Microsoft ( (MSFT) – Get Microsoft Corporation Report) has positioned itself to be a climate change leader by encouraging its customers to shift to storing its data in its cloud service, Microsoft Azure.
Shifting to the cloud means that companies can slash energy usage by 65% and cut carbon emissions by more than 84%, according to research by Accenture.
In June, the software giant along with Accenture ( (ACN) – Get Accenture plc Class A (Ireland) Report) and their joint venture, Avanade, said they would work together to focus on finding climate change solutions to help companies emit less carbon by providing advisory services to them such as including sustainability when they design new products and services.
Getting Ready For the World of 2050
Changing from relying on fossil fuels to using more renewable energy remains a priority for the company, Microsoft President Brad Smith said in an interview with GeekWire last week at his office in Redmond, Washington.
“We live in this very interesting moment in time,” he said. “It’s almost got this tension between a short-term need to, in some ways, adapt to higher energy prices, while remaining focused on the need to change the nature of energy production, and shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and the like.”
Microsoft has a “very important and robust climate agenda and mission,” Smith said, but did not provide any details.
“We have multiple roles that we’re seeking to play,” he said. “Every day, when it comes to sustainability, we’re having to get ready for the world that will exist in 2050.”
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The company also said on June 29 it would start a research initiative to combat climate change called the Microsoft Climate Research Initiative (MCRI).
The new initiative will combine the tech company’s research and computing expertise while it collaborates with universities.
Researchers in various disciplines such as chemistry, environmental science and several engineering disciplines will work together. The top three critical areas that can see results in scientific transformations include lowering uncertainties in carbon accounting, overcoming constraints to decarbonization and assessing climate risks in greater detail.
ESG Pressure from Shareholders
Shareholders have increasingly pressured companies to adopt more climate change strategies to lower the amount of emissions.
The shift in pushing for more sustainability is being reflected in stock prices – companies that can show high ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance result in a shareholder return that is 2.6 times higher, according to Accenture research.
Microsoft said 72% of its new power generation in 2019 was from renewable sources and has sought a goal that half of its power generation after 2035 will come from renewables that are generated from wind, solar, and hydroelectric.
In November 2020, the company said it would commit to shift to 100% renewable energy supply in its buildings and data centers by 2025. Last year the company began tracking its usage hourly, said Noelle Walsh, a vice president in cloud operat
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