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  • Kris

What is “carbon-neutrality” and how has Microsoft been rocking it?

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

Every business, no matter the size, can boost the greenhouse effect by producing carbon emissions. Since customers become more educated about capitalism’s impact on global warming, climate protection and consumer behavior have been connected more than ever.

That is why more and more companies commit to becoming “carbon-neutral” in the future.

Carbon offset projects help analyze the existing carbon emissions of the brand to fully reduce them at the end. Achieving carbon neutrality is a time-consuming process but what matters the most – it is possible.

By 2012, Microsoft was already the third-biggest green power customer in the US. The same year, the company committed to reducing its environmental footprint by turning its software labs, data centers, air travel, and office buildings carbon neutral. The brand has made 825,000 Xbox consoles carbon neutral (it is the world's first gaming console to become a carbon-neutral product across the lifecycle of its emissions).

Every single division of the corporation became accountable for its use of energy and the amount of carbon it generates while also getting rewarded for purchasing renewable sources of power. In 2019, Microsoft doubled its internal carbon fee (so-called internal Microsoft tax that holds all the business units financially responsible for reducing carbon footprint) to $15 per metric ton on all carbon emissions.

Last January, Microsoft made two important statements. Firstly, the company aims to become “carbon-negative” by 2030 (meaning they will reduce more carbon from the environment than they will emit). Secondly, chief executive Satya Nadella pledged to remove all of the carbon from the environment they emitted for the last 45 years - since 1975. If you are wondering how, here are a few ways of tackling climate change Microsoft suggested recently:

  • Shifting to a 100 percent supply of renewable energy;

  • Electrifying all the global campus operations vehicle fleet;

  • Raising current internal carbon tax to cover scope 3 emissions;

  • Seeding new forests and expanding existing ones;

  • Putting carbon back into the ground (“soil carbon sequestration”). This could be achieved by adding microbes and nutrients to parched earth making the soil more fertile and less susceptible to erosion;

  • Removing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere ( "direct air capture") by using large fans to move air through a filter that can remove the gas;

  • Setting up a $1 billion Innovation Fund to develop carbon removal technology and expand access to capital around the world to people working to solve this problem;

  • Launching the Microsoft Sustainability Calculator that analyses the estimated emissions from all their services;

  • Using their voice and power on carbon-related public policy issues.

Carbon-neutrality might sound complicated, especially for someone who just started. Nevertheless, it is important to remember – even small actions can have a significant environmental impact, both positive or negative.

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