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New Microsoft Chief Sustainability Officer: Top 3 Priorities

January 9, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

New Microsoft Chief Sustainability Officer Melanie Nakagawa (pictured above) will focus on three major priorities at the cloud computing and software giant, according to a blog from Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Brad Smith, president, Microsoft

Microsoft, Smith asserted, will:

  1. Continue to "drive toward achieving by 2030 our commitments to become carbon negative, water positive and zero waste as a company while contributing to the biodiversity of the planet."
  2. "Accelerate innovation and deliver technology to help our customers and partners achieve their sustainability goals."
  3. "Partner with governments, nonprofits, and businesses to spur the broader societal enabling factors critical to global sustainability progress."

Nakagawa surfaced at Microsoft in January 2023 after holding key posts in the U.S. government and private sector. Her experience includes:

Smith, in a prepared statement about Nakagawa, said: "Melanie and the Environmental Sustainability team she will lead acts as a fulcrum across Microsoft, helping to bring everyone together and speaking publicly for the company. This is like the role that our corporate teams play in a variety of other areas, including accessibility, digital safety, privacy, human rights and responsible AI. As we’ve learned, the difference between success and failure always turns on our ability to work effectively as a team across a large company and with an even larger digital ecosystem."

Meanwhile, Microsoft also continues to expand its software R&D around sustainability. A case in point: Keep an eye on the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability effort.

Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC. Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to fulfill those CSOs needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

Related: See our timeline of Microsoft Sustainability Developments.

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