Microsoft’s recently released sustainability report for 2022 highlights the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility and its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Despite experiencing an 18% growth, Microsoft managed to decrease overall emissions by 0.5% through investments in advanced technologies such as carbon removal techniques, sustainable aviation fuel purchases, and renewable energy sources. The company successfully removed 1,443,981 metric tonnes of carbon in FY22, equivalent to removing 320,000 passenger vehicles from the road or completely cutting off the power supply to Tipperary, Ireland.
A notable improvement in this year’s report is Microsoft’s ability to disaggregate and identify previously unreported electricity usage in some leased data centres. This indicates the company’s ongoing efforts to enhance transparency and data accuracy in its sustainability reporting.
With the introduction of Windows 11 in September 2022, Microsoft implemented the first “carbonaware” updates in a PC operating system, enhancing the efficiency of Microsoft Azure and reducing the carbon intensity of Microsoft 365 cloud services. The company aims to transition Azure to operate entirely on renewable energy by 2025, offering cloud-based IT infrastructure solutions that can significantly reduce operating emissions when organisations migrate their computing workloads to Microsoft data centres.
Furthermore, Microsoft’s cloud-based products and services, such as Azure and Power Platform, empower organisations to track, analyse, and report on their sustainability metrics, enabling them to achieve their sustainability goals.
The report also highlights the growing importance of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) regulation, particularly as the EU’s CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) approaches. To ensure consistent and accurate reporting, organisations must minimise the risk of human error and unintentional greenwashing. This requires addressing the challenge of handling vast amounts of data from various entities, necessitating the establishment of robust data foundations.
Microsoft emphasizes the role of AI in supporting sustainability efforts, mentioning how technologies like ChatGPT can assist organisations in selecting relevant ESG data and automating the reporting process, ultimately enabling them to achieve more with less time and resources.
From a customer perspective, Microsoft’s sustainability initiatives offer reassurance that the company is actively accelerating the reduction of carbon footprints. By leveraging cloud-based solutions, organisations can shift their IT infrastructure management and maintenance responsibilities to the cloud provider, benefiting from more cost-effective and environmentally friendly systems powered by renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
In summary, Microsoft’s sustainability report demonstrates its unwavering dedication to sustainability, as reflected in its carbon reduction strategies, use of renewable energy, and provision of cloud-based solutions that enable organisations to align their IT systems with positive environmental measures.
You can read the detailed report here.