Microsoft reveals new sustainability solutions for ‘all analytics needs’

Microsoft reveals new sustainability solutions for ‘all analytics needs’


Swedish forest management association Södra trialled the new Microsoft Sustainability Manager solutions to gain insight on sustainability initiatives

New features for Microsoft Fabric and Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability will ‘help organisations move from pledges to progress’

Alice Chambers |

Microsoft has launched new data and AI solutions to help organisations progress their sustainability goals.

The announcement was made during Microsoft’s ‘This is AI… for Sustainability’ digital event where Satish Thomas, corporate vice president of Microsoft Industry Clouds, explained how Microsoft Fabric and Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability are “powerful solutions for all analytics needs”.

The new sustainability capabilities in Microsoft Fabric, a software-as-a-service platform that consolidates enterprise data, were the first to be introduced. They aim to help organisations “accelerate their time to insights and sustainability progress by providing out-of-the-box ESG [environmental, social and governance] data model, connectors and reporting,” said Thomas. This facilitates the creation of a ‘single source of truth’ and Microsoft cloud technology allows customers to integrate the services easily and securely.

Microsoft has also made Copilot and intelligent insights available in preview within Microsoft Sustainability Manager, a solution within Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability that enables organisations to efficiently record, report and reduce emissions and water or waste impact. Copilot uses generative AI and natural language queries to deliver fast insights from environmental data and draft sustainability reports, while the intelligent insights provide deeper analysis of calculated emissions data to show where more complete data is needed and identify short- and long-term reduction opportunities.

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Intelligent insights tools within Microsoft Sustainability Manager identify sustainability data outliers and where action is needed

The AI-powered tools in Microsoft Sustainability Manager also allow firms to conduct what-if analysis to compare different business scenarios and understand their sustainability impact. For example, Södra, the largest forest-management association in Sweden, trialled the new capabilities to ‘talk’ to their data and, according to Christian Brolin, chief digital officer at Södra, “save a lot of clicks to get work done much faster”. The association also used the tools to understand what sustainability initiatives would best help it achieve its business goals.

Microsoft also announced the general availability of the ESG Value Chain Solution in Microsoft Sustainability Manager, to simplify data collection from suppliers and help to manage supplier data. According to Melanie Nakagawa, chief sustainability officer at Microsoft, the ESG Value Chain updates carbon footprint data in real time and allows users to save time on cleaning up ESG data. “A well-organised ESG data set is the foundational step,” she said.

Shelly Blackburn, vice president of sustainability commercial solutions at Microsoft, said that the key to ESG success lies in solving three challenges: data complexity, overcoming pressures and planning ahead for the future. The new data and AI updates aim to overcome these with “harmonised data as a single source of truth” and data-driven decision making.

The event also covered the Azure Carbon Optimization feature, which is now in preview, and how Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability partners are helping firms to achieve sustainable operations.

Microsoft partners

Thomas discussed how several Microsoft partners are contributing to business sustainability efforts

The new capabilities are detailed in full in a blog post by Thomas on the Microsoft website, where he says the solutions “will help move organisations from pledges to progress.”

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