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Our 2024 Environmental Sustainability Report

At this time, Microsoft printed the 2024 Environmental Sustainability Report. This report covers fiscal yr 2023, and measures progress towards our 2020 baseline. You possibly can learn the foreword beneath and discover the report in its entirety right here.

Accelerating innovation and partnership for folks and the planet

4 years in the past, Microsoft dedicated that, by 2030, we’d turn out to be carbon adverse, water optimistic, zero waste, and shield extra land than we use. Since that announcement, we now have seen main modifications each within the know-how sector and in our understanding of what it’ll take to satisfy our local weather objectives. New applied sciences, together with generative AI, maintain promise for brand spanking new improvements that may assist deal with the local weather disaster. On the similar time, the infrastructure and electrical energy wanted for these applied sciences create new challenges for assembly sustainability commitments throughout the tech sector. As we take inventory as an organization in 2024, we stay resolute in our dedication to satisfy our local weather objectives and to empower others with the know-how wanted to construct a extra sustainable future.

On the finish of final yr, the world met in Dubai at COP28 to evaluate world sustainability progress. The outcomes have been sobering. The world will not be on monitor to satisfy vital local weather objectives, and we see most of the world’s challenges mirrored in our personal state of affairs. Throughout the previous 4 years, we now have overcome a number of bottlenecks and have accelerated progress in significant methods. As we report right here, we’re on monitor in a number of areas. However not in each space. We due to this fact are mobilizing to speed up progress in areas the place we’re not but on monitor.

In 4 areas we’re on monitor, and in every of those we see progress that has the potential to have world impression past our personal sustainability work. These are:

  • Decreasing our direct operational emissions (Scope 1 and a pair of)
  • Accelerating carbon elimination
  • Designing for circularity to reduce waste and reusing cloud {hardware}
  • Bettering biodiversity and defending extra land than we use

On the similar time, there are two areas the place we’re not but on monitor, and in every of those we’re intensively engaged in work to determine and pursue further breakthroughs. These are:

  • Decreasing our Scope 3, or oblique, emissions
  • Decreasing water use and replenishing extra water than we devour in our datacenter operations

Even amid the challenges, we stay optimistic. We’re inspired by ongoing progress throughout our campuses and datacenters, and all through our price chain. Much more, we’re impressed by the scores of executives and workers throughout Microsoft who’re rolling up their sleeves and figuring out new and revolutionary steps which can be serving to us to shut vital gaps. All of us acknowledge the identical factor: There isn’t any problem immediately that connects everybody on the planet greater than the problems round local weather change. All of us must succeed collectively.

Carbon adverse

Our carbon adverse dedication consists of three major areas: decreasing carbon emissions; rising use of carbon-free electrical energy; and carbon elimination. We made significant progress on carbon-free electrical energy and carbon elimination in FY23. Microsoft has taken a first-mover method to supporting carbon-free electrical energy infrastructure, making long-term investments to carry extra carbon-free electrical energy onto the grids the place we function.

In 2023, we elevated our contracted portfolio of renewable power property to greater than 19.8 gigawatts (GW), together with initiatives in 21 nations. In FY23, we additionally contracted 5,015,019 metric tons of carbon elimination to be retired over the subsequent 15 years. We’re persevering with to construct a portfolio of initiatives, balanced throughout low, medium, and excessive sturdiness options.

Carbon discount continues to be an space of focus, particularly as we work to deal with Scope 3 emissions. In 2023, we noticed our Scope 1 and a pair of emissions lower by 6.3% from our 2020 baseline. This space stays on monitor to satisfy our objectives. However our oblique emissions (Scope 3) elevated by 30.9%. In combination, throughout all Scopes 1–3, Microsoft’s emissions are up 29.1% from the 2020 baseline.

The rise in our Scope 3 emissions primarily comes from the development of extra datacenters and the related embodied carbon in constructing supplies, in addition to {hardware} parts resembling semiconductors, servers, and racks. Our challenges are partly distinctive to our place as a number one cloud provider that’s increasing its datacenters. However, much more, we mirror the challenges the world should overcome to develop and use greener concrete, metal, fuels, and chips. These are the largest drivers of our Scope 3 challenges.

We’ve got launched a company-wide initiative to determine and develop the added measures we’ll want to scale back our Scope 3 emissions.

Leaders in each space of the corporate have stepped as much as sponsor and drive this work. This led to the event of greater than 80 discrete and vital measures that may assist us scale back these emissions – together with a brand new requirement for choose scale, high-volume suppliers to make use of 100% carbon-free electrical energy for Microsoft delivered items and providers by 2030. As an entire, this work builds on our multi-prong technique, this yr specializing in the next:

  1. Bettering measurement by harnessing the facility of digital know-how to garner higher perception and motion
  2. Growing effectivity by making use of datacenter improvements that enhance effectivity as rapidly as doable
  3. Forging partnerships to speed up know-how breakthroughs by our investments and AI capabilities, together with for greener metal, concrete, and fuels
  4. Constructing markets through the use of our buying energy to speed up market demand for these kind of breakthroughs
  5. Advocating for public coverage modifications that may speed up local weather advances

Water optimistic

We take a holistic method to changing into water optimistic, which incorporates water entry, replenishment, innovation, discount, and coverage. In 2023, we achieved our water entry goal by offering greater than 1.5 million folks with entry to scrub water and sanitation options. We contracted water replenishment initiatives estimated to supply greater than 25 million m3 in volumetric water profit over the lifetime of those initiatives – sufficient water to fill about 10,000 Olympic-sized swimming swimming pools. Lastly, we proceed to drive innovation in water, by first-of-their form replenishment initiatives like FIDO, which leverages AI-enabled acoustic evaluation to scale back water loss from leakage.

Trying forward, as our datacenter enterprise continues to develop, so does the necessity to reduce our water consumption and replenish greater than we devour in these operations. In FY23, our progress on water accelerated, and we all know we have to implement a good stronger plan to speed up it additional. We due to this fact are investing in our water optimistic dedication in 4 methods:

  1. We’re taking motion to scale back the depth with which we withdraw assets by persevering with to design and innovate to be able to reduce water use and obtain our depth goal
  2. Our new datacenters are designed and optimized to assist AI workloads and can devour zero water for cooling. This initiative goals to additional scale back our world reliance on freshwater assets as AI compute calls for improve
  3. We’re partnering to advance water coverage. In 2023, we joined the Coalition for Water Recycling. Over the approaching yr we’ll finalize a place and technique for water coverage
  4. We’re creating revolutionary scalable replenishment initiatives in excessive water stress places the place we function datacenters. We lately introduced Water United, a brand new initiative to unite private and non-private sectors in decreasing water loss from leakage throughout the Colorado River Basin

Zero waste

Our journey to zero waste consists of decreasing waste at our campuses and datacenters, advancing round cloud {hardware} and packaging, and enhancing machine and packaging circularity. In FY23, we achieved a reuse and recycle charge of 89.4% for servers and parts throughout all cloud {hardware}, a goal that’s more and more essential as wants for cloud providers proceed to develop. In 2023, we additionally diverted greater than 18,537 metric tons of waste from landfills or incinerators throughout our owned datacenters and campuses, and we diminished single-use plastics in our Microsoft product packaging to 2.7%.

From increasing our Round Facilities to piloting applications that give a second life to used fiber optic cables by partnerships with native technical colleges, we’re working to maintain supplies in use longer and method our work at each stage with circularity in thoughts. We’re accelerating our work to reuse and recycle cloud {hardware} wherever doable, and launched two new Round Facilities in Quincy, Washington, and Chicago, Illinois in 2023.

Defending ecosystems

We’ve got dedicated to defending extra land than we use by 2025, whereas preserving and restoring ecosystems within the areas the place we reside and work. As of FY23, we exceeded our land safety goal by greater than 40%. At this level, 15,849 acres of land have been legally designated as completely protected in comparison with our purpose of 11,000 acres.

We’re incorporating inexperienced enterprise practices that assist the encircling ecosystems close to our campuses and datacenters. This consists of regenerative design options round our datacenters that improve native biodiversity, improved stormwater administration, and contributing to local weather resilience. We’re additionally piloting AI-driven Microsoft know-how to supply insights into the general well being of the ecosystem and inform future actions.

Buyer and world sustainability

In final yr’s Environmental Sustainability Report, we introduced that we have been increasing our ambition to assist advance sustainability for our clients and the world. In 2023, we continued this work to empower our clients and companions on their very own sustainability journey by creating the know-how wanted to higher handle assets and optimize techniques. On a world scale, we targeted on accelerating innovation, analysis, and coverage, not just for ourselves but additionally to assist a extra sustainable world for all.

The shift from pledges to progress requires motion, transparency, and accountability. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability helps clients unify knowledge and garner richer insights into the sustainability of their enterprise. In 2023, we expanded Microsoft Sustainability Supervisor to incorporate Scopes 1, 2, and all 15 classes of Scope 3 carbon emissions to assist monitor progress and inform motion throughout a company’s operations and worth chains.

Because the world experiences worsening impacts of local weather change, we’re additionally serving to to place planetary knowledge into the fingers of researchers, governments, firms, and people by the Planetary Laptop. We’re offering open entry to petabytes of environmental monitoring knowledge to assist empower folks with actionable data to guard their communities.

Microsoft’s sustainability progress requires world engagement. We’re investing in revolutionary options, advancing analysis, and advocating for insurance policies that we consider can drive progress at scale. An indicator of this effort has been our Local weather Innovation Fund (CIF) – our $1 billion dedication set in 2020 to advance innovation past Microsoft’s 4 partitions. To this point, the CIF has allotted $761 million towards revolutionary local weather applied sciences together with business direct air-capture applied sciences, sustainable aviation gas (SAF), industrial decarbonization, and extra.

Our science, analysis, and AI for Good groups are additionally working to speed up options and develop local weather resilience with AI. In November 2023, we printed a whitepaper and playbook that expands on the unbelievable potential of AI for sustainability. By means of our AI for Good staff, we’re collaborating with the United Nations to analysis using AI to advance the Early Warning for All Initiative, with a purpose of higher understanding the populations which may be prone to excessive climate occasions and different threats.

Final yr, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella referred to as local weather change “the defining problem of our technology.” To fulfill this generational problem, we’re placing sustainability on the heart of our work. With every rising know-how, with every new alternative, we ask ourselves an essential query: How can we advance sustainability?

As we attempt to reply that query, we’re creating new approaches, experimenting with new partnerships, and studying as we go. We’re optimistic in regards to the position know-how can proceed to play in accelerating local weather progress, and we stay up for working with others on this vital journey for all of us.

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