Microsoft requires key suppliers to use 100% carbon-free electricity as supply chain emissions increase

Microsoft has announced a new policy for some of its key suppliers to use 100% carbon-free electricity, as part of a series of actions the company is taking to get back on track towards its goal of reducing emissions across the value chain.

The new policy was announced with the release of Microsoft’s 2024 Environmental Sustainability Report, which assesses the company’s progress on key sustainability goals. Microsoft launched a series of goals in 2020, including commitments to become carbon neutral, water positive, and zero waste by 2030, as well as protecting more of the land it uses by that date.

According to the report, while Microsoft is on track to achieve its goals in many areas, including operational emissions reductions, accelerating decarbonization, reducing waste, improving biodiversity, and protecting more of the land it uses, it is not on track. After to reduce scope 3. or indirect emissions or on its goal to reduce water use and replenish more water than it consumes in data center operations.

Among the most challenging areas highlighted in the report are the company’s efforts to reduce value chain emissions. While Microsoft has set a goal to reduce Scope 3 emissions by more than half by 2030 compared to 2020, the company reported that Scope 3 emissions in 2023 were actually more than 30% higher than in 2020. In the introduction to the report, Microsoft’s president said This increase was driven by data center construction, including embodied carbon in building materials as well as hardware components, said Brad Smith and Chief Sustainability Officer Melanie Nakagawa.

Scope 3 emissions represent the vast majority – more than 96% – of Microsoft’s total emissions footprint, with growth in Scope 3 resulting in a 29% increase in total emissions since 2020, despite declines in the company’s direct Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Smith and Nakagawa said:

“The challenges we face are unique in part to our position as a leading cloud vendor that is expanding its data centers. But more importantly, we reflect the challenges the world must overcome in order to develop and use greener concrete, steel, fuels and chips. These are the biggest drivers of the challenges Our 3rd range.

Microsoft announced that it has launched a company-wide initiative to identify and develop measures to address Scope 3 emissions challenges, and the company stated that it has developed “more than 80 separate and important actions that will help us reduce these emissions,” including new zero-carbon electricity requirements. 100% to selected high-volume suppliers, as well as initiatives to improve scaling, increase efficiencies in data centers, and establish partnerships to accelerate technological breakthroughs in areas including green steel, concrete, and fuels, using the company’s procurement ability to accelerate market demand for advanced technologies, and advocate for Climate-focused public policy changes.

Microsoft also detailed the strategies it is pursuing to accelerate its water sustainability efforts, including designing and innovating to reduce water intensity, optimizing data centers to support AI workloads and consuming no water for cooling, a water advocacy partnership, and plans to finalize a policy strategy. Water this year, and developing renovation projects in sites with high water pressure where the company operates data centers.

Smith and Nakagawa wrote:

“Even in the face of challenges, we remain optimistic. We are encouraged by the continued progress across our campuses and data centers, and across our value chain. Moreover, we have been inspired by dozens of executives and employees across Microsoft who are rolling up their sleeves and identifying new, innovative steps that help us close critical gaps.” “We all realize the same thing: there is no issue today that connects everyone on the planet more than climate change. We all need to succeed.”

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