Technology Record - Issue 24: Spring 2022

47 Pacific to support 33 start-ups and social enterprises that focus on social impact and sustainability in the region. In January 2022, Microsoft began inviting start-ups to join its AI for Environmental Sustainability Accelerator, which was launched to support businesses in using AI to tackle environmental challenges. And in February 2022, Microsoft joined ClimateWorks Foundation’s Carbon Call to meet net zero goals by providing reliable measurement and accounting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. “With so many organisations now committing to net zero, one key piece is still missing: a transparent and interoperable system to track, report and compare GHG emissions and removals,” said Lucas Joppa, chief environmental officer at Microsoft. “The Carbon Call is a collaboration to enable reliability among the multiple, different GHG accounting ledgers – from the corporate to the national to the planetary. We encourage all organisations committed to net zero to join us.” To help businesses worldwide address their environmental impact and develop more effective and realistic sustainability strategies, Microsoft launched the Emissions Impact Dashboard in late 2021. The tool enables users to track, analyse and reduce carbon emissions associated with cloud usage. According to Kees Hertogh, general manager of global industry product marketing at Microsoft, the dashboard is “part of our commitment to address our own environmental impact and help our customers do the same”. Simon Crownshaw, director of worldwide media and entertainment strategy at Microsoft, believes that prioritising sustainability can also have major benefits in terms of customer experiences, particularly in the media and entertainment sector. “Businesses in this space are looking at how they can become carbon neutral or negative, and what those experiences are driving from a cloud perspective,” he explained. “On the Microsoft Azure side, we can use the Emissions Impact Dashboard for media productions, to evaluate where we can make changes and help them see the benefits. “Media consumers have expectations; they want to know that the content they are watching has been created with the planet in mind. By leveraging the power of the cloud, media creators can reduce their environmental impact, for example by needing fewer trucks on location and fewer people travelling by aeroplane. These are some fundamental things that the cloud is now providing which are critical for organisations, customers and the planet.” Despite these achievements, there is more to be done. COP26 was a success, but in some cases the event failed to identify and implement specific strategies to prevent the 1.5C global rise in temperature that could have devastating effects on the planet. Countries are still struggling to connect goals with realistic outcomes. For example, a study by Microsoft New Zealand found that in March 2022 the country’s net emissions were 60 per cent higher than in 1990, and onethird of its businesses said they were set to miss the 2050 net zero carbon target without help. As published in its 2021 Sustainability Report, Microsoft is accelerating its efforts to facilitate real change. Many of these centre around the organisation’s Planetary Computer, which comprises a catalogue of global environmental data to help answer important conservation questions. In March 2022 the Pacific Community (SPC), which includes scientific and technological organisations from 27 countries and territories within the Pacific Islands, announced the launch of Digital Earth Pacific – built on Microsoft’s Planetary Computer and the cloud – to track and analyse the impact of global disasters and climate change in the region. “The key to addressing climate change at a company like Microsoft is to partner with every industry to understand how it functions, discern the elements vital to its success, share and adapt solutions, and help our customers chart an informed path to decarbonisation," said Brad Smith, president and vice chair of Microsoft, in the 2021 Sustainability Report. COV E R S TOR Y