Sustainability and caring for the planet has ceased to be a fad to become a strategic priority for companies. Microsoft has stood out for leading this commitment to protecting the Earth.
“For a society like ours to be healthy, it needs a healthy planet”, is one of the slogans of technology. Maintaining nature and biodiversity for the benefit of current and future generations is already one of humanity’s greatest challenges and developing technology to achieve this is one of the company’s challenges.
Microsoft aims to create sustainable solutions in four key areas for the health of the planet and the future of humanity: agriculture, water, biodiversity and climate change.
The company works in four key areas: agriculture, water, biodiversity and climate change
Among the most important commitments of the company is to become a company Carbon Negative,.a plan to reduce and ultimately eliminate your carbon footprint. Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030, and by 2050 it will have removed more carbon from the environment than it has emitted in its entire history since its founding in 1975. It is an ambitious program to progressively reduce its direct CO emissions.2, those derived from its purchases through suppliers and those of the energy it uses, until they completely disappear in the middle of the decade.
This plan goes even further, as Microsoft will make its technology available to its suppliers and customers around the world to help them reduce their own carbon footprint. In addition, it has announced a Climate Innovation Fund of 1,000 million dollars (about 855 million euros) that will invest in the development of technologies that allow to eliminate, capture and reduce polluting emissions.
Responsible for your ecological footprint. Microsoft operates directly on nearly 4,500 hectares of land around the world, equivalent to three-quarters the size of Manhattan in New York. As part of its commitment, by 2025 it wants to protect more land than it uses.
In addition, more than 11 billion tons of waste are produced each year in the world, according to the United Nations Environment Program. Microsoft recognizes the urgent need to protect the world‘s ecosystems and reduce carbon emissions from the creation, distribution and disposal of waste. Its objective is, as it has already announced, to achieve zero waste in direct operations, products and packaging by 2030. A first step is set in 2025, when the company plans to end single-use plastics in its operations and in the packaging of its products, as well as those related to packaging of IT assets in its data centers.
Its AI for Earth project finances and supports two programs in Euskadi
Another of Microsoft’s goals is not only to reduce its water consumption, but to replenish more water than it consumes by 2030. The world is facing a drought crisis that is intensifying due to climate change. It is predicted that by 2050 one in four people could be living in countries affected by a chronic shortage of fresh water and, in some regions, this may have a direct impact on GDP, which could decrease by up to 6%.
Seas and oceans act as carbon sinks and their warming, by just 1.5 degrees, could have catastrophic consequences. Hence Microsoft’s goal of achieving a positive impact for water in its direct operations by 2030 and its commitment to advance the program. AI for Earth to collect and digitize water data to better understand where water stress is and optimize replenishment.
‘AI for Earth’, Artificial Intelligence to save the planet
The innovative initiative AI for Earth, launched since 2017, puts Microsoft cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in the hands of experts who work to face the greatest environmental challenges, to improve ecosystems and, ultimately, save the planet. The Microsoft initiative has a fund of 50 million dollars (about 42.7 million euros) for five years, in addition to technical advice and specialists from the companies. It’s about supporting organizations applying AI technology to green challenges, helping them get the most out of Azure cloud computing.
In Spain and, specifically, in Euskadi, Microsoft AI for Earth is promoting two projects in collaboration with the Basque Government: MarIA, for the optimization of floating aerial turbines, and AlonForest, to better understand the diseases of the pine forests of this autonomous community .
Planetary Computer for Biodiversity
As for the company, it works on the collection of environmental data from around the world and will process them, thanks to computer technology and machine learning on a platform that he has called Planetary Computer. This platform will provide answers to critical questions from scientists and environmental conservation organizations, providing them with information, satellite data and prediction algorithms that will enable decision-making on, among other things, climate change.
Microsoft understands its sustainability strategy in a global way and therefore works and develops plans, projects and initiatives in which customers, partners, NGOs and other organizations around the world are involved. “Working together, we can build a more sustainable future,” says Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s Global Director of Environment.
One of Microsoft’s newest initiatives is the viability of subsea data centers powered by renewable energy. In this sense, the, after two years of testing, has revealed that the future of bathing centers under the sea is reliable, practical and sustainable. These types of servers have experienced a failure rate eight times lower than expected in a conventional data center, thanks, among other things, to the nitrogen atmosphere used in the sealed capsule on the seabed of the Orkney Islands (Scotland) .