Microsoft’s carbon negative goals could push other tech companies to catch up

The company claims it will remove all carbon its produced in its history by 2050

Jan.January 25, 2020 09:00 AM
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Credit: Getty Images and Microsoft)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Credit: Getty Images and Microsoft)

Earlier this month, Microsoft promised to go carbon negative by 2030. It’s the first major tech company to publicly make such a pledge, setting the bar for other industry giants.

Microsoft president Brad Smith earlier this month outlined a plan “to reduce and ultimately remove Microsoft’s carbon footprint” by 2050. By 2025 the company claims it will use 100 percent renewable energy and by the end of the decade will remove more carbon from the air than it produces, according to The Information.

“…by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975,” Smith said in a blog post.

The ambitious pledge puts it out in front of many other tech companies, at least as far as promises go. Apple and Facebook have no timeline for carbon neutrality. Alphabet has been carbon neutral since 2007 — five years longer than Microsoft — but hasn’t set a carbon negative goal.

Amazon pledged last year to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and go carbon neutral by 2040, the same year that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state will go carbon neutral.

Microsoft’s plan includes supporting tree-planting operations and working with companies that capture and store carbon underground. It will also internally “tax” its divisions for carbon emissions and use that money to fund sustainability efforts.

Electricity is almost impossible to track through a grid, so most large companies reduce emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits. Credits “claim” green energy production on the grid, but allows them to still pull electricity from traditional producers. [The Information]Dennis Lynch

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