Microsoft Sustainability News, Milestones, Partnerships and Net Zero Timeline
December 4, 2023 by Joe Panettieri
Microsoft expects to be carbon negative by 2030, and by 2050 the company will remove from the environment all the carbon the firm has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975, the cloud and software giant said in 2020.
Melanie Nakagawa (pictured above), chief sustainability officer, is leading those efforts. But the software company's sustainability goals don't end there.
November 2023: Microsoft Sustainability Software and Right to Repair
Carbon Cost Software:Microsoft Sustainability Manager has a new feature called Carbon fee. The feature, available in preview now, allows organizations to set an internal price (or a “tax”) on their own carbon emissions and encourage substantive reductions, according to Shefy Manayil Kareem, general manage of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability.
Microsoft Surface - Right to Repair:Replacement components for Microsoft Surface devices will now be available directly from iFixit. "This builds upon our collaboration with iFixit to make our products more repairable and will complement our growing network of Authorized Service Providers," the technology giant said.
October 2023: Sustainability Strategy, Milestones, Partnerships and Investments
Australia: The software company will invest A$5 billion in expanding its hyperscale cloud computing and AI infrastructure in Australia over the next two years, Microsoft said. On the data center sustainability front, "Microsoft will ensure that its new data centres in Australia help meet the company’s sustainability goals of being carbon negative, water positive and zero waste by 2030. This includes using low-carbon materials during construction, as well as using renewable energy, advanced water-cooling features and measures to decrease diesel fuel use during operation," the company said.
Singapore: Microsoft and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced digital sustainability guidelines to "accelerate education and awareness among businesses and developers, as they build sustainable applications by design." The guidelines were created with support from the Green Software Foundation (GSF).
Data Centers - Nuclear Power: Microsoft wants to integrate advanced nuclear technology into powering its data centers, according to a job posting from the cloud services and software giant.
Data Centers: ENGIE Energy Marketing inked an agreement to provide renewable energy to cover the consumption of select Microsoft data centers in Texas. The collaboration will accelerate Microsoft’s mission to transition to 100% carbon-free energy on an hourly basis by 2030, the companies said.
AI and Data Center Water Consumption: Microsoft consumed 6.4 million cubic meters of water in 2022, primarily for its cloud data centers. That represents a 34 percent jump over the year before, with generative AI workloads believed to be at least partially to blame, Data Center Dynamics reported.
Partnership - Cloud Services and Artificial Intelligence: G42 and Microsoft announced plan to offer sovereign cloud services, AI capabilities and data center infrastructure in the UAE. Much of the announcement focused on sustainability. G42 is a technology holding group focused on AI technologies. The partnership surfaces a few months before COP28 starts in the UAE.
Funding:Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund invested in Rondo Energy, a provider of zero-carbon industrial heat and power. The overall round, backed by multiple investors, raised $60 million. The funding will help to "speed the rollout of Rondo Heat Batteries (RHBs) worldwide and to transform the global energy storage market," Rondo asserted.
Earnings Call: Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is helping customers like Costco, Land O'Lakes and REI take action to meet their environmental goals, CEO Satya Nadella said during the company's earnings call on July 25, 2023.
Cloud for Energy Companies: The company announced general availability of Azure Data Manager for Energy. The application allows enables energy companies to manage "compute-intensive workloads at global scale, and quickly ingests data for analytics and decision-making."
Energy Partnership - Data Centers:Constellation Energy has inked an agreement with Microsoft to "significantly reduce the carbon footprint of one of Microsoft’s data centers in Boydton, Virginia." Under the agreement, the facility will receive up to 35% in environmental attributes from nuclear power, complementing Microsoft's new wind and solar purchases, the companies said. The agreement puts Microsoft "very close to its goal of operating the data center on 100 percent carbon-free electricity around the clock," the companies said.
Sustainability Hackathon: Four Wipro employees won the Microsoft Pledge to Progress: Sustainability Hackathon. The hackathon provides a platform for organizations and individuals to "develop progressive solutions that can help reduce carbon emissions, save water, manage waste, create green software." The solutions are built on the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability platform.
Partnership - Startup Accelerator: The company and Accenture have announced the third cohort of the Project Amplify program. The latest round will support 13 Indian startups with solutions focusing on clean tech, circularity, regenerative agriculture, education and skilling, the companies said.
Partnership - Consulting & Software: KPMG has launched a Circularity Tracker solution built atop Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. The software helps to "automate data collection from diverse sources and perform model-based data calculations using standards, regulatory reporting metrics and universally accepted measurement frameworks for circularity performance," KPMG said.
Funding: Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund has invested in AMP Robotics Corp., a provider of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and infrastructure for the waste and recycling industry. This investment lifts AMP’s Series C round, led by Congruent Ventures and Wellington Management, to a total of more than $99 million.
Funding: Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund invested in Energy Impact Partners' Elevate Future Fund I, which raised $111.9 million.
April 2023: Sustainability Strategy Milestones
Microsoft CEO Statement: During Microsoft's April 2023 earnings call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Satya Nadella said: "Our Cloud for Sustainability is seeing strong adoption from companies in every industry, including BBC, Nissan and TCL as they deliver on their respective environmental commitments." Still, the company did not disclose actual revenue figures tied to the sustainability cloud service.
Singapore: The company, together with Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and SGTech, have launched the Singapore GreenTech Challenge 2023. This nationwide challenge aims to “accelerate the development and use of innovative sustainability solutions in Singapore, as the nation makes progress on its green plan and works towards getting to net zero by 2050,” Microsoft said.
IoT Integration Partner:Seeq Corporation, a developer of industrial internet of things advanced analytics software, announced Seeq Solution for Microsoft Sustainability Manager. The solution “enables sustainability teams to extend the power of Microsoft Sustainability Manager… to integrate time series process data preparation, analysis, and continuous improvement, reducing the environmental impact of process industry operations,” the company said.
AI Concerns and Sustainability: A blog assured customers and partners that the software company will leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a responsible way to assure fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability. The blog surfaced a few days after Elon Musk called for a six-month pause on big tech AI projects to study their potential implications…
Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund: The $1 billion Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, launched three years ago, has about $400 million left to invest, according to Bloomberg. Where will that money go? The fund’s directors will target areas set to benefit from the $370 billion in climate spending allocated by the Biden administration’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act, Bloomberg said.
March 2023: Microsoft Sustainability Strategy Milestones
Funding & Recycling: The company was among six major businesses to fund Circular Services, which positions itself as the largest privately held recycling company in the United States.
Agriculture Sustainability:Bayer — working with Sonata Software and Microsoft — has built a cloud solution for the agri-food industry. The solution will “benefit farmers seeking to track carbon emission and capture, track disease, pest and weed pressure, apply precision inputs, identify crop growth and production patterns, measure potential yield, and analyze heat stress impact, rainfall, hail and weather data,” Bayer said.
December 2022 - New Chief Sustainability Officer: New Microsoft Chief Sustainability Officer Melanie Nakagawa will focus on three major priorities at the cloud computing and software giant, according to a blog from President Brad Smith.