Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability
According to Satish Thomas, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Industry Clouds, the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is a cross-industry cloud that empowers organizations in their sustainability efforts across 4 areas.
“Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is our first horizontal industry cloud designed to work across multiple industries.
Our solutions can be customized to specific industry needs, whether a customer is in retail, energy, manufacturing, or another industry.
At its core is a data model that aligns with Greenhouse Gas Protocols—the standard in identifying and recording emissions information. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability also reflects the deep relationships we have with partners that enable us to offer better together solutions to solve critical customer needs and customer problems.
This release of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability delivers Microsoft and partner solutions across four investment areas to empower organizations in their sustainability efforts:
- Unify data intelligence.
- Build a sustainable IT infrastructure.
- Reduce environmental impact of operations.
- Create sustainable value chains.”
The Microsoft Sustainability Manager
A new solution designed to streamline data collection, and help you more effectively record, report, and reduce your carbon emissions.
It delivers comprehensive and integrated and automated sustainability insights to accelerate each stage of your sustainability journey.
Microsoft Sustainability Manager provides a common format to connect data so you can understand and report the impact of your operations and your supply chain in near real-time.
And it helps identify actions you can take to minimize your footprint, gain efficiencies, and make lasting changes
Key Microsoft Sustainability Resources
Here are some of the key resources at a glance that Microsoft provides for sustainability:
|Microsoft Sustainability Home||Microsoft Sustainability Homepage|
|Sustainability Reports||2020 Microsoft Sustainability Report|
|Microsoft Sustainability Calculator||Microsoft Sustainability Calculator|
|Microsoft Sustainability Cloud||Introducing the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability by Judson Althoff|
|Climate Innovation Fund||Climate Innovation Fund Homepage|
|AI for Earth||AI for Earth Homepage
AI for Earth Grant Homepage
|Executive Playbook for Sustainability||Executive Playbook for Sustainability (Free PDF)|
The Big Ambition: Microsoft Will Remove It’s Historical Carbon Emission by 2050
In January 2020, Microsoft announced an ambitious goal and new plan to reduce and remove it’s carbon footprint.
Here is the goal according to the Microsoft Sustainability Report:
“…an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce and ultimately remove Microsoft’s carbon footprint.
By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.”
3 Net “Scopes” or Categories for Carbon Emissions
Here is summary of the Net Scopes from the Microsoft Sustainability Report:
|Scope 1 emissions||Scope 1 emissions are the direct emissions that your activities create — like the exhaust from the car you drive, or for a business, the trucks it drives to transport its products from one place to another or the generators it might run.|
|Scope 2 emissions||Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions that come from the production of the electricity or heat you use, like the traditional energy sources that light up your home or power the buildings owned by a business.|
|Scope 3 emissions||Scope 3 emissions are the indirect emissions that come from all the other activities in which you’re engaged, including the emissions associated with producing the food you eat, or manufacturing the products that you buy. For a business, these emission sources can be extensive, and must be accounted for across its entire supply chain, the materials in its buildings, the business travel of its employees, and the full life cycle of its products, including the electricity customers may consume when using the product. Given this broad range, a company’s scope 3 emissions are often far larger than its scope 1 and 2 emissions put together.|
The 4 Sustainability Commitments that Guide Microsoft’s Work for the Next Decade
In 2020, Microsoft announced 4 commitments that will guide its sustainability work for the next decade:
- Carbon Negative by 2030
- Water positive by 2030
- Zero Waste by 2030
- Build the Planetary Computer
The Microsoft Sustainability Approach
From the 2020 Microsoft Sustainability Report:
“Whenever Microsoft takes on a new and complex societal issue, we strive first to learn and then to define a principled approach to guide our efforts.
In 2020, we did the same with environmental sustainability.”
4 Focus Areas for Sustainability at Microsoft
Here are the 4 areas of focus for sustainability according to the Microsoft Sustainability Report:
From the Microsoft Sustainability Report:
“We focus on four areas—carbon, water, waste, and ecosystems—where we can scale by minimizing the negative impacts of our operations and maximizing the positive impacts of our technology.
While we start with our operations, our strategy expands beyond our four walls by ensuring those changes also benefit the communities in which we operate and flow into our product strategy.
Through technology adoption by customers and partners, we can drive positive impact across the globe, accelerated by our investments, engagement in policy, and commitment to innovation.”
5 Strategic Pillars for Sustainability at Microsoft
Here are the 5 Strategic Pillars for Sustainability according to the Microsoft Sustainability Report:
- Operations – We will take responsibility for our carbon, water, waster, and land footprints across the way our products and facilities are sourced, manufactured, operated, and managed at end-of-life, including our supply chain.
- Products and Services – We will develop new technology and services driven by data, AI, and digital technology to power environmental sustainability.
- Customers and Partners – We will help our customers and partners around the world reduce their carbon, water, waste, and land footprints through our learnings, technology, and services.
- Policy – We will use our voice on climate-related public policy issues. We will support new public policy initiatives to accelerate carbon, water, waste, and ecosystems opportunities.
- Employees – We recognize that our employees are the most important asset and resource in advancing innovation and will create new opportunities for them to contribute to our efforts.
6 Enabling Conditions
Here is Dr. Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer at Microsoft, on the 6 Enabling Conditions:
“Addressing six enabling conditions will ultimately dictate the success or failure of the sustainability agenda this decade–for Microsoft and the world.”
Here is the big idea behind the 6 Enabling Conditions according to the 2020 Sustainability Report:
“As we worked to set and implement our commitments to become carbon negative, water positive, and zero waste and to deploy a Planetary Computer, some of these global challenges came into sharp focus. There is a suite of enabling conditions that must exist for Microsoft and the world to effectively and efficiently achieve a more sustainability and just future.”
Here are the 6 Enabling Conditions:
- Risk Recognition – A widely adopted and comprehensive risk framework will need to be in place to ensure every business integrates environmental risk at the core of their corporation’s corporate governance process.
- Standards Setting – By well before 2030, we must be operating in a world where companies have come together across sectors to agree on common sustainability units and methods of measurement across carbon, water, and waste.
- Data Digitization – Digitized sustainability data must become a platform that allows society to stitch together the dimensionality of the sustainability landscape from the bottom up, and analyze them from the top down.
- Innovation Investment – Most climate investments will need to fit within a well-structured and accepted framework that aligns investment vehicles along an appropriate risk-tolerance spectrum, targeted on the most impactful areas.
- Market Maturation – Carbon offset and removal, water, replenishment, and ecosystem service markets can supply greater and growing demand, transparently and with standard insurnace guarantees.
- Policy Progression – A globally coordinated policy regime should be in place that limits emissions in line with a 1.5 degrees Celsius future, while respecting political sovereignty and the cross-boundary nature of the Earth’s life support systems, and does so with a focus on the need to equitably share these resources across cultures and communities.
It’s these 6 Enabling Conditions that will ensure a coherent, coordinated, cost-efficient approach to individual and collective action on climate change, and that will ultimately dictate success or failure of the sustainability agenda.
2020 Progress at a Glance
Here is a summary of 2020 progress at a glance according to the Microsoft Sustainability Report:
Carbon Negative by 2030
- First – Delivered first tool to provide CO2 transparency for cloud via the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator.
- 1.3 Million – Secure 1.3 million metric tons of carbon removal via projects from RFP process for FY21.
- 21 Million – Top suppliers reduced their collective footprint by 21 million metric tons CO2e as reported by CDP.
- 586,683 – Reduced emissions across all scopes by 586,683 metric tons CO2e in FY20.
- 100% – All suppliers must report their GHG emissions through updated Supplier Code of Conduct.
- 500MW – PPA with Sol Systems will advance clean energy and environmental justice.
Water Positive by 2030
- 1.5M – Launched water accessibility work to provide 1.5 million people access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
- $10M – Invested $10 million in the Emerald Technology Ventures’ Global Water Impact Fund to support innovative technologies for water conservation, access, and quality.
- 7X – Increased our replenishment project portfolio by nearly 700 percent from FY19.
- 20 – To date, funded nearly 20 replenishment projects in six states and two countries.
Zero Waste by 2030
- Zero – Achieved Zero Waste Certification of datacenters in Dublin, Ireland and Boydton, Virginia.
- 10,500 – Over 10,500 employees engage in Ecochallenges to reduce personal waste footprints.
- $30 Million – Invested $30 million in Closed Loop Partner’s funds to help build a circular economy.
- 980% – Circular Cewnters, piloted this year can contribute to increased reuse of servers by 90 per cent by 2025.
- 60K – In FY20, diverted over 60,000 metric tons of waste from landfills.
- 700+ – Grew the AI for Earth grantee community to over 700 grantees in over 100 countries.
- 10PB – On-boarded 10 petabytes of environmental and Earth observation data to Azure that is now freely available for the conservation community.
Carbon, Water, and Waste
$129M – Invested $129 million across funds and organizations innovating in carbon reduction, water management, and circular economy.
The Microsoft Sustainability Calculator
The Microsoft Sustainability Calculator is a tool to help you understand the impact of cloud sustainability on your emissions.
Per the tool description, here are the key use cases:
- Gain visibility using a sustainability dashboard to understand greenhouse gas emissions associated with Dynamics 365 and Azure cloud usage.
- Learn the root cause of emissions changes by tracking actual and avoided emissions over time.
- Measure the environmental impact of Microsoft cloud services on your carbon footprint with consistent and accurate carbon accounting.
- Calculate how to further reduce emissions by moving additional applications and services to the cloud.
Climate Innovation Fund
In 2020, Microsoft announced a bold new environmental sustainability strategy focusing on carbon, water, waste, and ecosystems. As part of Microsoft’s commitment, we are investing $1 billion over the next four years in new technologies and innovative sustainability solutions.
You can find out all about the Climate Innovation Fund here:
The Climate Innovation Fund is a $1 billion investment initiative to accelerate technology development and deployment of new climate innovations through equity and debt capital. We’ll focus our funding on investments primarily based on four criteria:
- Climate impact – Meaningful, measurable climate solutions in the areas of carbon, water, waste, and ecosystems.
- Underfunded markets – Investing where the capital need for climate solutions is not being met.
- Shared alignment – Technologies that are relevant to Microsoft’s core business and that of our customers.
- Climate equity – Ensuring developing economies and underserved communities benefit from climate solutions.
AI for Earth
AI for Earth is a Microsoft initiative for environmental innovation.
You can find all about the AI for Earth initiative here:
AI for Earth puts Microsoft cloud and AI tools in the hands of those working to solve global environmental challenges.
AI for Earth includes the following components:
- AI for Earth Grants to empower people and projects working to change the way the way people and organizations monitor, model, and manage Earth’s natural systems.
- AI for Earth technical resources including open-source tools, models, infrastructure, data and APIs to accelerate development for environmental sustainability.
- AI for Earth Partnerships supports organizations that are applying AI to environmental challenges, by helping them harness the full power of cloud computing.
AI for Earth Grant
The AI for Earth awards grants to support projects that use AI to change the way people and organizations monitor, model, and manage Earth’s natural systems.
Here is the AI for Earth homepage:
By being a member of the AI for Earth grantee community, you also have access to additional resources – technical advice and support, online Azure training materials, and invitations to the AI for Earth Summit for networking and education opportunities.
To date, Microsoft has awarded over 700 grants to projects with impact in over 80 countries, and we are committed to growing this community of grantees.
Here are the 4 areas of focus:
- Climate – The changing climate threatens human health, infrastructure, and natural systems. AI can give people more accurate climate predictions to help reduce the potential impacts.
- Agriculture – By 2050, farmers must produce more food, on less arable land, and with less environmental impact to feed the world’s increasing population. AI can help people monitor the health of farms in real time.
- Biodiversity – Species are going extinct at an alarming rate. AI can help accelerate the discovery, monitoring, and protection of biodiversity across our planet.
- Water – In the next two decades, demand for fresh water is predicted to dramatically outpace supply. AI can help people model Earth’s water supply to help us conserve and protect fresh water.
To apply for a grant, there is an online form:
Here is the project information you will need to provide: