Business Highlight: Microsoft

Earlier this month Microsoft reported that it plans to cut emissions by 75% by the year 2030. This is a big step in their initiative to incorporate sustainable and clean energy. The company has previously stated that by the year 2018 half of their electricity will come from renewable sources.  Microsoft hopes to reach goals set by the Paris Climate Accords by using its global influence to inspire others to establish environmentally friendly initiatives; additionally, the company supports public policy that creates market incentives for green energy.

Microsoft is dedicated to using clean, sustainable energy as a way to be ecologically advantageous and to benefit the business itself. They plan to increase green energy use and invest in technologies that benefit a wide range of companies and communities. For example, Microsoft is investing in technology which creates clean and resilient energy grids. Additionally, Microsoft supports the development of clean energy products through partnerships and investments to make it cheaper and more accessible. Power Purchase agreements are used to allocate green energy to datacenters and lower financial risks for renewable energy developments.

Energy

With the rapid growth of cloud technology, the amount of energy consumed increases. Microsoft has purchased 237 megawatts of wind energy which enables their datacenter in Cheyenne, Wyoming to be powered solely by wind. The company has made datacenters backup generators available to the local grid to increase reliability and maintain low prices. Additionally, by partnering with local utilities they have made it easier for cities and states to adopt a clean energy grid. Microsoft has been carbon neutral since 2012 and to date, 44% of electricity consumed by Microsoft databases comes from wind, solar and hydropower.
 

AI for Earth

Microsoft has top of the line AI technology which it is using to battle environmental challenges. AI capabilities are being channeled to increase technological innovations and to create educational opportunities which provide organizations with access to tools and the knowledge of how to best use them. The use of AI will allow fast and efficient technological advances, improvements on current projects and research for future innovation.

Some of the programs include:

Project Premonition detects pathogens before they cause outbreaks. This is accomplished by using living mosquitos as devices to collect data and detect pathogens.

FarmBeats facilitates data- driven farming using connectivity infrastructure, cloud and machine learning to deliver relevant data to farmers. This, along with the famers own experience and knowledge, increases efficiency, reduces costs and decreases environmental risks.
 

Water

Microsoft is dedicated to reduce the amount of water used at its datacenters. They utilize data to conserve water and create air cooling methods which use 90% less water. Additionally, the company hopes to develop programs and tools to tackle water shortages and pollutions globally.
 

Product Sustainability

Microsoft produces devices which have minimal environmental impact which follow strict criteria. These standards generate products which are safe and sustainable to employees and customers. Recycling of resources and energy, reduction of wastes, and sourcing raw materials are some of the environmental principals utilized by Microsoft.

Sarah Taber