Microsoft 2021 Environmental Sustainability Report

From pledges to progress

Microsoft has one of the most robust sustainability programs that goes beyond their own footprint and environmental impact. The company is currently two years into their ten-year journey to becoming a carbon negative, water positive, zero waste company by 2030. Their first annual sustainability report released in January 2021 outlines early progress on their commitments — and goes a step further by detailing context, key trends, and other insights that companies across industries can use in their own sustainability initiatives.

By 2030, Microsoft is committed to being carbon negative, and by 2050, they will remove their historical emissions since they were founded in 1975.

 

Last year, they made the world’s largest purchase of carbon removal at 1.4 million metric tons and in this fiscal year are on track to top that by procuring 1.5 million metric tons.

 

In 2021, the company reduced Scope 1and 2 emissions by 16.9%. Overall device and Scope 3 emissions grew because of higher sales and usage in 2021, but Microsoft was able to reduce the carbon footprint for several of its products.

 

To uphold their commitment to reduce Scope 3 emissions by 50% by 2030, Microsoft plans to implement reduction strategies in campuses and datacenters, rethink design of their devices, and engage more with their supply chain.

 

Surface Pro 8 is one of the most energy efficient Surface Pros ever and the company introduced Energy Saver, a new low-power standby mode for Xbox consoles.

 

87% of Microsoft’s in-scope suppliers reported their emissions to CDP, up 12% from 2020.

 

In 2021, the company announced the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability to provide comprehensive, integrated, and automated sustainability management for organizations at any stage of the sustainability journey.

 

The vast majority of Microsoft’s direct carbon emissions footprint comes from electricity. The company’s new 100/100/0 goal is a commitment that by 2030, 100% of their energy supply, 100% of the time, will come from carbon-free resources.

 

Microsoft is one of the largest purchasers of renewable energy in the world. Across 2020 and the first part of 2021, they signed new purchase agreements for approximately 6 GW of renewable energy across 10 countries around the globe (35 individual deals).

 

By 2024, Microsoft is committed to reducing water waste in their datacenter operations by 95% and becoming water positive by providing 1.5 million more people access to clean water.

 

Four data centers are Zero Waste certified, with new certifications for the San Antonio, Texas and Quincy, Washington data centers and renewed certifications for Microsoft’s Boydton, Virginia and Dublin, Ireland locations.

 

Microsoft takes a circular approach that includes design and material selection, responsibly sourcing materials for their operations, products, and packaging, and increasing the use of recycled content.

 

Through an investment from their Climate Innovation Fund, Microsoft is helping LanzaJet complete their sustainable fuels plant in Georgia — a move that will help decarbonize their data centers as well as the airline industry.

 

Microsoft granted $100 million to Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to accelerate the development of climate solutions the world needs to reach net-zero across four key areas: direct air capture, green hydrogen, long duration energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuel.

 

Microsoft’s land use footprint totals 11,000 acres.

 

The Microsoft Sustainability Connected Community is an employee-led group of 5,000 members and 32 regional chapters whose mission is to make sustainability part of everybody’s job.

 

The company plans to aggregate environmental data from around the world and put it to work through computing and machine learning in a new Planetary Computer. The Planetary Computer private preview released as planned in April 2021, with more than 500 users signed up and using the APIs and scalable compute.

$100M

granted to Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to accelerate global climate solutions

17,000+

acres contracted to be protected in FY21

As a leading technology provider of sustainable solutions, Microsoft stands ready to support our customers, partners, and the world in the move towards a net zero, environmentally sustainable future.

Microsoft continues to innovate and invest to meet the ambitious commitments they’ve set forth for 2030. Simply committing to pledges isn’t enough. By staying transparent about their own progress, Microsoft hopes their updates, challenges, and learnings will encourage others along the journey, too. Their sustainability and reduction initiatives span across campuses and data centers, their devices, and the larger supply chain.

 

Outside of their reduction and goals, Microsoft aims to drive global change with policy, investment, catalytic partnerships, and research and development. The revolutionary Planetary Computer will support sustainability decision-making and empower the world to learn and take action faster.

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15,200 tons

of solid waste diverted in FY21

18%

reduction in single-use plastics in Microsoft product packaging in FY21

We believe that Microsoft’s most important contribution to protecting ecosystems and biodiversity is delivering the Planetary Computer, which provides access to the world’s critical environmental datasets, AI, and digital technology.