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One year later: The path to carbon negative – a progress report on our climate ‘moonshot’

As we reach the one-year anniversary of this pledge, which we coined our “moonshot,” I want to share the initial progress we’ve made and some lessons we’ve learned. We’re also announcing a few key milestones today:

In this blog I want to address our most significant steps since last January, and perhaps most important, share some thoughts on lessons we’re learning as we move forward.

Reducing our carbon emissions

First, while we’ve naturally spent much of the first year building the foundation for the decade ahead, we’ve also started to make real and measurable progress in reducing Microsoft’s carbon emissions. During our first year, we reduced our emissions by 6%, from 11.6 million metric tons to 10.9 metric tons.[1] By 2030, our goal is to cut our emissions by more than half. This means that if we sustain and then improve upon these reductions for 10 consecutive years, we will reach and hopefully exceed this goal.

A small part of last year’s reduction was due to the type of decreased activity the world experienced because of COVID-19.

Removing carbon from the environment

Our most dramatic action this past year has been our work to remove carbon from the environment. We’re announcing today that we have now purchased the removal of 1.3 million metric tons of carbon from 15 suppliers across 26 projects around the world.

This is both a giant leap and a modest step. On the one hand, we believe this is the largest annual carbon removal purchase any company has ever made. It’s creating a new and dynamic economic market that the world needs. But compared to what we need to accomplish by 2030, it’s only an initial step.

Advancing transparency and accountability

And today we are taking two steps to help move Microsoft in this direction. First, to be transparent, we are releasing our carbon, water, waste, and ecosystems data in our sustainability report, which was reviewed by an independent third-party. Today, we’re also committing to having our future reports reviewed by Deloitte.

Looking ahead

Increasingly, investors and shareholders are asking for or even demanding this type of change. As BlackRock CEO Larry Fink put it this past week, “We know that climate risk is investment risk. But we also believe the climate transition presents a historic investment opportunity.” In short, the world increasingly is putting the power of capitalism behind private sector investments to address the climate crisis.

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Jan 29, 2021 at 04:21

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