I can’t believe I teared up reading a business article today. Not so much the cause or the initiative, but the way the article was written and explained, it truly showed the dire straights of what we are facing in modern humanity in 2020. The climate crisis is no joke, and is not a trend. It is something that truly needs leadership and action NOW.
At Quantaloop we hope to make it easy and affordable for every business in the world to be able to follow Microsoft’s lead to becoming a carbon negative company. At Quantaloop, we provide the tools and help you set and define a timeline to achieve planet regeneration goals.
To start off, Microsoft explains the different between being “carbon neutral” and being “net zero.” While they sound similar, in fact they’re different.
- Given common usage, companies have typically said they’re “carbon neutral” if they offset their emissions with payments either to avoid a reduction in emissions or remove carbon from the atmosphere. But these are two very different things. For example, one way to avoid a reduction in emissions is to pay someone not to cut down the trees on the land they own. This is a good thing, but in effect it pays someone not to do something that would have a negative impact. It doesn’t lead to planting more trees that would have a positive impact by removing carbon.
- In contrast, “net zero” means that a company actually removes as much carbon as it emits. The reason the phrase is “net zero” and not just “zero” is because there are still carbon emissions, but these are equal to carbon removal. And “carbon negative” means that a company is removing more carbon than it emits each year.
Microsoft continues by stating that it is launching an aggressive plan to reduce Microsoft’s own carbon emissions composed of three broad components.
“First, we will drive down our scope 1 and 2 emissions to near zero by the middle of this decade through the following steps:
- By 2025, we will shift to 100 percent supply of renewable energy, meaning that we will have power purchase agreements for green energy contracted for 100 percent of carbon emitting electricity consumed by all our data centers, buildings, and campuses.
- We will electrify our global campus operations vehicle fleet by 2030.
- We will pursue International Living Future Institute Zero Carbon certification and LEED Platinum certification for our Silicon Valley Campus and Puget Sound Campus Modernization projects.
Second, we will reduce our scope 3 emissions by more than half by 2030 through new steps, including the following:
- In July 2020, we will start phasing in our current internal carbon tax to cover our scope 3 emissions. Currently this fee is $15/metric ton and covers all scope 1 and 2 emissions, plus scope 3 travel emissions. Unlike some other companies, our internal carbon tax isn’t a “shadow fee” that is calculated but not charged. Our fee is paid by each division in our business based on its carbon emissions, and the funds are used to pay for sustainability improvements.
Reducing carbon is where the world needs to go, and Microsoft recognizes that it’s what customers and employees are asking them to pursue. This is a bold bet — a moonshot — for Microsoft. And it will need to become a moonshot for the world.
“It won’t be easy for Microsoft to become carbon negative by 2030. But we believe it’s the right goal. And with the right commitment, it’s an achievable goal. We will need to continue to learn and adapt, both separately and even more importantly in close collaboration with others around the world. We believe we launch this new initiative today with a well-developed plan and a clear line of sight, but we have problems to solve and technologies that need to be invented. It’s time to get to work.”
You can read the full Microsoft plan and post here on their blog here, it is very well written and highly worth the read. Thank you Microsoft for taking such an amazing leadership position and taking such a moonshot bet to be carbon negative by 2030.
Want to learn more about how you can become a planet friendly, triple-bottom line business of people, planet and profit? Or perhaps you want to round out your brand story, Quantaloop can help. Get started by building your free eco-scorecard today!