Microsoft has been named as a principal partner for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), which will take place in November 2021. The firm will help governments and organisations better understand and access digital technologies that support carbon reduction strategies.
According to Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, COP26 represents the last chance for governments to agree on a coordinated approach to net zero through carbon reduction and removal strategies. “But it is also an opportunity,” she said. “The UK led the world once in transforming industry and society, now we must do so again.
“The decisions we make in the months ahead must establish the conditions for inclusive economic opportunity and societal resilience against climate change.”
Microsoft’s involvement in COP26 follows its sustainability commitments set out in 2020, which include being carbon negative by 2030, removing from the environment all the carbon Microsoft has emitted since its founding by 2050, being water positive and zero waste by 2030 and protecting ecosystems by developing a Planetary Computer.
“There is no other forum like COP26 to bring the people needed together to focus on all the ways to drive change,” said Barclay. “It offers the opportunity for public and private collaboration to establish the conditions for a net-zero economy and share learnings on our journey to reduce carbon emissions.”
As part of its principal partner status, Microsoft will focus on creating a global definition for any net-zero commitment grounded in both carbon removal and reduction, using protocols and digital tools to measure the progress of net-zero commitments, and delivering the financial and human investment to support net zero.
“The UK has a huge opportunity in November to take a lead in the digitisation of the net zero transition,” said Barclay. “We are helping organisations to measure, map and model current and future energy use and carbon impact. We want more organisations to take control of their own environmental impact, better understand carbon emissions, measure them and accurately account for their reduction.
“While the summit will be a key moment in building a net-zero legacy, the work begins now. As the UK recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s important that we build back stronger with sustainability in mind. Money and jobs must flow into carbon reduction and removal.”