets in there that resonate with your fantastic audience.
Chris Adams: All right. See you around, Tereze.
Tereze Gaile: Cheers, Chris. Bye.
Chris Adams: Hey everyone, thanks for listening. Just a reminder to follow Environment Variables on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
And please, do leave a rating and review if you like what we're doing, it helps other people discover the show, and of course, we'd love to have more listeners. To find out more about the Green Software Foundation, please visit greensoftware.foundation. That's greensoftware.foundation in any browser.
Thanks again, and see you in the next episode!