Microsoft will replenish more water than it consumes by 2030
Water is essential to life. We depend on it for our survival. The basic need has shaped how human societies have advanced over time. Explorers from pre-Columbian times and the age of antiquity to NASA have lived by the motto “follow the water” as they have sought and continue to seek to discover new opportunities for the expansion of human civilization.
While water is plentiful – covering 70% of the Earth’s surface – 97% of this water is saline, located in our oceans, and not fit to drink or use for crops. That’s why we’re announcing an ambitious commitment for Microsoft to be water positive for our direct operations by 2030. We’re tackling our water consumption in two ways: reducing our water use intensity – or the water we use per megawatt of energy used for our operations – and replenishing water in the water- stressed regions we operate. This means that by 2030 Microsoft will replenish more water than it consumes on a global basis.
Water positive by 2030
We’ll do this by putting back more water in stressed basins than our global water consumption across all basins. The amount returned will be determined by how much water we use and how stressed the basin is.
Our replenishment strategy will include investments in projects such as wetland restoration and the removal of impervious surfaces like asphalt, which will help replenish water back into the basins that need it most. This reflects a science-based assessment of the world’s water basins. The majority of the world’s freshwater is divided into 16,396 basins, each of which has been assigned a “baseline water stress” score by the World Resources Institute (WRI), a leading nonprofit global research organization that focuses on natural resources.
Digitizing water data
We will also use our technology to better understand where water stress is emerging and optimize water replenishment investments across a region.
Climate Innovation Fund investment: Emerald Technology Ventures
Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund is investing $10 million in the Emerald Technology Ventures’ $100 million Global Impact Fund, whose investors also include Temasek, Ecolab and SKion. This fund is one of the few funds solely focused on water strategy.
This is the third investment the Climate Innovation Fund has made in one of company’s four sustainability focus areas.
Empowering our customers
Technologies like IoT and AI are playing a critical role in improving water quality and water efficiency. For example, the Azure IoT Central government app templates includes remote, real-time water quality monitoring and water consumption monitoring, geared toward reducing water consumption.
Water Resilience Coalition
The private sector also has a significant opportunity to have a positive impact on water availability and accessibility: 150 of the world’s biggest companies have the potential to influence one-third of global freshwater use. Founded by seven companies, including Microsoft, the coalition has since grown to 16 industry-leading corporations, all of whom have pledged to work collectively on water issues. As part of our water goals, we will partner with Water Resilience Coalition members to co-invest in availability, accessibility and quality projects in water-stressed basins and we will actively recruit other companies to join us in this important coalition.
Policy We will use our voice at the local, national and global levels on public policy that would increase water access and availability and improve quality. Improving Data in Water Stressed Areas: We can’t solve a problem that we don’t fully understand. Governments ought to develop more accurate and up-to-date assessment of ground and surface water levels and how they are changing over time. This data can help local stakeholders calculate and forecast demand and supply balances; track water quality; facilitate disaster prevention and early warning systems; and ultimately develop innovative solutions.
Sep 22, 2020 at 03:16