This story is part of The Path to Zero, a series of special reports on how business can lead the fight against climate change. This quarter's stories go in-depth on sustainability in supply chains.

Earlier this year, when Salesforce unveiled its Sustainability Exhibit, vice president of sustainability Patrick Flynn already had a good idea that the general response would be well received. That's because Salesforce spent several years testing the concept with a handful of Salesforce’s suppliers.

While the San Francisco–based company had been working for years to reduce carbon emissions baked into its supply chain, the introduction of the Sustainability Exhibit in April formalized expectations of its suppliers, adding requirements to new contracts to set carbon-reduction goals and deliver products and services on a carbon-neutral basis.

“At this stage of the climate emergency we need clarity and transparency in areas where we are stuck,” Flynn said, acknowledging that some smaller companies or particular industries may need more help. "But we know that now and can talk about it and work with them on it.”