Climate change is becoming a heated topic in tech. Tech giants like Amazon, Apple, and Google have talked about their efforts to become carbon neutral for certain parts of their business, in their data centers, or in certain countries. Microsoft today made a bold claim: The company has pledged to become carbon negative by 2030. The announcement came at an event titled “Microsoft’s commitment to sustainability.” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella further announced a new $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund “to accelerate the development of carbon reductions and renewable technologies.”
Carbon neutral refers to releasing net zero carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Carbon negative, sometimes referred to as climate positive, means going beyond achieving net zero carbon emissions and removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“The scientific consensus is clear, the world today is confronted with an urgent carbon crisis,” Nadella said onstage. “If we don’t cut emissions and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us the results will be devastating. Each of us is going to need to take action. And that includes businesses. No one company can solve this macro challenge alone, but as a global technology company we have a particular responsibility to do our part. That’s why today, we’re announcing an ambitious new plan to help address the sustainability of our planet. Today we’re making the commitment that by 2030, Microsoft will be carbon, negative.”
Microsoft’s emissions are about 4 million metric tons per year. If you include the company’s entire supply chain, the materials in its buildings, the business travel of employees, and the full life cycle of its products (including even the electricity its customers may consume when using the product), Microsoft estimates another 12 million metric tons. Microsoft today is thus responsible for about 16 million metric tons. That’s the number, 16 million metric tons, Microsoft is going to get below by 2030.
But Nadella didn’t stop there. Microsoft will work to remove more carbon than it emits. Thus by 2050, Microsoft expects to remove all of the carbon emitted “directly or by electrical consumption since our company’s founding in 1975,” said Nadella.
Microsoft today also released the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator, a Power BI app that shows carbon emissions data associated with your business’ Azure services.
More to follow