Inspire 2020: Microsoft takes new steps to be carbon negative by 2030

Inspire 2020: Microsoft takes new steps to be carbon negative by 2030
Initiatives will also address environmental issues disproportionately affecting certain communities

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Microsoft has outlined a number of new steps to reach its goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030. These initiatives will not only address Microsoft’s own procedures and those of its supply chain and partners, but will also tackle environmental issues disproportionately affecting certain communities. 

As Microsoft Inspire 2020 began, chief environmental office Lucas Joppa shared an update of how the company is working towards its ambitious sustainability goal: “We have been working hard to turn our commitments into action and, today, we are announcing seven important new steps on our path to be carbon negative by 2030.”

Among these new steps, Microsoft has formed a coalition that it says will “accelerate business action toward a net zero carbon economy”. Transform to Net Zero will see Microsoft work with founding members A.P. Moeller – Maersk, Danone, Mercedes-Benz, Natura & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Unilever and Wipro to help businesses reach their sustainability goals. 

Also new to its mission, Microsoft has announced the private preview of its Sustainability Calculator. The product will help cloud customers measure the carbon emissions that result from their cloud usage and provides insights on how to reduce them. 

In order to reduce its own carbon footprint, Microsoft is looking to purchase renewable energy for all of its data centres by 2025 and will eliminate its use of diesel fuel by 2030. 

In January, Microsoft’s chief financial officer Amy Hood announced that the organisation would be creating a $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund and Joppa said $50 million of that will be invested in the Energy Impact Partners’ global platform. In doing so, Joppa said that Microsoft will support the “innovation of new technologies to transform the world’s energy and transportation systems, the two sectors that account for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions”. 

Microsoft is also working to address the social side of environmental justice by working with Sol Systems to invest in communities disproportionately affected by environmental challenges. “The data shows that black and African American people in the USA are exposed to 1.54 times more hazardous pollution than white people and to 50 per cent higher rates of particulate pollution than the general population,” said Joppa. 

To help improve these figures, Microsoft will work with Sol Systems to provide 500 megawatts of renewable energy to under-resourced communities and provide $50 million for community-led grants. 

“We cannot achieve our sustainability ambitions alone – this update reflects an extraordinary amount of hard work and dedication across Microsoft and with customers, partners, non-governmental organisations and others around the world,” said Joppa. “Working together, we can build a more sustainable future.” 

Read more: ’Progress on our goal to be carbon negative by 2030’, by Lucas Joppa. 

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