Microsoft will go “carbon negative” by 2030, senior executives announced today, as the tech giant looks to take responsibility for its emissions footprint.
The commitment means mean that Microsoft will cuts its emissions by half, whilst simultaneously removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits anually, resulting in a net emissions total of less than zero.
The firm went on to announce that by 2050 it would look to have removed all the carbon that it had ever emitted since it was founded in 1975.
Speaking at the company’s headquarters in Washington State, chief executive Satya Nadella said: “If the last decade has taught us anything, it’s that technology built without these principles can do more harm than good. We must begin to offset the damaging effects of climate change.”
In order to do so, the company is launching a $1bn (£800m) climate innovation fund using its own capital to accelerate the development of sustainability solutions, including carbon reduction and removal technologies.
In order to cut half of its emissions, Microsoft will use proceeds from its carbon fee, which has been in place since 2012, and will now be applied to both direct emissions and those from supply and value chains.
In a blog post, company president Brad Smith expanded about how the company would achieve its sizeable commitment.
He said that the firm would drive down scope one and two emissions – direct emissions created by operations, and indirect emissions from heat and light use – by switching to a 100 per cent renewable electricity supply by 2020, and electrifying its whole vehicles fleet by 2030.
The company will also bring in new procurement processes to incentivize its suppliers to reduce their own emissions.
In order to achieve its carbon removal goal, Smith said the company would focus on reforestation, soil carbon sequestration, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and direct air capture.
Due to existing costs, primary focus will be on natural solutions such as reforestation, with the firm bringing in new technology as and when it becomes more readily available.
Microsoft expects to release 16m metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020, including indirect emissions from activities like corporate travel.
The firm joins Amazon, which last year pledged to become carbon neutral by 2040, and to buy 100,000 electric vans from a start-up.