What Microsoft is doing to support a sustainable world

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Hello, and welcome to the place that will give you a glimpse into how Microsoft is helping the world move from pledges to progress and build a more sustainable world. As the 27th annual United Nations conference on Climate Change kicks off in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, we’ll be here with regular updates – don’t forget to keep checking in. 

Nov. 7, 2022 

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8:47am PT: Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, highlighted the fundamental role that technology can play in ensuring that early warnings reach the last mile.

“This UN initiative will save lives by enabling people to adapt to climate change and respond to early warnings before disaster strikes.”

Read more about the Early Warnings for All Action Plan unveiled today at #COP27 

12:01 am PT: The eyes of the world turn to Egypt as the 2022 UN Conference on Climate Change (COP27) kicks off in Sharm El-Sheikh. Through its role as Strategic Principal Sponsor, Microsoft aims to help people and organizations better understand how technology can help solve many of today’s complex climate challenges. 

One way technology can do this is by supporting the needs of the Global South – countries with lower levels of economic and industrial development. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, which contribute to problems such as food insecurity and exacerbate existing challenges including poverty, decision-makers in the Global South need access to reliable climate data to inform adaption and resilience projects. Not only is there insufficient reliable climate data in the Global South, but there is also a significant lack of data scientists to work with the data available. Research shows that there are approximately five data scientists in the Global North for every one in the Global South – meaning there is a significant gap in the Global South’s ability to turn climate data into insights for decision-making and action. 

Today, Microsoft shared details of an expansion of the AI for Good Research Lab to Kenya and Egypt to help close this data divide. You can read more here:

 

Nov. 4, 2022 

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Last week, more than 100 CEOs of multinational organizations – members of the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders – shared an open letter for world leaders meeting at COP27. The letter, which was signed by Vice Chair and President of Microsoft Brad Smith, outlines the actions the leaders believe governments and businesses need to take to ensure the private sector’s potential in limiting global warming is fully realized. Read the letter here:

Nov. 3, 2022 

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When it comes to working our way out of the climate crisis, we’ll need all of the innovative solutions we can muster.  

That was the theme of Brad Smith’s keynote speech at the 2022 edition of the annual technology conference Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal last week. The Vice Chair and President of Microsoft spoke to the audience of technology CEOs, start-up founders and policymakers about the importance of ingenuity and inventiveness in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. 

Elsewhere, climate action nonprofit TerraPraxis announced that it will launch the first digital application to decarbonize coal plants at COP27. Microsoft helped develop the application, Evaluate, which is built on Microsoft Azure and designed to help plant owners and investors analyze how coal-fired power plants could be upgraded to carbon-free energy sources. 

And Microsoft announced Environmental Credit Service, a Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability solution that gives increased visibility into the provenance and quality of carbon credits. Read more here:

Nov. 2, 2022  

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If companies are to meet their climate pledges, they’re going to need a workforce with the right skills. But right now, there’s a global shortage of this talent. 

A new Microsoft report released last week, Closing the Sustainability Skills Gap: Helping Businesses Move from Pledges to Progress, addresses this issue. Based on research conducted by Microsoft and Boston Consulting Group, the report highlights this skills gap and offers concrete recommendations for business leaders and policymakers on what can be done about it. 

It’s a challenge that calls for sweeping changes, including equipping workers with specialized sustainability skills and embedding sustainability science into the day-to-day operations of organizations. But it can be solved – with collaboration, data, and a huge global effort.  

Ahead of COP27, Microsoft also shared news today of the latest improvements to efficiency in its datacenters across areas such as waste, renewables, and ecosystems. Read more about these improvements here:

What has Microsoft learned on its sustainability journey so far? Earlier this month, Elisabeth Brinton, Microsoft CVP Sustainability, captured several lessons from Microsoft’s sustainability efforts.

Sept. 22, 2022 

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At the end of September, more than 160 countries and 3,900 companies around the world have issued climate pledges. However, with a new United Nations Environment Programme report stating that the world is not on track to reach the Paris Agreement goals – and calling for immediate collective, multilateral action – the need to move from pledges to progress is clear.  

But what does that look like in practice? 

Microsoft – which believes it can help connect what technology can do with what the world needs it to do – breaks this transition down into three key areas: 

  • Advancing the sustainability of our own business 
  • Innovating our way out of the climate crisis and helping our customers achieve more 
  • Enabling and supporting a sustainable world. 

During the UN General Assembly, held in New York City in September 2022, Microsoft made some key announcements on how it plans to do this. 

Two papers were released: one on carbon policy and one on electricity policy, which help illustrate Microsoft’s principles and priority areas clearly and transparently – including how the company will engage with governments around the world in these areas. 

Microsoft also announced a partnership with Planet and The Nature Conservancy to map the entirety of the world’s solar and wind supply, producing a first-of-its-kind Global Renewables Watch. This tool will allow users to evaluate clean energy transition progress and track trends over a period of time, rather than as a moment in time.  

Sept. 15, 2022

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Back in September, Microsoft and climate action nonprofit TerraPraxis formed a strategic collaboration to repower 2,400 coal-fired power plants. It will see Microsoft help build and deploy a set of tools to automate the design and regulatory approval needed to decarbonize coal facilities with nuclear power. 



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